In 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month began as way to recognize the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Since then, the month has been celebrated nationwide through festivals, art shows, conferences, community gatherings and much more.

Centro Cultural Mexicano, a nonprofit hoping to promote inclusivity through education and service, is celebrating local contributors during a monthlong art exhibition until Oct. 15.

“It’s a way to honor our heritage,” said Angie Hinojos, executive director of the organization. “It’s also a way to pay respect to the many artists and innovators that are in our community.”

The venue is located at 7945 Gilman St., Redmond. The exhibit, which is free for all ages, kicked off with an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 17.

Hinojos said the exhibit features nine artists from around Washington and other Western states. There are 30 different pieces of art in varying media forms, she noted.

“It’s a variety of work,” she said. “We have artists of varying ages, varying experiences and that’s really reflected in the work.”

The artists include Daniela Ruiz Feingold, Delilah Velasquez, Griz Flores, Irela Feria, Irma Arenas, Jorge Palacios, José Trejo-Maya, Lorena López Padilla and Maria Zamora.

“Some of the art looks at the instability in countries where the artists came from,” Hinojos said. “That's shown in a very raw and stark way.”

Other pieces highlight cultural playfulness and iconic images from Hispanic culture, she said.

In addition to celebrations, Centro Cultural Mexicano provides essential services to the Latino community. During the pandemic, Hinojos said, the organization found new ways to connect with community members.

The nonprofit also stepped up to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations and rental assistance in the greater King County area, she added.

“The Latino community has had a very, very difficult year and a half,” Hinojos said. “We were one of the hardest-hit communities.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health, Hispanic individuals made up 27% of the COVID-19 cases in Washington and about 13% of the total population in the state. 

“We utilize art and culture as tools of engagement,” Hinojos said. “It's a great way to build connections, build community and bring disparate communities together.”

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