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This is a transcript of the presentation made by the Panel on Hispanic Americans and the Arts to the National Council on the Arts in November 1977. The statement—published in English and Spanish—takes issue with the ways in which Hispanic American artists have been marginalized and not awarded equal consideration by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It also outlines points of action by which the relationship could potentially be improved among themselves. First, it suggests that Hispanics must be represented at every level of the NEA, in state arts agencies and regional organizations, and highlights certain areas within the NEA that need specific examination and possible restructuring. Second, it identifies actions in need of immediate attention that would be integral to ensure greater participation of Hispanic American artists and organizations in the NEA’s granting process, including the identification of prospective grantees and the dissemination of information about and support for these artists through existing mechanisms of communication. Finally, it enumerates the three basic goals of the NEA and articulates the investment of the Task Force in supporting these while continuing to lobby for greater institutional representation of Hispanic artists in the U.S.
This presentation by the Panel on Hispanic American and the Arts was made to the National Council on the Arts, the body overseeing the U.S. government’s National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Panel was the precursor to the Task Force on Hispanic Americans Arts created in 1978 after various studies revealed the minuscule amount of funds awarded by the NEA to Latino artists and arts organizations. Comprised of 23 artists, administrators, and scholars, the Task Force included representatives from the Chicano, Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, and Cuban communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and existed for two years. This transcript of the presentation was published after its ratification by the Task Force in March 1978 in Caracol, a Chicano monthly art and literary newsletter from San Antonio, Texas. Along with being a valuable historical document related to Latino arts, it provides important information regarding the increased advocacy of artists and scholars within a united, pan-Latino framework during the late 1970s. For a related essay, see doc. No. 1081545.