Trivia question: Where is the largest Latino cultural center in the United States? The answer is Albuquerque
The National Hispanic Cultural Center opened in 2000 along the banks of the Rio Grande in a historic Albuquerque neighborhood known as Barelas.
Since its opening‚ the NHCC has hosted 25 major art exhibitions and established a spacious museum that features a large permanent collection.
And now more good news. The NHCC has added a Roy E. Disney (nephew of Walt) Center for Performing Arts that hosts theatrical‚ musical‚ dance and media arts productions‚ all while informing the public about Hispanic contributions to these disciplines.
“While we are obviously a cultural center dedicated to the advancement of Latino arts and humanities‚ we always welcome non-Latinos who are interested in learning about our culture‚” says Eduardo Diaz‚ executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. “The overall Latino experience is quite inter esting‚ and the new Disney venue allows us to host a variety of world-class enter tainment productions.”
The $22.5 million Disney Center is designed to look like a modern Mayan pyramid‚ and the building has already won two architectural awards for inte rior design and lighting.
“Within the Disney Center itself are three buildings – the Albuquerque Journal Theatre‚ the Bank of America Film Theater and the Wells Fargo Auditorium‚” Diaz says. “The 691-seat Albuquerque Journal Theatre is ideal for operas‚ symphony concerts and musical theater‚ and it allows us to accommodate the casts of large productions or big dance companies.
“The Bank of America Film Theatre is a 291-seat movie house where we have already presented a number of classic films from Mexico‚ Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries‚” he adds.
Meanwhile‚ the Wells Fargo Auditorium has 97 seats that provide an intimate setting for lectures‚ readings and private film screenings.
“The Disney Center has already hosted a Latin Diva series featuring singers from Brazil‚ Mexico and Peru‚ and we have scheduled a future Spanish operetta series where young singers can showcase their work‚” Diaz says. “We are quickly becoming an entertainment destination for Latino culture in the United States.”
Diaz reiterates that non-Latino people are welcome to be frequent audiences of the artistic programs offered at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
“Many people don’t realize that Latinos have a history with ethnicities from Asia‚ Europe‚ Africa and even Israel‚” he says. “It’s going to be fun to eventually start scheduling shows‚ concerts and art exhibits that explore these world cultures that are tied to the Latino experience.”
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