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'Americanos: Latino Life in the United States' is new museum exhibit

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-- Dec.15, 2003-- Americanos: Latino Life in the United States, will open at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University on Jan. 17, 2004 and remain on view through March 14.

The exhibit presents an intimate portrait of the Latino community through the work of 30 prize-winning photographers. The 114 photographs in the exhibition are organized around themes such as family, community, work, and sports, and reflect the breadth and variety of the Latino experience.

"We are very proud to be the only Northern California location for this prestigious exhibit," said Karen Kienzle, curator of the de Saisset Museum. "The University and Santa Clara Valley have had a rich and intimate association with the Latino community and culture over the years. The photographs document the diversity of Latino experience which has been an integral part of the Valleys history and how it changed from a farming community to a high-tech Mecca."

In conjunction with Americanos, the de Saisset Museum will be presenting an exhibition of winning entries from the Young Americanos youth photography competition sponsored by Farmers Insurance. The remarkable images included in this exhibition spotlight the photographic skills of San Jose youth in grades one through eight. Concurrent with Americanos is the exhibition Conversations/Conversacions: Women Collaborate. This exhibition highlights five collaborative artworks created by Bay Area women artists and writers commissioned for the exhibition.

To encourage families to visit the Americanos exhibit, the de Saisset Museum will host a Community Day on Jan. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with hands-on art activities, docent-led tours, and refreshments.

Latino immigrants have played a crucial role in the history and culture of this country and Silicon Valley, said Santa Clara University Professor Francisco Jimenez. Jimenez is the child of migrant Latino parents and author of the prize-winning book Breaking Through, which documented his experience as a migrant child. "I encourage the community to see this exhibit that documents the myriad dimensions of the Latino experience."

Each of the six sections of the exhibition-work, family, spiritual life, community, sports, and culture and the arts-is introduced by personal statements written by prominent Latino writers and citizens such as Carlos Fuentes, Julia Alvarez, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Celia Cruz. The talented photographers featured in Americanos, including Alexis Rodriguez Duarte, Genaro Molina, and Rita Rivera, have captured an extraordinary view of the Latino experience. The photographs address such issues as differences of national origin, education, religion, economic status, and language in the Latino community. From fashion designer to clergyman to migrant farm worker, the images reveal the diversity and synergy as well as the important contributions-of the Latino community.

The exhibition "Americanos," a project of Olmos Productions, has been organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Time Warner and Farmers Insurance.

The exhibition created a unique opportunity for collaboration with Edward James Olmos, the actor and activist. "This important collection of photographs reveals people who are diverse in culture, color, ideas, and dreams, who share a common desire to make life better for themselves, their families, their neighbors, and their nation,"said Olmos. "I am very proud to be part of this important project and to celebrate Latino life, culture, and history with the Smithsonian Institution."

About the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.

The Smithsonians Center for Latino Initiatives advances the knowledge and understanding of Latino contributions to U.S. history, art, culture, and science. The Latino Initiatives Fund, administered by the Center, supports Latino-focused research, educational and public programs and promotes the inclusion of Latinos and Latino perspectives in the activities of the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu

About the de Saisset Museum
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is the South Bays free museum of art and history. The museum was founded adjacent to the Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the Santa Clara University campus in 1955 and is currently one of only two museums in the South Bay accredited by the American Association of Museums. The de Saisset Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets objects of art and history for the educational and cultural enrichment of all people. The museum achieves its mission through an active program of exhibitions, collections, educational programs, and publications. Visit www.scu.edu/desaisset

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in Californias Silicon Valley, offers its 8,060 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. masters universities, Californias oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. Visit www.scu.edu

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