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How Latino Arts Foundation supports young artists

Adelina Lopez
Posted at 7:10 AM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 18:36:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you step into the Lopez home, you'll hear humming, laughing and see lots of creativity.

Whether it's painting, crafting or drawing, the Lopez family showcases their creative minds throughout their home, including 14-year-old Adelina Lopez, who's been drawing since she was a little girl.

"When I was really little, I would see my dad draw in front of me," Adelina said. "I guess there was one day where he kind of left his pencils out and I was like, 'I could probably do that too.'"

And she did. It's a passion she picked up and never put back down.

"There are a couple of characters like from like movies or TV shows or even music videos that I loved to just doodle down," Adelina said. "And if you look around my room, I'm a big Hatsune Miku fan."

For the past few years, she's been showcasing her art at pop-up events through the Latino Arts Foundation.

"It grew from just doing creative writing classes to visual art, videography photography, muralism with a connection with Urban Works KC," Latino Arts Foundation CEO and founder, Deanna Munoz said. "Now we're doing textiles."

In existence for more than 15 years, the foundation provides mentorship opportunities and programs for students to showcase their creative minds.

"Just being around people who look like me or that came up with the same background that I had, it just makes me feel welcomed," Adelina said. "I may not know them personally, but they're already family to me."

"90 percent of our vendors are Latino, Chicano, from all different countries," Munoz said. "They're here to share their stories, their food. They're here to share the stuff they make with their hands and they hope you support them."

For the past five years, the foundation has hosted the Latino Arts Festival.

"It was a way for our art students to go ahead and have that feeling of being an entrepreneur," Munoz said. "Like how do I set up for an arts festival, can I sell my work, should I sell my work?"

Due to COVID-19, the foundation made the decision to make the festival smaller.

"We're doing mini pop-ups now so that actually gave us an opportunity to get into other communities, so it's not just one community a year," Munoz said.

Adelina will be showcasing her art in one of those mini pop-ups Friday, Sept. 24.

"I can just see her at the galleries, at the museums, you know," Munoz said. "I know that's going to happen and just her spirit and her drive to be an artist is going to get her so far."

For Adelina, the foundation not only provides her a platform to do what she loves but paints a bigger picture for her life.

"I wasn't always like this. I wasn't always as confident as I am now, heck I used to be scared to talk in front of a camera, or let my art out thinking I was going to get shot down and called stupid for just pursuing something that I really love," Adelina said. "But just knowing the Latino Arts Foundation will allow people to step out of that shell and will show people that 'Hey! w\What you're making is beautiful and you should share it with the world,' just means the world to me."

It's that type of confidence Munoz hopes to draw out of her young artists.

"Because I needed that," Munoz said. "I needed that and I never heard it. And no child should ever not hear it."

The mini pop-up event will be Friday, Sept. 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at El Centro. The address is 650 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. There will be food, music, artists and vendors showcasing their work.