MISTY COPELAND ASIDE - WHY ARE THE ARTS IN AMERICA STILL SO VERY WHITE?
"It is very difficult as an artist, not matter where you are from, but it's much, much, much harder to be a Latino or Mexican or Chicano artist." - Alfredo Arreguin
For decades, Alfredo Arreguin has been trying to make a name for himself as a painter in his adopted city of Seattle. He earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Washington and has been painting rich patterns of Mexican lore and cultural icons.
His talent landed him a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts, and two of his paintings are on display at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art. But the Seattle Art Museum has never shown his work, and Arreguin says he has given up trying to get local attention. The Seattle Art Museum did not return requests for comment.
"It is very difficult as an artist, not matter where you are from, but it's much, much, much harder to be a Latino or Mexican or Chicano artist," says Arreguin, who moved to Seattle from Michoacan, Mexico. "I don't think that we're taken very seriously because people have said Chicano artists aren't very skillful," he adds. "There's a lot of criticism of artists that don't have a formal education."
That's why Arreguin says he waited tables and worked as a carpenter to pay for his degree from the University of Washington, which recently named a scholarship for students of color in his honor. He's had solo exhibits in Spain and was given the Ohtli Award, the highest recognition from the Mexican government for contributions by its citizens abroad...