What started as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson became Hispanic Heritage Month under President Ronald Reagan. The month-long celebration, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, recognizes “the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”
If you’ve never explored the riches of Hispanic, Latino or Chicano cultures in Arizona, take some time to enjoy these festivals, exhibits and performances with your family:
The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix presents Fiestas Patrias Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16. The celebration of Mexico’s independence from Spain features music, dancing and a new Mexico exhibit. The MIM also presents several concerts featuring Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month. themim.org.
Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix presents exhibits of paintings, sculpture and other works by Latino artists, plus events featuring Latino music, dance, theater and more. alacaz.org.
Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix presents several children’s events featuring Latino arts and culture — including Legends and Folklore from Latin America, Music of Latin America with La Familia Guerrero, Dia de los Muertos Storytelling with Zarco and Dia de los Muertos Mask Making. phoenixpubliclibrary.org.
The Calle 16 art, cuisine and cultural district in Phoenix presents murals created with community partners along 16th Street, which families can explore while walking or driving in mid-town Phoenix. calle16.org.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents Sparkly Skulls & Playdoh in the art studio Oct. 23-28. childrensmuseumofphoenix.org.
Desert Botanical Garden presents an exhibit of Dia de los Muertos altars created by local and renowned artists Oct. 26-Nov. 4. Their 10th annual Dia de los Muertos fall festival Saturday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 4 features a community altar and procession (Sunday at 5pm), traditional song and dance, and the history of Dia de los Muertos presented by Zarco Guerrero. dbg.org.
Mesa Arts Center presents a Dia de los Muertos Spirits Connect. Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24. The festival features a community altar, mercado, children’s activities, live music and other performances. mesaartscenter.
The Phoenix Art Museum presents The Politics of Place: Latin American Photography, Past and Present through Sunday, Dec. 2. phxart.org.
The Phoenix Symphony presents a Dia de los Muertos Family Concert conducted by Joseph Young Saturday, Oct. 27. The concert features performance by Ballet Folklorico Ollin Yoliztli. Families can enjoy an instrument petting zoo and Halloween crafts before the concert. phoenixsymphony.org.
Xico Gallery in Chandler presents ongoing exhibits of artwork by Chicano and Native American artists and an annual Dia de los Muertos/Celebration of Life Festival. The Saturday, Nov. 3 event at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park features music, dance, ethnic food, artist demonstrations, storytelling, folk arts and crafts, and children’s area – plus an exhibition of altars and candlelight procession. xicoinc.org.
You’ll find National Hispanic Heritage Month exhibitions and collections online at hispanicheritagemonth.gov/collections.