The Latine community is a driving force in American culture from television to poetry to political activism. This week, four Latine artists were honored by The White House, receiving the top national honors bestowed on artists in the country. The artists include musician José Feliciano, visual artists Judith Baca and Antonio Martorell, and poet Richard Blanco.
José Feliciano — National Medal of Arts
Feliciano is best known for his songs Feliz Navidad and California Dreamin’. The musician was honored by President Joe Biden at the ceremony for his music and cultural contribution to the U.S. as one of the first Latine artists to cross over into English-language audiences. He pioneered a space that would soon welcome countless Latine artists over the decades.
Judith Baca — National Medal of Arts
Baca is an iconic visual artist with one of her most impressive works of art, The Great Wall of Los Angeles, being added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2017. The mural, which encompasses a long history of Latine people in the area, was designed by Baca and executed by 400 youth volunteers to create a truly iconic mural in Los Angeles.
Antonio Martorell — National Medal of Arts
Martorell is a painter and graphic artist credited with making posters a viable form of artistic expression during the 1960s and 1970s. His work also served as one of the first examples of cultural ambassadorship through art as his posters were exhibited around Puerto Rico, the United States, and the world. Posters were just a part of Martorell’s work that covered several different genres including architecture.
Richard Blanco — National Humanities Medal
Blanco made history during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration as the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet as he read his poem One Today. The poet has used his art to speak on controversial topics from immigration to race and has moved people with his words in ways few people in the world have managed to achieve.
¡Bien hecho, todos! We are so proud of everything you have accomplished in your disciplines!