First bilingual exhibition of Latino oral history opens in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2017

First bilingual exhibition of Latino oral history opens in Virginia
The Valentine’s Nuestras Historias opens July 27

Federico Xol copyright Steven Casanova 2017

Federico Xol at Jefferson Davis Highway and Chippenham Parkway (Steven Casanova, 2017)

The Valentine’s newest exhibition, Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, is the first bilingual exhibition in Virginia to explore and document Richmond’s diverse Latino heritage. Opening July 27, 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. Nuestras Historias connects Latino stories of the past with those of today while exploring 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.”

With displays in English and Spanish, the Valentine hopes that visitors recognize the depth to which Latinos are part of the fabric of America’s past, present, and future, she said.

Exhibition highlights include interviews and items from prominent Latinos in Richmond, including Eduardo Dawson and Argentina Ortega, co-owners of La Sabrosita Bakery; Christina Frijuckic of Christy’s Beauty Salon; Tanya González of Sacred Heart Center; Ana Ines King, founder of the Latin Ballet of Virginia; Marlysse Simmons and Rei Alvarez from the salsa band Bio Ritmo; Pastor 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 Deputy Secretary Jaime Areizaga-Soto from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Cabinet.

From 1990 to 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 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are now approximately 100,000 Latinos who live in Richmond.

The Valentine collaborated with Richmond Public Libraries, Sacred Heart Center, and University of Richmond for this exhibition.

About the exhibition
TITLE: Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond
DATES: July 27, 2017 – April 15, 2018
WORK: 40 objects and 16 photographs
ADMISSION: $10 adults, $8 seniors (55+), $8 students with ID. Free for military, children under 18, and museum members.
FREE OPENING EVENT: July 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dance performances from Latin Ballet of Virginia and Claves Unidos, live music by Bio Ritmo, salsa lessons from Clara Toro of Salsa4Life, food and family activities are all free and open to the public. Sponsored by CarMax. Free Valentine admission July 29 and July 30.
SPONSORS: The exhibition is sponsored by Altria, Jackson Foundation, VCU Health, Bon Secours, CarMax and Fifth Third Bank.
ADVISORY COUNCIL: Agustín Bravo Acosta; Laura Browder, University of Richmond; Steven Casanova; Vaughn Garland; Tanya González, Sacred Heart Center; Patricia Herrera, University of Richmond; Meg Medina; Patricia Parks, Richmond Public Library; Michel Zajur, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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About the Valentine
The Valentine preserves, conserves and interprets Richmond, Virginia history and diverse community issues by focusing on urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture. It is the only institution in the country committed solely to this mission and it is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It houses a 40,000-piece collection of textiles and costumes, one of the largest Western collections of its kind. The Valentine maintains more than one million photographic images of the city, and 25,000 decorative arts pieces, including portraits, furniture and domestic items. Its research library provides primary source material for national and international scholars. The Valentine-owned 1812 John Wickham House is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

 

Media Contact:
Pryor Green
804.418.2729

 

 

Woman of the Week: Lila Meade Valentine

Women’s equality has been, and continues to be a major issue in today’s world; it is a hot topic of discussion and a relatively predominant subject matter. We all know (and salute) the big names associated with female activism, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, Madam C.J. Walker, etc. but what about the women who are not as well known? What about those who worked locally in and around the Richmond area?

Lila Meade Valentine was a native Richmonder who married into the Valentine family when she wed Benjamin Batchelder Valentine in 1886. Although she had no children of her own, she was deeply committed to fighting for the children of Richmond and their right to be educated properly. Unfortunately, during this time Virginia’s education system was prejudiced against the poor, African Americans and females, making it especially difficult for them to receive quality educations. In an attempt to correct these injustices, Lila and several other activists formed the Richmond Education Association (REA), which purpose was to raise money for a new high school, develop programs to train teachers, increase salaries for teachers and in general help children obtain a better education.

On top of education reform, Lila also worked vigorously to restructure healthcare by helping found the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Richmond (IVNA). The IVNA’s primary focus was low-income citizens of the area and ensuring they had access to basic health-care services. She later got involved with the American woman suffrage movement and cofounded the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Between 1912 and 1913 Lila spoke to more than a hundred government officials and state organizations, eyes set on getting women a voice in politics. The Nineteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which granted women the right to legally vote thanks to groups like the Equal Suffrage League and women like Lila.

Lila Meade Valentine passed away on July 14, 1921. We continue to recognize her work and the work of women like her.

 

Interactive History Adult Programs

Rooftop Forever

Rooftop bars are the place to be in the summer; crowds flock to Quirk, Kabana and the Hofheimer building to enjoy cocktails and an open space overlooking the city.  However, images from glass plate negatives in the Cook Collection show that this is not a new phenomenon.  Even in the 1920s Richmonders enjoyed the spacious rooftop garden at the Hotel Richmond. The building, now owned by the state, is the new home of the Virginia Attorney General’s office…bet they wish the garden was still there.

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Interview with Kristen Stewart for “Our Hearts On Our Sleeves”

Our Hearts On Our Sleeves is now open at the Valentine. The exhibition utilizes the Valentine’s extensive costumes and textiles collection to showcase the intersection of art and fashion. Talking more about the exhibition is Kristen Stewart, The Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume & Textiles who curated the exhibition.

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The Power of Fashion

Let’s take a closer look into the Valentine’s exhibition, Our Hearts On Our Sleeves, now on view through January 28, 2018. The exhibition aims to highlight the symbiotic relationship of fashion and textile work with that of the Richmond’s culture. It explores the history of this relationship between philanthropist, artist, curator and community.

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North of the City

Made up of smaller neighborhoods including Ginter Park, Barton Heights, Hermitage Road, Highland Park and more; Richmond’s Northside is an area of growth and change that alludes to its ambitious past.

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Great Scott!

Scott’s Addition, named to commemorate Virginia-born, General Winfield Scott, is one of Richmond’s most recent neighborhoods to be added to the National Register of Historic Places (2005). Scott’s Addition’s lush history of factories, homes, and store fronts, mirrors the the illustrious life of its namesake General Winfield Scott, who at one point owned the land that is present day Scott’s Addition.

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