The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is excited to present Mariachi Arcoiris del Los Ángeles, the first openly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) mariachi band as part of the college’s annual LatinX and Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival taking place on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
“We’re so honored to host Mariachi Arcoiris on our campus,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Bailey Lewis. “They are remarkable musicians, inspired performers, and powerful advocates for the LGBTQ community. What better way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month than with artists committed to their art, their cultural traditions, and to creating space for diversity, inclusion, and acceptance for all people.”
The performance will be held from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Art Gallery Plaza in front of Mentry Hall.
The band’s founders Carlos Samaniego and Natalia Melendez started the first-ever LGBTQ mariachi group in Los Angeles in 2014 as a safe space for musicians and fans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Since then, they’ve played at Gay Pride celebrations in Los Angeles, gay weddings and even at one of L.A.’s most important mariachi festivals, the Mariachi Plaza Festival. Thye have also been featured on media outlets like Univision and Telemundo highlighting Natalia Melendez, the world’s first openly transgender woman in the history of mariachi.
This is the second year that the Art Gallery has been invited to partner with the Modern Languages & Cultures Department to present a LatinX & Hispanic Heritage Festival to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.
In addition to the special mariachi performance, the Art Gallery also has on view two exhibitions featuring contemporary LatinX visual artists: Carolyn Castaño in the main gallery and Angela Divina in Gallery 206.
“These wonderful exhibitions mark important firsts for the COC Art Gallery,” said Lewis. “Carolyn Castaño is the first Latina to be featured in a one-person exhibition in our gallery’s history. Angela Divina is also the first transgender artist to be shown on our campus as well.
A free public lecture by Divina will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 followed by a reception for the artist from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Gallery 206 (Library, Second Floor).
A transgender Mexican-American artist based in Bakersfield, Divina is deeply rooted in her Mexican heritage and culture and inspired by the traditional colors and flavors of Durango. Divina is currently working on a cookbook and exploring the radical joy through art, cooking, and eating.
The LatinX and Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival, which will be held in the lower level of the Bonelli building, will also feature cultural tables, food, dance, and hands-on making of homemade tortillas.
For more information about the festival’s art exhibits, please visit the Art Gallery’s web page.