CHICAGO (May 22, 2015) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago proudly announced today that it is one of ten leading Chicago arts and cultural organizations to have received a three-year Spotlight Grant from the Joyce Foundation.

The $225,000 grant will help the Center’s Latino Music Festival, Chicago’s only Festival dedicated to Latino classical and instrumental music now in its tenth year, to enhance its vision for the next three years by capitalizing on the knowledge gathered over the last nine years.  The plan is to produce ten concerts this coming season –fewer concerts with more internationally acclaimed talent. The 10th Annual Latino Music Festival will take place in the fall.

“We are grateful to have The Joyce Foundation acknowledge the importance and growth of the Latino Music Festival. The Spotlight Grant supports our mission and will help us maintain our leadership position in sharing the diverse and multinational culture of more than 600 million Latinos. It will provide the sustainability and security we need to further develop and enhance the artistic quality of the Latino Music Festival for the next three years,” said Pepe Vargas, Founder & Executive Director of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.

“The Joyce Foundation had the vision of supporting the Latino Music Festival in a process that brought us from two concerts 10 years ago to the thriving present, where we are able to present world class musicians in Chicago and the suburbs, from the most prestigious mainstream venues to community concerts. The Joyce Foundation has been our strongest ally and supporter this past decade,” added Elbio Barilari, co-artistic director of the Festival.
The Joyce Foundation’s new program builds on its history of promoting greater diversity in the arts and supporting cultural institutions set in communities of color.

The new strategy shines a spotlight not only on the public arts spaces, but also on back-of-the-house needs, a place than can often be neglected in the arts.

“Our goal was to encourage organizations like the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago to design programs that they thought would reach their greatest potential,” said Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation.

“We are very happy to be the recipients of this grant. It will help us stay focused on our mission, and to continue to develop the Latino Music Festival into a unique collection of concerts covering many cultures, ethnicities, and styles,” said Gustavo Leone, co-artistic director of the Latino Music Festival.

The following acts have been confirmed for the Festival; a full calendar with the rest of the program, dates and venues will be announced later this summer:

Opening Concert: Cantata a Santa María de Iquique: One of the highlights of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Latino Music Festival will be a full production of this emblematic work of socially engaged music from Latin America.  Written in 1969 by Chilean composer Luis Advis, the cantata describes the dramatic struggle of the workers on the salt fields of northern Chile and was dedicated to the folk group Quilapayún, one of the symbols of the socially engaged Nueva Canción movement in Latin America.

Black Decameron: This show will highlight the connections between Latin America and Africa, as well as the Afro-Latin American traditions and talent. The Latino Music Festival will present this newly commissioned choreography of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer’s monumental Decamerón Negro in collaboration with the Ragdale Foundation, which has offered a residency to choreographer and Ruth Page Center’ director Víctor Ramírez to create this piece. Brouwer wrote Decamerón Negro based on a collection of Yoruba legends surviving in both sides of the Atlantic.

Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura, Paraguay and the Oistrakh Symphony: The videos showing the unbelievable creativity and the moving dedication of Paraguayan children playing orchestral music with instruments made out of recycled materials has been going viral. The example of these children, most of them of Guaraní descent, proves that the love for music and its healing properties can overcome pretty much anything: poverty, social injustice, educational problems, even the lack of the proper instruments. They will be performing in Chicago and the Oistrakh Symphony will make a special appearance with them.

New Latino Music with Dal Niente Ensemble: The Dal Niente ensemble, recipient of a grant from The Joyce Foundation, will collaborate in 2015 to present new music by Latin American living composers.

In addition to corporate sponsorship, the Chicago Latino Music Festival receives financial support from: The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council –a state agency.

The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting and increasing awareness of Latino cultures among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy and theater. The Center prides itself for its outstanding multidisciplinary local and international cultural programming which spans Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.

Born out of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago produces other programs in addition to the Latino Music Festival, the summer program, Film in the Parks, also in its 10th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 6th year, and many others.

All in all, the audience has grown from 500 people in 1985 for the first Chicago Latino Film Festival to more than 70,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos), who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.