In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Brave Conversations with LCW is thrilled to feature local Pilsen murals brought to life by the rich history of the Latinx diaspora. Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood is home to vibrant murals depicting the cultural rebirth of indigenous Latinx stories following the Mexican Revolution. These murals serve as visual expressions of national identity that also incorporate Pilsen’s own unique culture. Join Culture Moments host Larry Baker (he/him) and Pilsen Public Art Tours Co-Founder Luis Tubens (he/him) for an exclusive, virtual tour and celebration of the Latinx experience through art.
View the full recording below (Run time – 47:26) or scroll down for the full transcript.
Show Notes & Highlights
4:42 Luis describes muralism as a form of cultural expression
8:09 A contemporary interpretation of Aztec god Xōchipilli
11:51 “Somos Pilsen” depicts the past, present, and future of the neighborhood
17:11 The women-created and uplifting “Weaving Cultures”
22:10 Luis and Larry discuss generational differences in culture
26:51 A mural showcasing Black and Brown solidarity
30:06 The “Declaration of Immigration” by Yollocalli Youth Arts Reach
34:50 Luis explains how art differs by community
40:09 Luis describes site selection for muralists
45:32 Larry defines Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx
Larry Baker: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Brave Conversations Live with LCW. I am your host, Larry Baker, and I use he/him pronouns. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to this special edition of our livestream series as we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with a unique look at muralism and Hispanic and Latinx history.
For those of you who do not know or who are not familiar with LCW, first of all, shame on you. You should be familiar with LCW! We are a global diversity, equity, and inclusion training, consulting, and translation firm that partners with organizations to develop global mindsets and to help you develop your skills and systems to succeed in a culturally diverse world today.
I am super excited to be here today with my guest, Luis Tubens, who is the co-founder of the Pilsen Art Tour. I am so excited to have Luis here with us to explore some beautiful local murals, the rich history that they convey, and what this teaches all of us about the Latin and Hispanic experience. I went on this tour with Luis a couple of weeks back—or maybe even a month or two back—and I was absolutely blown away by this young man. I said, “We have to have him on our live podcast!”
With that being said… Luis, can you do us the pleasure of introducing yourself before we jump into our conversation?
Luis Tubens: Yes, thank you. Thank you so much, Larry, for having me, and thank you all for inviting me to be part of this program. It is an honor to be here.
My name is Luis Tubens. I am the co-founder of the Pilsen Public Art Tours, as Larry Baker said. I got my start in muralism and understanding public art as it relates to Mexico and the neighborhood of Pilsen because I worked for the National Museum of Mexican Art for 10 years as an art educator, so it was my job to learn about Mexican art history. Then right after that, I started working for a local politician who—at the time—their district covered Pilsen. I got to learn about Pilsen, the neighborhood where all these murals are located, through a very social and political lens in addition to the art experience that I already had working at the museum.
Now today, I do a lot of different things, Larry, but the way that you know me is I give tours of the murals in the neighborhood of Pilsen, which is the neighborhood with the highest concentration of murals in the city of Chicago and the Midwest.
Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you so much, Luis.
Before we jump into our conversation, I just wanna take a moment to highlight the chat function that’s available across our live stream today. We wanna hear your reactions and your thoughts on these murals that Luis is going to guide us through today, so please remember to let us know your thoughts and the comments. Your comments might even make it on screen into our discussion on today.
So, Luis, let’s get started. Can you tell us a little bit about muralism and what art can actually teach us about people’s lived experiences?
Luis Tubens: Yeah, so we’ll start off with the word “mural.” The root of the word is “muro,” which in Mexico means “wall.” So a mural is a painting on the wall, but most traditional muralists will add to that definition by saying that the muralist meant to depict the struggle, the story of the community of the neighborhood that it’s in.
The muralist movement started right after the Mexican Revolution, which was a civil war from 1910 to 1920, in which it was 10 years of Mexicans fighting Mexicans. After the war’s over, there becomes this conscious effort by the new government to educate the masses, and artwork is used in large effect to educate people mostly because it is something that no matter your level of education you can understand. But the problem that was happening is the same problem that happens today: that artwork was seen as something for the high-class, and something for the rich. So much of the people that needed it most didn’t have access to it.
So when Diego Rivera… and this is now getting into like the story and the lore and all that… when Diego returns from Europe after the Mexican revolution he sees what’s going on, he takes what he learned in Europe about frescos, and he starts to apply his artwork outside. So now you have one of the nation’s most recognized, celebrated artists painting outside, giving away their artwork for free so that the richest person and the poorest person would be equal in viewing the art.
There was a lot of different things that they were painting, but the three main themes that were coming out of the murals were reviving indigenous stories, talking about the truth of colonialism, and also—because we’re talking about the time of the Great Depression—workers’ rights. These are the things you start seeing coming out much during the muralist movement and that catches fire in the sense that art movements start to follow suit all over the Americas. You know, we start having a muralist movement here in the United States, too.
Larry Baker: Absolutely. Luis, thank you so much for that. I loved how you expressed in your statement about how artwork is used to educate people, and it makes us equal when we take it out of that status of only a certain group of people being able to see it to taking it outside so that anyone can see it, regardless of their financial status. I love that insight that you shared.
And again, what drew me to you is your passion around the murals that you were showing us on that tour through Pilsen. I want you to share because I heard that you brought some pictures of that artwork today to share. So Luis, I’m just gonna let you take it away and talk to me a little bit about where these murals are located and what they mean to your local community.
Luis Tubens: Yeah, absolutely. We could go ahead and maybe pull up the first slide. The murals like this one that we see here are located in the neighborhood of Pilsen; that’s the neighborhood that we’re gonna be talking about. Now, Pilsen is a neighborhood that is located southwest of the downtown area in the city of Chicago. It is a Mexican community that is closes to downtown Chicago, and the neighborhood of Pilsen is seen today as the Mexican cultural capital. Murals, artwork, museums, things like that happen in Pilsen.
The first mural that we see here is done by the artist SENKOE, and it is of the Aztec god of the flowers, Xōchipilli. The name of the mural is “Herencia,” or Heritage. It’s located near 18th Place and Wood Street; it’s located just on the back of a building that faces an alley, and this mural was completed in 2020. It is a mural which depicts the god of the flowers Xōchipilli like a young boy versus how you would see it, say, if you were to look it up in a history book or Google image it or what have you. The reason why the artist paints Xōchipilli like a flesh and blood boy from the year 2020 is to say that this belief of the traditions of the indigenous people is not something that is buried and dug up by archeologists. It is something that exists today, and it exists in the way that traditions and beliefs exist—and that is through the youth and through art.
Now you’ll notice that Xōchipilli has a couple of particular flowers in his hands. One is a cempasuchil flower. It’s the gold, bright, round flower, which is a flower that many people probably recognize from Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead holiday on November 1st and November 2nd in Mexico. It’s used to decorate the altars or the offerings so it attracts the souls back to their ofrenda. The other flower where you see the hummingbird receiving nourishment is the hibiscus flower or the jamaica flower, which is used for a variety of different purposes but mostly tastily for Agua de Jamaica, for hibiscus water.
This mural though is completely done with spray paint, different than some of the other murals that we are going to see. Now, when you have these murals that have these messages like this, people from the community can see themselves reflected in there visually on the walls in their neighborhood, and they also get these messages that are meant to inspire and progress the community.
That is a contemporary mural that you would see near the heart of the Pilsen neighborhood.
Larry Baker: Okay, yep. I absolutely remember that. So what else did you bring for us in, Luis?
Luis Tubens: Yeah, we could take a look at slide number two, please. This one right here I think is a great example of murals being used to show the story of the community. This one right here is called “Somos Pilsen,” the title of which you can see on the book—which is also the Bible—there at the bottom of the screen. Somos means “we are:” we are Pilsen. What you see right here are lots of community members that had made an impact on the Pilsen neighborhood from throughout the generations. In the upper left corner, you’ll see that there is a woman wearing this purple dress who is Teresa Fraga—an activist who led a group of mothers and community members to build the first high school in Pilsen, Benito Juarez. You’ll see a lot of people there that, uh, have made an impact on the Mexican community in the Pilsen neighborhood.
The mural is done by two artists, Pablo Serrano and Mateo Zapata. If you take a look at the mural, you could see that there is this phoenix, which also kind of looks like the brown eagle that you would see on the center of the Mexican flag. You have here the story of the phoenix, of people being able to rise out of the ashes—whether these ashes are a metaphor for poverty, for racism, for migration—but being able to rise out of that struggle. The phoenix looks like the brown eagle to specifically represent the Pilsen neighborhood and it’s people. You’ll see that on the right wing… so to your left, but the right wing of the phoenix, there we have the map of Latin America to not only represent Mexicans but represent Latin Americans as a whole.
You’ll take a look at the book, and it’s meant to be like a bible, like opening up the Bible of the neighborhood. And there’s a date as to when the mural was completed, which was January 6th, 2021… or I’m sorry, I believe 2020? The date escapes me, but there you’ll see that right on the Bible.
In the upper right you could see the future of the neighborhood, where you have the families, the young people. They’re getting together and they’re playing with the buildings like if they were Legos, like if they were building blocks, to show how young people play with each other oftentimes without caring about appearance or about color of skin. And this is gonna be how the city progresses is when the youth is playing together regardless of their backgrounds and using the city as a playground. So I think this mural that was recently completed is a very good example. It’s on the side of a building that houses a very delicious restaurant called Carnitas Don Pedro, and as a matter of fact, you see the owner and his wife all the way at the top: the person you see with the apron, and you see his wife looking at him. But this mural is a great example of being able to tell the history of the neighborhood, to showcase people from the neighborhood, and to talk about what they want the future of the neighborhood to be.
Larry Baker: Yeah, I love that that part of the murals that always seem to the cultural values of the Hispanic community on top of the values of the community that the mural is absolutely in. That was one of the things that really resonated with us as we walked through the tour: not only did we sense the historical importance of these murals, but how it helped shape the Pilsen community. I thought that every mural that we saw did an excellent job of touching up on where many of these individuals came from, to where they are now, to where they see themselves going in the future. I absolutely love that tie with every single mural that we were able to see on our particular tour, and I would invite individuals that are on the call to share your insights as well as we go through this. I don’t wanna slow up Luis’s thunder because he’s doing such an excellent job with these, but I did wanna make sure that we gave space for folks to make comments as well.
So, Luis, I don’t wanna stop you. Go ahead cuz I know you have something else to share.
Luis Tubens: Yeah, yeah! Let’s go ahead and go to the next slide; we’ll take a look at the next mural. This mural is on a street called 16th Street, which is the northern border of the Pilsen neighborhood, and it’s done by two artists: Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi. It’s gonna be one of the few women muralists that will be able to take a look at today. There is an overwhelming number of men muralists that work in Pilsen, but there is a growing number of women muralists. And here are some two of the more prolific ones, Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi, who collaborate on this mural that is sponsored by CPAG—which is the Chicago Public Art Group, and it’s one of the oldest art groups if not the oldest art group in the city of Chicago sponsoring public works all over the city. It was completed in 2016.
Now this wall, you can see, is a little bit different than a building because it’s a railway. 16th Street in Pilson is actually about a mile-and-a-half-long stretch of railways: the Burlington North here in Chicago. It’s a lot of wall, and you’re gonna see a lot of different murals on that wall. About half of the murals that you’ll see on that wall—not today—were from a project that happened in 2010, which was called the 16th Street Mural Project, that was curated by the Chicago Urban Art Society and sponsored by the City of Chicago. You would see murals that not only talked about the Mexican community, but also talked about communities from all over the world because artists were coming from different parts of the world and Chicago to come paint on this wall. However, this mural that we’re looking at was not part of that project.
This mural was part of our project by CPAG, the Chicago Public Art Group. It’s titled “Weaving Cultures.” You could see here that there are these five women’s faces, and it’s meant to represent different women in the community, but also because there are very few murals that will showcase just women. They’re growing now, but it wasn’t a lot of them. So here is the purpose of showcasing women very prominently in the Pilsen neighborhood, and according to Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi, it’s the first time that a transgender woman is being depicted in a mural, in a celebratory way at least.
The first four women are not real women in the sense that they’re not real humans, but they are interpretations of some of the people that Sandra Antongiorgi knows. However, the last woman—the fifth one—is Janice Bond, who is a local activist who was based outta Chicago for many years and did a lot of different things for the community all over the city of Chicago.
This mural is kind of a hybrid mural in the sense that it’s both done with spray paint and regular paint just done with a paintbrush. The creation of this mural, as told to me by Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi really speaks to the communal aspect of muralism because people were walking by and they were able to engage with the artists and ask them questions, like “Who are you painting?” and “Why are you painting this?” and all of that. It really offers that dialogue.
Larry Baker: Yeah. That’s incredible insight in regards to that, Luis, because I think you mentioned that where the mural is located is on the railway, and there’s so many times that we are traveling on those railways and we see that art but we don’t really have that appreciation for it. But to know that so many of these pieces of art are sanctioned by city entities… that shows the importance in regards to that education that they are trying to make accessible to everyone regardless of your financial status or your educational status. These are resources that really speak to “we really want this to be accessible to the entire community.” So I love that—how they turn something that looks so common into definitely not only a piece of art but an educational experience.
I do believe that we have a question… Oh, here we go. “Have you seen a change in the types of imagery and symbols used in contemporary murals compared to older works in Pilsen? And do contemporary artists embrace different aspects of Mexican culture or history?”
Luis Tubens: Yeah, there’s definitely different imagery and symbols used in the contemporary murals compared to the older works, the main reason because the times have changed. When you see a contemporary work, the artists are gonna be using things from the now and representing things from the now. That is not to say that there’s not contemporary artists still painting historical messages and figures from many, many, many, many years ago.
For example, there was a youth that was murdered by the Chicago Police Department in Chicago named Adam Toledo. There was murals dedicated to him because that’s something that happened a few years ago. Of course, you will see paintings dedicated to, for example, Cesar Chavez or Rudy Lozano—who were very active 40 years ago—but you’re definitely gonna see people being depicted from today.
But also, there is now a different style of art than what we had with the first muralist movement in Pilsen. What I mean by that is you start to have graffiti introduced in the 80s after the murals already having about maybe 10 years or so of people painting in Pilsen. When graffiti enters, it kind of really flips things because now you have this whole new art form that originated here in the States. Then from graffiti, you have many artists developing their own styles and their own characters that they paint today. The thing about something like graffiti is that graffiti is almost done exclusively on walls.
So now you have here murals that are gonna be depicting members of the community and social and political messages, and then you got graffiti murals that are going on too. I would imagine that in a few years—you know, the next generation—we’re gonna have yet another different style of art that is gonna be taking over the walls too.
There was a second part of the question that I don’t think I answered. “Do contemporary artists embrace different aspects of the Mexican…” Yeah. You know, there was a time in Pilsen’s history where that if you weren’t Mexican and you wanted to paint in Pilsen, it was kinda like an unspoken thing that you had to paint something that was related to the Mexican community. That is not so much the case now because you even have Mexican artists that are painting things that are not necessarily hardcore representing Mexico; they may be representing something different, something else. And that’s okay because there’s no law that says that all murals must depict socio-political messaging.
However, as you can imagine, as always—right Larry?—with old and young people, that there’s always clashes with ideas and philosophies and things like that. There’s always people saying, “Hey, what are you doing? If you have the opportunity to paint a wall, that should be something that’s political and social.” And then you have people saying, “Man, paint what you want. Paint something beautiful, what you want.”
Larry Baker: Yeah. That just goes to the point of, you know, even though they may represent the same culture, it’s not a monolith, right? And from generation to generation, the focus or the priority… they shift and they change, and hopefully they’re shifting for the new challenges for that particular generation. I don’t fight the same battles my parents or my grandparents fought; I’m fighting for different victories to be won. Each generation that comes after us, hopefully there’s this progression in their perspective and their pursuits in regards to what they wanna express.
So Luis, I know you have a couple more, right?
Luis Tubens: Yeah, yeah, yeah—let’s get to it! Can we get to the next one, please? This mural is another contemporary mural, and this mural is done by several different artists. This is one of four unity murals that was organized by the Vault Gallerie—specifically Delilah Martinez, the head of the Vault Gallerie, in which she gathered specifically Black and Brown artists together. This mural is produced shortly after the protest against the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department, in which things were happening all over the country in protest of that. What happened in Chicago, though, is that there were moments during those protests that—in Latinx communities—it highlighted anti-Black aggression that was going on within those communities. There were activists and artists that denounced some of the anti-Black aggression that was going on in these communities, so there was rallies that were held with Brown Solidarity for Black Lives. It was really interesting because you had within the greater Black Lives Matter movement, that was happening in Chicago at least, this brown solidarity that was going on too.
So artwork starts stemming from that, and you have this mural that’s done by, as I mentioned, both Black and Brown artists that is there to showcase that solidarity. You have here women representing people from Black and Brown communities, and each one of those women is done by a different artist. This mural also is completely done with spray paint, which kind of gives you a clue also to the background of many of these artists, which goes to what I was saying earlier. This newer generation of artists that stem from the eighties and nineties, a lot of their work is coming from… their training ground, I should say, was in the graffiti movement, which is why you see a lot of spray paint being used here in many of the contemporary murals.
It’s a very prominent mural because it is pretty much in the heart of the Pilsen neighborhood. It’s on the corner of 18th and Bishop. It’s on the side of Pilsen Vintage Thrift, so it gets a lot of traffic, I guess is my point. A lot of people go ahead and they see that mural.
Larry Baker: Yeah, I love the unity aspect in that in regards to the Black and Brown movement because many of our struggles… they overlap, right? We have a lot of the same challenges in both communities and love seeing that support on both sides coming together. I also think I saw the Black Panther referenced in the lower right-hand corner of that.
Luis Tubens: Yeah, yep.
Larry Baker: You know, that definitely resonated with me. I absolutely thought that was a groundbreaking movie. Luis, I know we have another one, so let’s keep it going.
Luis Tubens: Yeah, let’s go ahead, and I think this is our last one if I’m not mistaken.
Larry Baker: Oh yeah, I love this one.
Luis Tubens: This mural is older than all the other murals that I’ve shown you. This mural is from 2009, and actually it’s in worse shape than what you see it here now. You could see that in this photograph that I took about a year ago or so that the top was peeling off, and unfortunately it received more damage.
I wanna show it because I don’t know how much longer it’s gonna last, but it’s another mural that highlights the messaging of the community. This mural—that is titled “Declaration of Immigration”—is done by the Yollocalli Youth Arts Reach with lead artist Salvador Jimenez. I wanted to show it to you because it’s a mural that’s done by an organization that works with youth, and this is one of the ways that muralism is getting passed down; it’s through these after-school art programs that many of these practices are continuing with the youth, and it’s a way to keep that up. The Yollocalli Youth Arts Reach, by the way, is an organization that is the youth wing of the National Museum of Mexican Art, and this mural coincided with an exhibition by the same name—“Declaration of Immigration”—which was an exhibition that showcased the contribution of immigrants from all over the world to Chicago.
This piece here, “Declaration of Immigration…” the actual words that you’re looking at is what you would’ve seen at the entrance of the exhibition, but what’s different here is that you have this barbed wire that is throughout the mural. Uh huh, there you go. The words are breaking through the barbed wire. It’s almost as to say that the declaration itself will break through the barbed wire. You have here these pieces of fabric that are caught within the barbed wire, and you could probably already tell that they’re meant to represent flags of different nations of people that came here as immigrants. It’s also a play on some photography work that documents the barbed wire at the border, in which you would see pieces of clothes actually being caught within the barbed wire, empty jugs of water, things like that, kids’ toys and stuff.
Here also, what you see are these butterflies, and the butterfly’s here for a couple different reasons. One is because they may represent migration: change. From the south of Mexico, monarch butterflies migrate to Canada and back through several generations, and they’ve probably been doing so longer than humans have been migrating across those same borders. But also, the butterfly represents metamorphosis and change and all that. You’ll notice something else about the mural is in the upper left is the helicopter that is hunting the butterflies, which is meant to represent ICE—the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency.
Larry Baker: Yeah. Luis, first of all, thank you so much for sharing this information because the same feelings that I had as I walked through the tour, they came out again with your examples because not only is this about muralism, it tells so much of a story. It tells so much of a story about the struggles and the triumphs and the good and the bad within the Pilsen community, the Hispanic community. I think that this is such an excellent way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with this type of a celebration, so I absolutely appreciate your passion behind this.
But the reality is this isn’t just happening in Pilsen, right? So as we think about these murals and how they might apply to the Latinx or the Hispanic community across the entire country and the experiences of many others outside of Pilsen, how do you think they represent those experiences outside of Pilsen?
Luis Tubens: Yeah. Well first I wanna say thank you, Heather Henson, for your comment—appreciate that. So outside of the Pilsen neighborhood, all over the world but specifically all over the United States, murals are being used to represent the Latinx struggle in those particular communities. The thing about murals is that for the most part, they’re meant to be specific to that neighborhood. Outside of the neighborhood of Pilsen—you know, Los Angeles; New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin—those murals are gonna be talking about the Latinx community as it pertains to that area, that neighborhood.
Maybe in one area of the United States, Mexicans came to work on the railroads, and another area of the United States Puerto Ricans went to work on the steel mill, and the other part of the United States Cubans went to were seeking… uh, how you say… refuge. Refugees. That artwork in those Latinx communities are gonna be representing them specifically and their struggles.
Larry Baker: Love that, love that. And I love how it has that authenticity for whatever region that they represent, and you did highlight a lot of that on the tour as well.
We do wanna open it up for some questions. We have a few moments. I don’t know if we have any specific questions that came about, but we do want to give you an opportunity to share your comments or some of your reactions in the chat. Luis is extremely knowledgeable and just a fantastic reference on this topic, and we want to give you the opportunity to share and ask questions and put your comments or your reactions.
But as we wait for those to come… Luis, we’ve talked a little bit about some of those parallels between the Latinx community or the Hispanic community. When we first shared that, you gave me a really good illustration in regards to the definition or why some groups prefer Hispanic, some groups prefer Latinx. If you could elaborate on that just a little bit and share some of that information that I found to be extremely important in our conversations… If you could just talk about that for a moment as we wait for comments.
Luis Tubens: Sure, Sure. Now, I will say though I’m not a professional linguist or word…
Larry Baker: (chuckles) From your experience.
Luis Tubens: Yeah, yeah. From my experience, basically the word “Hispanic” is usually used more in conservative areas, and the word Latinx tends to be the left, I guess you could say. Maybe Hispanic is to the right and Latinx tends to be to the left. I’m not saying that’s always the case a hundred percent of the time, but that’s what I’ve come to see. So you’ll see things like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, or using something like the Latinx Arts programs. That’s usually how I tend to see the words being used.
Now, the word “Latinx” though is something that is specifically used in the United States, and it’s used in the United States because the word “Latinx” is not something that is natural to say in Spanish. The reason why we have an “X” is because most of the words in Spanish have gender significance: they’re male or female for a lot of them. There is no just “them.” For a lot of times to refer to the Latino community as a whole, if you didn’t wanna use the word “Hispanic,” you would say “Latino.” But in an effort recently to de-gender the language, the word “Latinx” with the “X” at the end was used to replace the “O” or the “A” that would usually signify male or female. So Latinx to represent the community as a whole. Not everybody uses that. There’s a lot of people that will still use Latino and consider themselves to the left.
Hispanic also tends to be used a lot more with the southwest of the United States, so you’ll hear Hispanic more in areas of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico. You’ll hear it in Chicago as well and anywhere that there is the community, but also, in general, you’re gonna tend to hear that more in the southwest—Hispanic be used more than the word Latinx—for sure.
Larry Baker: Okay. Thank you for that insight, Luis.
I think we do have some questions, so let’s take a look. We have one from Tyler: “What is the thought process a muralist goes through when selecting a site to create a mural?”
Luis Tubens: You know, it really depends on a lot of different things. One of the things is you want a wall that is gonna be seen by everybody. You’re gonna want a wall that’s gonna be seen, so you want good location. You also want a nice wall; you don’t want a wall’s gonna be falling apart, you know. The wall might be in a great location, but it may be in some serious need of tuckpointing or something else. That is not to say that you’re not gonna work on a wall that is in a bad location or that is in need of work, but you’re gonna tend to wanna wall that it’s a good wall, it’s a good condition, and it’s a good location.
Some of the other factors may be personal. Maybe the wall has some significance to the artist, but if you’re talking now about commissioned work—if an artist is getting paid to do a mural—then they may not be the ones that are so concerned with the location. Maybe the person that is paying them that says, “Hey, I want it to be on my building” or “I want it to be on my business” or whatever it may be.
Some of the other things that the artist is gonna consider the process of the mural is the neighborhood: where are they at, what are they gonna paint that is gonna reflect the neighborhood or reflect the business or reflect something of the community. That’s something that they’re gonna consider in their final rendition. That’s not 100% of the time, as I mentioned, but that’s something they’re gonna consider. I would say those are the main factors in that.
Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you so much, Luis. I think we might have one more question in time for… Okay, so Heather has a question. She’s been to Porto Vita a few times and loves walking around and looking at the murals there. You’ll be in Chicago in October. “Is there a map of mural locations visitors can use?” I say just get into contact with Luis!
Luis Tubens: That’s what I’m saying, Larry! Well, thank you. Thank you for the question. Yeah, okay. To honestly answer your question: yes. Through the National Museum of Mexican Art’s website—and I don’t I don’t use it because I give tours of the murals—but through their website they have something of a virtual map of murals.
There’s also a few universities and colleges that have worked on this. Notre Dame is going to be debuting an app that showcases some of the history of the murals. It’s gonna be something of a virtual map as well. But the one that I would recommend, the one that I know right now, is through the National Museum of Mexican Art.
They’re not gonna be all the murals because there’s hundreds of murals in the neighborhood, but the National Museum of Mexican Art is gonna be the one that is a virtual tour that I trust. Um, if I may do a little shameless plug now, Larry… if that’s okay.
Larry Baker: No, absolutely. Go right ahead.
Luis Tubens: The Pilsen Public Art Tours, which you see there at the bottom of your screen the website ppat.space, or you could find me on social media on Facebook and Instagram by just that Pilsen Public Art Tours. Also, Pilsen Public Art Tours Gmail is where you could reach me too. I give private tours all the time, so please feel free to contact me if you would like to to have a tour. September-October is a very popular time as we near the time of the Day of the Dead. It’s also a very comfortable time to go ahead and to take a walking tour.
But if a walking tour is not something you’re into, I also offer a virtual tour similar to what we have here, in which I give you some photos of murals and I talk about them. I also do fundraiser mural tours for local organizations. We just were able to raise over $700 for the Pilsen Food Pantry, and when I give these tours no money goes to me. One hundred percent goes to the organization. I’m going to be giving another mural tour in efforts to raise money for another local organization called the Pilsen Arts and Community House. I’m gonna be posting that on my website and in social media if that’s something that you would like to attend. Those are public tours that people can come and they can join. Information about where we meet, the length of the tour, the cost will all be there on my website or on the social media.
Larry Baker: Yeah, thank you so much, Luis. This has been such a great conversation, but it doesn’t stop here.
I did want to kind of touch back on our topic where we talked about Hispanic and Latino. I have some bullet points that I wanted to share. When it comes to that phrase “Hispanic,” it typically refers to people from Spain or Spanish-speaking origin. For example, Hispanic would include people from Spain and not Brazil, where Portuguese is predominantly spoken. Latino typically refers to people of Latin America—descendants that are living in the United States—and this term includes Brazilians and it excludes people from Spain. But in recent years that term “Latinx,” as you mentioned, has gained popularity. It’s a gender neutral or non-binary term for Latino or Latina, and it pushes back on that gendered language to be more inclusive. So we touched upon it… we did wanna make sure we elaborated on it because it kind of put you in a bad spot, but I know that we had a conversation around it so I wanted to have you share that insight as well.
But that’s what we do at LCW, right? We really hope that you take what you’ve learned from here and you share it with your friends, you share it with your coworkers. If you wanna have a partner in these conversations, please reach out or contact LCW, languagandculture.com.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for joining us. And again, plug whatever you wanna plug. You know, I have nothing but love for you, my friend. Make sure that the young lady who says she was coming in October, that she hits you up, and take a look at that Pilsen tour. It is amazing. It will be well worth your time.
And we just want to thank you all for your participation and your engagement. Thank you so much. This has been Brave Conversations with LCW Live. Have a great day. Bye.