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. This year’s theme is “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”
The celebration begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of 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, and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
Here’s how you can celebrate Hispanic America’s tradition, history and culture in Denver.
Self-Preservation by Anthony Garcia Sr. (July 9, 2018-Feb. 1, 2019)
Painted on site, this large-scale mural by Anthony Garcia Sr. spans the wall of the fourth-floor mezzanine of History Colorado Center and features vibrant zarape colors and designs. With roots in Globeville, Garcia draws inspiration from this predominantly Hispanic Denver neighborhood where he co-founded BirdSeed Collective, an outreach organization focused on the arts and humanities. "Self-Preservation" represents how different cultures can work together to form a community. His work also is featured in History Colorado Center’s El Movimiento exhibit, which highlights the 1960s and 1970s, when Chicano activists fought to end discrimination, secure rights and gain political and social power through education, culture and the arts.
CineLatino Film Festival (Sept. 6-9)
Each year, the Denver Film Society honors Latino artistic influence with a four-day film festival featuring premieres, receptions and special events. Narrative films range from comical to serendipitous and dramatic, and documentary fans will relish a poetic journey to the stars, a first-person view of life on the border for young students, and stories of women warriors fighting for equality in Nicaragua. For families, the New York Children’s Film Festival’s ¡Viva Kid Films! features animated, documentary and live action films from Mexico.
Del Sur al Norte/From North to South (Sept. 6-Dec. 14)
The Mexican Cultural Center is hosting “Del Sur al Norte/From North to South,” an art exhibition featuring works by Manuel Cordero. Founded in 1992, the Mexican Cultural Center helps promote and maintain the richness of Mexican culture in Colorado.
'A La Reconquista' Homage to la Chicanidad in Denver (Sept. 7-28)
This is only the second show to be held at the new location of the CHAC Gallery & Cultural Center at 222 Santa Fe Drive. Inspired by the very first Chicano mural in the American Southwest by Carlotta Espinoza, a celebrated local artist and first movement muralist in the Chicano Movement, the exhibit features artists Josiah Lopez, Carlos Santistevan Sr., Frank Zamora, Alejandra Lujan and Carlos Fresquez. CHAC Gallery & Cultural Center was founded in 1978 as a place where Chicano/Latino artists are provided with a venue to explore visual and performance art and promote and preserve the Chicano/Latino culture through the arts.
Noche en la Catedral: Latin Nights (Sept. 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13)
Located in the South of Colfax Nightlife District, The Church nightclub is hosting Noches en la Catedral: Latin Nights on Saturday evenings starting at 9 p.m. during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Gothic architecture, 70-foot ceilings, multiple dance floors on three floors spread out the crowd and ensure a fiesta experience. Plus, Fiesta Fridays are always a mainstay at South of Colfax Nightlife District’s Club Vinyl and begin at 9 p.m.
1840s Rendezvous & Spanish Colonial Art Market (Sept. 15-16)
The Tesoro Cultural Center (tesoro means treasure in Spanish) hosts events that are inspired by Colorado’s rich history and shared experiences with Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American and early European cultures. During the 1840s Rendezvous & Spanish Colonial Art Market at The Fort Restaurant in Morrison, there will be at least 15 artists from Colorado and New Mexico taking part in the Spanish Colonial Art Market and several artist demonstrations, including retablo workshops provided by CHAC (Chicano Humanities and Arts Council). Fiesta Colorado Dance Company, is among the groups providing entertainment during the festival, which runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Latin Beats: Sonidos de las Américas (Sept. 20)
The Mexican Cultural Center and Colorado Symphony are presenting the second annual “Latin Beats: Sonidos de las Americas” in partnership with Telemundo Denver. This free community concert at Boettcher Concert Hall celebrates Latin culture’s influence of sound in the Americas and runs from 7-9 p.m.
FirstBank Fiesta Fridays (Sept. 28)
Free Hispanic-inspired foods, treats, music and entertainment. Everyone is welcome — no matter your cultural background or native language.
Latin Dance Lessons (all year long)
A wide variety of classes for adults and kids are available at Colorado New Style Dance School, which specializes in Latin dance. Various levels of salsa, bachata, flamenco and other adult classes are available as well as children’s instruction in Latin movement and capoeira, which is a Brazilian martial art form that combines self-defense, acrobatics, dance, music and song.