Latino Arts Inc. is still serving the community through the pandemic

Latino Arts Inc. is still serving the community through the pandemic

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Missing painting classes? Jacobo Lovo, Managing Artistic Director of Latino Arts, Inc., says he thinks many people are.

“What was the one thing that people gravitated towards, in the early months?” asks Jacobo. “Where did they go besides snacking? We all develop a certain amount of anxiety because of all the uncertainty. I think most people will agree that the majority of the population headed towards the arts.”

Latino Arts, Inc. aims to bring cultural and artistic classes to greater Milwaukee. It has brought art performers like the Ballet Hispanico from New York City in the past and has held art exhibitions. Jacobo says that Latino Arts has a mission to serve the community with the arts.

As an organizer for Latino Arts, Jacobo says he and his team knew that due to the pandemic they were going to have to switch to virtual programming. In doing so, the team wanted to ensure that the community remained served. So they held programs like paint nights and lotería nights virtually. Lotería is typically known as Mexican bingo. Instead of matching numbers players match images from a deck of cards. The cards have images like “El Sol,” the sun, or “La Maceta,” the flower pot. In the game, players place objects like pinto beans on the cards called, if they have them. For Latino Arts’ game, businesses were incorporated.

Latino Arts hosts virtual discussion with Brad Bernard, Milwaukee painter and Muralist. Photo courtesy: Jacobo Lovo

“We took the cards and reached out to community members and community businesses throughout quarantine and asked them to be our daily caller for the card,” says Jacobo. “We encourage them to talk about who they are and how people can engage with them.”

Staying true to the organization’s mission of serving came with its own challenges. Jacobo says that the org had to cancel programs like concerts. But the team made a decision to take care of the artists, knowing how tough it is for them during all this.

Photo courtesy: Jacobo Lovo

“We decided that because we are part of this art ecosystem here in Milwaukee, while we had to cancel some programming, the artists that we had contracted to be the leaders for those workshops, we decided not to cancel their contract,” says Jacobo. “We paid out those contracts. We understood that what was coming our way was a long road, especially for artists that are gig artists, or teaching artists. They’re going to have a rough time like everybody else.”

Jacobo says they took a loss in providing for artists.

“Our mission is that we’re here for the community. That is more important than having a loss of revenue,” says Jacobo.

Jacobo says he wants people to continue to engage with the art community. That, he says, is what Latino Arts will keep providing for the community at large with or without the pandemic.

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