Visiones: Latino Art & Culture

From Mural Painters to Break Dancers to Spoken Word Poets Latino Artists Take Center Stage in Special Six-Part Series

National Broadcast on PBS Beginning Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 10:30 PM in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Check local listings)

Press Contact:
Lourdes Ortega 310.316.3313/ 

Austin, TX — VISIONES: LATINO ART & CULTURE is the first PBS series to focus exclusively on Latino artistic expression in the United States. This landmark presentation will examine the nation's diverse Latino communities and how they have been able to keep their artistic expressions alive while creating new and unique visions that contribute to art in America. VISIONES: LATINO ART & CULTURE, a special six-part half-hour series, airs nationally on PBS beginning Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 10:30 PM (Check local listings). 

VISIONES is a journey through the music, words, dance, painting and performance of rich Latino cultures made more complex and fascinating by their history in our country. The series explores how contemporary Latino artists continue to build on rich traditions that reflect a unique multi-ethnic experience, taking established art forms and reinventing them, constantly challenging themselves and the communities which nurture them. From New York City's break-dancers to mural-painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross section of Latino artists working today. 

VISIONES also examines the origins of Latino art and culture through storytelling and vivid imagery, depicting the struggles and victories that the artists endured to continue their artistic interpretation. Hector Galán, Executive Producer and Director of the series states, "VISIONES seeks to go beyond the reductive, one-dimensional, stereotypical imagining of Latinos. Learning about Latino art and culture is learning about what it means to be American today. ” 

Galán is recognized for producing eleven episodes of the award-winning series Frontline and two films for American Experience: Los Mineros and The Hunt For Pancho Villa. He has been producing long form documentaries for the PBS national schedule for over twenty years, including the award-winning four hour public television series Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement (1996). 

Four years in the making, VISIONES is a co-production of Galán Inc. and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), and is presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) as co-presenter. Funding for VISIONES was also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Houston Endowment and the Texas Commission on the Arts.


The social, historical and cultural context of each thirty-minute episode is made clear by the analysis and commentary of artists, scholars and critics. The six half-hour episodes are described below. 

Episode One—Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
The Latino Mural Movement of the 1960's, Nuyorican spoken word, and editorial cartoonist Lalo Lopez are featured in the first episode of the series. Created in New York, Nuyorican spoken word is a form of artistic expression that emerged from the tumultuous 1960s and continues to influence and inspire the American Puerto Rican community. The episode includes interviews with Nuyorican poets Pedro Pietri, Piri Thomas and Caridad (La Bruja). 

Episode Two—Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
Episode two features Miriam Colon and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Company (PRTT) of New York, Tejana musical artist Selena, and the Santero art tradition of New Mexico. This episode unveils the stories of New Mexico artisans known as Santeros who engage in an art form heavily steeped in history and tradition. Santeros present an interesting juxtaposition of imposed religion and Native American culture. Santero artists Charlie Carrillo and Nick Herrera and historians Sabine Ulibarri and Sylvia Rodr'guez discuss their views. 

Episode Three—Sunday, September 19, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
Episode three features Luis Valdez and the legendary Teatro Campesino, a segment of San Antonio's Day of the Dead Celebration, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe as a Latina icon, experimental border filmmaker Willie Varela, and a profile of Chicago's soapbox artist Carlos Cortez. 

Episode Four— Sunday, September 26, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
Episode four begins with New York's Latino Hip-Hop and dance cultures. The Hip-Hop story looks at the new wave of Latinos who took Hip-Hop and created a culture that revolutionized the genre. It features New York Hip-Hop dancing couple Rokafella and Kwikstep. Then it travels to Miami's unique Afro-Cuban sound. The second segment takes us to Miami to experience a music that is a blending of traditional Cuban music, explosive jazz and American Pop called the Miami Sound. Musical artist Willy Chirino is featured in this segment. The episode ends in Los Angeles with modern dance pioneer Rudy Perez. Though legally blind, Perez continues to create and inspire as a teacher and choreographer for his Los Angeles based Modern Dance Company. 

Episode Five—Sunday, October 3, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
Episode five highlights the Taco Shop Poets of Southern California, early tent theater of the Southwest called Carpas, and performance art in San Francisco. Performance artists covered include Guillermo Gomez-Peña, performance troupe ASCO, and the performance art pioneers Royal Chicano Airforce. The Taco Shop Poets, a group of Chicano poets living in San Diego, blend the spoken word with lively beats. The poets strive to take their social and political poetry to where people congregate—the Taco Shops.

Episode Six—Sunday, October 10, 2004 at 10:30 PM (check local listings)
Episode six features the history of Salsa music and dance in Philadelphia, the first Mexican-American Prima Ballerina Evelyn Cisneros, Tejana music pioneer Lydia Mendoza, and the father of Chicano music and National Medal of Arts recipient, Lalo Guerrero. A segment unveils the trajectory of Salsa music includes commentary on world renowned performers Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. 


PRESENTERS Galan, Inc. was founded in 1984 by Hector Galán and has had a track record of successfully guiding a project through all phases of production: from research and development and production to post-production and delivery for national broadcast. Consequently, the company has become a major force in national programming of the Latino experience in America, programming that appeal to all age groups of the growing Latino community and also to the mainstream American audience. More information about the company can be found at 

The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) was formed in 1989 and is a tax-exempt, non-profit, arts service organization that provides technical assistance and capacity building services to community-based Latino arts and cultural organizations, and advocates and promotes Latino arts and culture in the United States. NALAC is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and development of the cultural and artistic expressions of the diverse Latino populations of the United States. For details go to 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People. 

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural television that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. Its is to create a structure and process that allows Latino artists, the public broadcasting resources, community, government and the private sector to bring their resources and creativity to the service of the public. LPB has funded more than fifty projects for public television since its creation in 1998. More information about LPB can be found at

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

Posted on July 19, 2004