Traveling latino museum inching closer to a home
May 22, 2012 · Print This Article
Lorain Ohio — The mobile Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures is closer to finding a home in Lorain, Ohio according to Rey Carrion, head of community development for the international city .
Carrion said he made a phone call this past weekend to Guillermo Arriaga, the museum’s president and head curator, about possible new locations. The call, Carrion said, was to talk to Arriaga about new locations that have opened up for the museum.
The city is “trying to find a building that is suitable” for the over 3,000 artifacts the museum has Carrion said. Lorain hopes to have the museum downtown where there is a growing arts culture, but limited funds by the nonprofit museum, the large space requirement, and the environment needed to preserve the artifacts creates a challenge. Also the city does not own all the properties downtown, creating another challenge Carrion added.
“We are working with private owners to see if we can find a good place for him”, Carrion said, referring to Arriaga.
Arriaga said the city has offered at least two locations, Century Park’s Harbor House, on the corner of East Erie Avenue and Massachusetts, which is on the city’s East side, and a building on the 600 block of Broadway Avenue near the recently opened, Charleston Café.
Arriaga has said both locations were not suitable, the Harbor House was “too small” and “needs work”; the buildings on the 600 block, have been unaffordable, too small, or not equipped for the museum’s needs.
Carrion said the city is working to find the museum a home and Lorain wants the museum to be a part of what they call the “resurgence of Lorain.”
Despite getting offers from the cities of Amherst, Cleveland, Columbus Findley Fremont Oberlin, and Toledo, Arriaga said he feels Lorain is “diverse in cultures” and would make a good home for the museum’s collection and that the museum “belongs in Lorain.”
The museum – which has 18 countries represented – was incorporated in 2010 and became a nonprofit organization in 2011 and has traveled throughout Ohio, through the traveling, Arriaga has concluded the museum is the only Latino museum in the state.
The museum collection has hand-made wood carvings, paintings, one of a kind garb, and hand stitched cultural embroidery with traditional dress from several different countries.
The retired Lorain City Schools teacher has spent 35 years collecting Central and South American cultural artifacts, his collection combined with artifact donations from the community and other board members has created what he says is a unique museum everyone should see.
“Once people hear about the museum and come in,” Arriaga continued. “I know they’re going to say, “wow.””