National Hispanic Heritage Month, from Sept. 15–Oct. 15 each year, commemorates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The celebration begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also observe their independence days during this period.
Here’s how you can celebrate this rich tradition, history and culture in Denver. (Versión en español aquí).
Fashion Designs of Carla Fernández (Thru Sept. 5, 2022)
This is the first exhibition to fully explore the career of Mexican artist and fashion designer Carla Fernández, founder of the eponymous fashion brand. The acclaimed Mexico City-based fashion brand Carla Fernández (established in 2000) is a couture house that aims to bring new meaning to the luxury world as an agent of social and ethical change and innovation. See it at Denver Art Museum.
La Musidora (Thru Sept. 5, 2022)
Take part in this interactive outdoor art installation this summer on Martin Plaza, located near the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building entrance. La Musidora is a combination of the Spanish words "la música" (music) and "la mecedora" (rocking chair). Make musical sounds by gently rocking colorfully woven chairs in tandem. This 90-foot artwork, designed by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena of the interdisciplinary design firm Esrawe + Cadena in Mexico City, seats a total of 20 visitors at a time.
Hispanic Restaurant Week (Sept. 22–Oct. 3)
The newly formed Hispanic Restaurant Association is kicking off Hispanic Restaurant Week, making Colorado the first state to honor Latin American cuisine with a restaurant week. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a proclamation in support of it. Unlike traditional restaurant weeks, there isn't a list of participating establishments. But diners are encouraged to head to Latin restaurants and food trucks and post photos on social media with the hashtag @hra_national.
¡Salud y Justicia! (Thru Sept. 24, 2022)
This pop-up art exhibit at Museo de las Americas is curated by Carina Bañuelos-Harrison in order to raise mental health awareness and destigmatize what it means within the Latinx Community. The exhibit’s goal is to spark an open and multidimensional conversation about mental illness to normalize our struggles and transform them through healthy outlets and modalities while bringing to light that our community deserves equitable access to mental health.
Who Tells a Tale Adds a Tail: Latin America and Contemporary Art (Thru March 5, 2023)
This exhibit at Denver Art Museum features mostly site-specific, commissioned artworks by emerging artists in dialogue with the unique architecture of the DAM's Hamilton Building. The 19 participating millennial-generation artists from countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico have developed work that creates new worlds and realities, inviting spectators to engage in narratives through a multitude of media: painting, sculpture, installation, textile, video, sound, digital and performance art.
Book Presentaion: "African Slave Conquistador" (Sept. 2, 2022)
Writer Anthony Garcia is a native Coloradoan with family roots in northern New Mexico. He'll present his book "African Slave Conquistador," about Esteban de Dorantes, on the First Friday in September at Museo de las Americas.
C-Kan, MC Davo, Dharius - USA Tour 2022 (Sept. 8, 2022)
Mexican rapper, singer and songwriter C-Kan with MC Davo & Dharius will perform live at The Summit Music Hall.
Westwood Chile Fest (Sept. 10, 2022)
This one-day event in the Westwood neighborhood celebrates Hispanic-centric cultures, making up 80 percent of this Denver neighborhood, with a strong focus on authentic food and local arts.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán (Sept. 16, 2022)
The Paramount Theatre is proud to present Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, celebrating its 125th anniversary as one of the musical institutions with a genuine cultural legacy. They'll share with their audience the songs that have made them a standard of Mexican music: Sabes Una Cosa, La Bikina and El Son De La Negra, among others.
Friday Night Jazz: An Evening of Latin Jazz (Sept. 16, 2022)
The CJRO Sextet will play an evening of Samba, Mambo and more in a concert celebrating the rich and bold culture of Latin music at The Schoolhouse at Mainstreet in Parker.
X Tour: Luis Angel & Luis Alfonso Partida (Sept. 24, 2022)
Regional Mexican artists Luis Ángel “El Flaco” and Luis Alfonso Partida “El Yaki”, together for X Tour, are coming to Denver's Bellco Theatre!
Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival (Sept. 25, 2022)
Head to Levitt Pavilion Denver for a night of free music at the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival!
Aleman - Tour USA 2022 (Sept. 25, 2022)
Mexican rapper Aleman will perform live at The Summit Music Hall.
Orquesta Akokán (Oct. 3, 2022)
When Orquesta Akokán burst onto the global music scene, their no-holds barred 21st century take on the venerable Cuban mambo lit up stages around the world with a fierce and unremitting joy. Suffused with a sense of possibility, the band pushes the conventions of “mambo” by drawing from folkloric and religious traditions seldom heard in popular music. See them at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts.
Chuchito Valdés (Oct. 5, 2022)
With influences of Caribbean rhythms and jazz, Chuchito Valdés follows in the footsteps of his famed father, Chucho Valdés, and grandfather, Bebo Valdés, continuing the legacy of great piano players form Cuba. Chuchito creates an exciting and energetic blend of spicy music that drives audiences wild.
Latin Beats: Sonidos de las Américas (Oct. 6, 2022)
The Mexican Cultural Center and your Colorado Symphony present the sixth annual Latin Beats: Sonidos de las Américas. This unique, free concert at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Latin culture’s influence on sound in the Americas, showcasing a fusion of traditional, classical and contemporary music augmented by the Colorado Symphony’s soaring orchestrations.
Larimer Sessions - DJ Cyn (Oct. 22, 2022)
This free outdoor performance in Larimer Square features DJ Cyn's Latin-inspired house/dance music. Whether you're enjoying a cocktail on one of the many restaurant patios or dancing in the street, Larimer Sessions is sure to be a highlight of your weekend!
Lila Downs (Oct. 28, 2022)
Born in Mexico and raised in both Oaxaca and Minnesota, six-time Latin Grammy winner Lila Downs returns to the Newman Center with her eclectic mix of Mexican pop, folk and indigenous roots music, along with a performance style that is uniquely hers. With a symbolic stage presence and emotional storytelling through song, her singing transcends all language barriers.
Latin American Art Galleries
The Latin American Art gallery at Denver Art Museum offers insights into more than five centuries of the shared stories of conquered and conquerors, and the arts that originated from a colonial situation of great complexity, featuring more than 3,000 works from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Southwestern United States. Drawing on the museum’s remarkable holdings, for the first time a gallery will be exclusively devoted to the artistic developments that emerged after the independence from European rule in the 1820s, a time when the search for national identity and aspirations of cosmopolitanism dominated the arts.
Art of the Ancient Americas Galleries
The Art of the Ancient Americas collection at Denver Art Museum encompasses the area from the southwestern United States to the tip of present-day Argentina beginning in 2000 B.C.E. This reinstallation focuses on three major geographic zones: Mesoamerica, Central America, and the Andes. While the collection primarily focuses on objects produced prior to the arrival of Europeans, the gallery incorporates several contemporary works that engage with ancient practices and materials, highlighting connections between past and present.
Opportunities exist all year long to learn Latin dances and try out the moves!
Colorado New Style Dance specializes in Latin dance and offers a wide variety of classes for adults and kids. Various levels of salsa, bachata, capoeira and other classes are available.
Salsa Central Denver has a handy list of where to learn salsa and bachata every week and enjoy dancing to Latin beats, including its own Wednesday Salsa and Bachata Lessons and Dance where you can meet new people and practice all night long! There is an admission fee that includes a beginning salsa lesson. There is an extra fee for bachata and intermediate salsa. Lessons begin at 7:15 p.m. followed by open dancing from 8:30 p.m. to close.
Also on the list are bachata dancing with lessons on Wednesdays and Salsa Fridays at Blue Ice Lounge, which also has Rotating Latin Night on Thursdays and Latin Top 40 on Saturdays. More salsa and bachata lessons take place at La Rumba every night of the week — check the schedule for levels and times.