The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Oct 04, 2010

CHANGING PLACES sparks Latino partnership

Posted by Valerie Nahmad

Levine Museum’s exhibit on Charlotte’s new diversity, CHANGING PLACES: From Black & White to Technicolor, is generating a broad array of community partnerships.  One of the most exciting links the Museum with Latino radio and newspaper company Norsan Multimedia. Drawing Latino visitors has been a hard-to-reach goal for Levine.  The Museum has made concerted efforts: an annual Day of the Dead celebration with Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition; a Spanish gallery guide for CHANGING PLACES and Spanish in the exhibit itself; and multiple Latino members on the Museum board.  But while Latino leaders often attend Museum events, general visitorship remains well below the potential for Charlotte’s largest immigrant group.

This spring Norberto Sanchez, a Museum board member, stepped forward with a bold and generous proposal.  He would put the resources of his three radio stations and Mi Gente newspaper at the Museum’s service at no charge: “Levine Museum teaches things that my community, as newcomers, need to learn.  And the Museum is a place where the wider Charlotte community can get to know us,” says Sanchez.  Latinos often lack the habit of museum-going in their native lands.  Sanchez believes that news about Levine Museum and its events, repeated often in his media outlets, can help change that. Levine Museum staff now host a regular hour on Latino talk radio 1310am (translated by Norsan staff) and contribute a monthly column to Mi Gente.  Norsan translated the Museum’s general brochure into Spanish, along with a two-for-one admission coupon given out by Norsan at Latino community festivals.

In September, the Mexican Consul General of the Carolinas helped open a Levine photo exhibit on the Mexican Revolution.  Norsan’s 102.3 FM will co-sponsor an October 8th concert “Bluegrass Meets Mariachi.”  October 28 – 30 will see an expanded Day of the Dead Festival, followed by the Mexican film Those Who Remain / Los Que Se Quedan, exploring life in villages that have sent many immigrants to the U.S. Levine Museum and Norsan are eager to gauge the impact of this marketing and programming on Latino attendance.  Whatever the effect on visitor numbers, the media exposure is putting Levine Museum’s message in front of a valuable new audience.

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