Bilingual Latino oral history exhibit opens at the Valentine

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The first bilingual exhibition in Virginia to explore and document Richmond’s rich Latino heritage is now open at The Valentine.

The museum will be hosting a free opening weekend. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. there live music, dance performances, kids crafts, salsa lessons and more.

To learn more about the Family Fun Day, click HERE.

At the exhibit, visitors will encounter the Latino American dream as depicted through firsthand stories, objects and photography.

Wanda Hernández, the museum’s Latino project curator completed 65 interviews to gather oral histories and family material for the exhibition, which is called Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond.

The exhibit combines stories from the past with those from the present to explore themes of immigration, identity, language, education and community.

“The exhibition tells vignettes consisting of various personal narratives that make up a greater history,” Hernández said. “Entrepreneurs, business owners and internationally renowned artists shared their stories for this exhibit about how they created opportunities for themselves in Richmond.”

Exhibition highlights include interviews and items from prominent Richmond Latinos, including Eduardo Dawson and Argentina Ortega, co-owners of La Sabrosita Bakery, Christina Frijuckic of Christy’s Beauty Salon; Tanya Gonzalez of Sacred Heart Center; Ana Ines King, founder of the Latin Ballet of Virginia; Marylsse Simmons and Rei Alvarez from the salsa band Bio Ritmo; Pasto Carmen and Victor Torres of New Life Outreach International Church and Ministry; Kevin Davis from Ban Caribe; Kevin LaMarr Jones of Claves Unidos; and Secretary Nancy Rodrigues and Duputy Secretary Jaime Areizaga-Soto from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Cabinet.

From 1990 until 2010, the American South had the fastest growing Latino population in the United States, According to the Pew Research Center, Virginia’s population alone grew 92 percent from 2000 to 2010. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau data, there are now approximately 100,000 Latinos who live in the Richmond area.

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