Exploring Hispanic Cultures Through the Arts

Rocío LowerNPF Blog

National parks are beacons of learning. They interpret our history, celebrating our accomplishments and reflecting on the challenges faced. They also weave together the stories that make up our nation’s fabric, including the compilation of the Hispanic experience in what is now the United States.

Interpretive and education programs are a few ways in which parks share our histories and cultures. Another of the many ways we can seek to understand these stories is through the arts.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

The National Park Service, both through its protection of the 408 national parks in the system and through its National Register of Historic Places, preserves fascinating places where you can immerse yourself in Hispanic cultures.

Here are just a few places where you can explore Hispanic cultures through visual and performing arts:

Detroit Industry Murals

A leader in the 1920s Mexican Mural Movement, Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint the Detroit Industry Murals in 1931. His murals tell the story of the city’s labor force through 27 panels spanning four walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Garden Court, now referred to as the Diego Court.

Artist Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals from 1931, pictured in it's Detroit Institute of Arts location, Text overlaying image reads, "PARK, findyourpark.com, National Park Service"

Women’s Rights National Historical Park

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s Rights National Historical Park is hosting exhibits by two Hispanic artists in its gallery in Seneca Falls, NY. You can take in “Women of the Water” by Andrea Arroyo and enjoy Felipe Galindo Gómez’s “Frida Loves New York.”

Artistics works, “Women of the Water” by Andrea Arroyo and Felipe Galindo Gómez’s “Frida Loves New York.”

Chamizal National Memorial

This national park stands in celebration of a peaceful settlement of a 100-year border dispute between Mexico and the United States. The memorial celebrates the culture of the borderland and within its various galleries, showcases artists whose work reflects the history of the amicable resolution.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Explore the artistry conserved within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park as you take in the beautiful carvings on the façades of places like the Mission San José Church. The beauty of the missions also served as inspiration for one of the #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque creative pieces, which conveys the concept that national parks encompass everything from places like Denali to San Antonio Missions.

Graphic art blending both national parks, Denali and the San Antonio Missions together; Mountains and Mission building from left to right. Text: "PARK: Some parks offer breathtaking views. Others will change your perspective. National Park Service."

El Morro National Monument

Travel back in time as you imagine the lives of those who left their mark on the sandstone bluffs of New Mexico’s El Morro National Monument. From the petroglyphs of the Ancestral Puebloans, to the inscriptions of the Spanish and Americans who took inspiration from the ancestral Zuñi scribes, visitors can explore the over 2,000 carvings along the .5-mile Inscription Trail.

Tumacácori National Historical Park

The beauty and ruins here share the tales of a place where cultures met, clashed, and mixed. Today, Tumacácori hosts special events throughout the year for visitors to learn about the natural, historical, and cultural stories of this wonderful place. La Fiesta de Tumacácori, an annual celebration of the traditional creations of the cultures that lived in the region, showcases performers and dance exhibitions.

Performers dancing at La Fiesta de Tumacácori

The National Park System is home to many of our nation’s most beautiful and interesting cultural treasures. We invite you to wash away the dust of daily life, as Picasso so beautifully put it, and explore the places that celebrate Hispanic experiences. Get out there and find your park – o mejor dicho, encuentra tu parque – and share your experiences online with us at findyourpark.com and encuentratuparque.com!

Last updated October 1, 2015.

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