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MOLAA Builds Bridges Over Borders to Bring Communities Together in the Latinx Celebration of the Arts


By Lydia E. Ringwald

In the world where media often focuses on the conflicts and differences that separate, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach focuses on the fusion of cultures and the enrichment of a heritage that binds the Latin American community with the American Southwest and our greater global culture.

The now classic historical Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Siquieros and Rufino Tamayo art treasures, several donated by MOLAA founder Robert Gumbiner, are exhibited along with the contemporary art of living Latin artists who often appear in person at the museum for lectures, tours and presentations of their work.

Cultural events offered at MOLAA, including a festival on the MOLAA stage in the sculpture garden showcasing dance and music, classes and workshops for children and adults also contribute to the vibrant Latin cultural community that welcomes us all.

The annual museum Gala on September 23 was a highlight of LatinX Heritage Month and featured an inspiring speech by Peter Villegas, 2023 MOLAA Gala Chair, who emphasized the value of art as a empowering conduit for exploring human heritage and accessing our inner being for meaning and resonance in our individual lives.

MOLAA President Lourdes J. Ramos, Ph.D graciously welcomed Gala guests and 2023 Co-Chair and Board of Directors member Robert N. Braun M.D. and 2023 Co-Chair and MOLAA Board of Directors member Michael Deovlet presented the LEGADO Awards honoring Chef Enrique Olvera for his achievement in creative Culinary Arts, blending contemporary and heritage Latin cuisine and the Yumano Tribes of Northern Mexico for safeguarding the cherished traditions and artistic heritage of Native American textiles and crafts. 

From left to right: Dr. Lourdes I. Ramos, President & CEO of MOLAA; Chef Enrique Olvera; Sofia Riley, President of TGIS Catering


An Honorary LEGADO Award was also bestowed on Mario Cordero of Jacobsen Pilot Services, a leader at the Port of Long Beach.

From left to right: Dr. Lourdes I. Ramos, President & CEO of MOLAA; Honorable Rex Richardson, Mayor of the City of Long Beach; Mario Cordero, CEO of The Port of Long Beach; Commissioner Gloria Cordero; Lorraine Paskett, Executive Director of Advanced Clean Hydrogen, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.


The LEGADO presentations were accompanied by an inspiring and informative documentary video about the Yumano Tribes on the sculpture garden screen to enlighten guests at the Gala event.

The evening included an auction of art and travel opportunities and culminated in a lively performance of ‘Tocada Y Fuga de Sergio’.

LATINX events are now in progress as the month from September 15- October 15 enfolds with an exciting schedule that can be accessed on the MOLAA website. 

From left to right: Honorable Rex Richardson, Mayor of the City of Long Beach; Honorable Alma Delia Abrego Ceballos, Secretary of Culture of Baja California representing the Yumano Tribes; Dr. Robert N. Braun, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of MOLAA


Enlightening LATINX events include 45-60 minute 3-D zoom and webinar tours of historical art and photography  in MOLAA’s permanent collection. 

The”Afro-LatinX Narratives’ zoom and webinar event celebrates the influence of African heritage on the art and culture of Latin America exploring themes of race and identity in the selected artworks of  Victoria Santa Cruz (Peru, 1922-2014), Alexandre Arrechea (Cuba, 1970), Patricia Encarnación (Dominican Republic, 1991), Carlos Martiel (Cuba, 1989), and Liliana Angulo Cortés (Colombia, 1974), among others. 

Other zoom and webinar presentations ‘Guadalupe: Art and Activism’ share insights into Chicana and LatinX culture and ‘Dia De Los Muertos; explores the history and tradition of Day of the Dead pageantry.

Participants are encouraged to bring a pen and paper so that they can  interact with the art with their own creative and visual response.

Intriguing also is the 3-D tour ‘Foundations of Mexican Folkloric Performance’, celebrating choreography and beautiful heritage costumes of the Ballet Folklorico.

In-Person Tours are also available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons throughout the year. Please call the museum or check the website for specific docent guided tour times.

An online library of one-on-one interviews with pioneering Latinx and Latin American artists  https://molaa.org/molaa-zoom-project is available on the MOLAA website all year at no charge.

MOLAA also has presence on Google Arts and Culture as the only museum in the United States dedicated to contemporary Latin American and Latino art: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/museum-of-latin-american-art

Festivities are scheduled not only throughout LATINX Heritage month and also throughout the year.

Visit the MOLAA.org website and subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed about the enriching cultural opportunities in this unique museum in the city of Long Beach.