Meet Lares Feliciano

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated from September 15 to October 15! It's a moment to celebrate the culture, history and achievements of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.

As we finish out the month, we want to introduce you to Lares Feliciano, a Denver-based interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Feliciano's work explores queer identities, mixed-race experiences, and complex expressions of grief and trauma. Two of her pieces - "Pa'lante" and "Querer Ser Libre es Empezar a Serlo" - are on display in our Upper Gallery as part of our Word Play exhibition. Feliciano took some time to talk with us about these pieces, her love of collage, and how identity and art practice intersect. 

Arvada Center: How did you get your start as an artist?

Lares Feliciano: I have always been an artist. As a kid I would write plays, bind books, and carefully cover my mom’s loafers with bright stickers. As I got older and explored visual art I had some art teachers who were less than encouraging. If you couldn't draw a perfect still life you probably weren't a real artist. This had a big impact on me. If I "can't draw" then how can I be an artist? Around the same time I fell in love with film which propelled me to pursue my undergrad in film studies and then my MFA in Cinema Production. You don't have to draw to make movies, right? In my last year of grad school I took an animation course on a whim and instantly fell in love. I started creating what I now call "moving collage" animations. My love of art, storytelling, and film melded into one medium and I was hooked. It was then that I realized everything I was doing was indeed art and that narrow view of what an artist was was limiting me. The Denver art scene welcomed me with open arms and it's here that I have been able to expand my practice and experiment with new modes of creating. I now believe that everyone is an artist and it is just about nurturing and exercising your creative muscles.

 
AC: Do you have a medium that you enjoy working in most?

LF: Collage is definitely at the center of my practice. Collage is the act of gathering as much as it is placing and creating, so collage often kick-starts my projects as it facilitates research and planning. Every project starts with gathering and collecting images, ideas, sounds, stories, and ephemera. I love collage because it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. And it is so incredibly accessible. You can collage with almost anything, anywhere. If I am in a creative rut I always turn to collage to get the wheels turning again.

 
AC: Can you please describe the inspiration for your two pieces in the Word Play exhibition?

LF: A contraction of "para adelante", Pa'lante is slang for "forward." Throughout Puerto Rican history Pa'lante has come to be a rally cry for resistance and resilience. In the 1970’s, Pa'lante was the name of a bilingual newspaper published by the Young Lords Party. Pa’lante focused on the Puerto Rican independence movement, the oppression of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in the United States, and global struggles for liberation. In the summer of 2019 Puerto Ricans demonstrated the deep and powerful message of Pa'lante as protestors of all ages marched in the streets demanding the resignation of corrupt Governor Roselló. This piece celebrates the success of those protests and the power and perseverance of the Puerto Rican people.

Photo by Wes Magyar


"Querer ser libre es empezar a serlo - To want to be free is to begin to be so." These words spoken by Puerto Rican revolutionary Ramón Emeterio Betances represent the innate propensity for liberation that exists within us all. But how do we seize freedom in a colonial context? This piece looks at the island's colonial history alongside its rich history of resistance and asks the question: What does a liberated future look like for Puerto Rico?

LISTEN! Hear Lares Feliciano speak about her pieces Word Play in the audio tour of this exhibition.

Listen Now

AC: How does your identity as a Latina intersect with your identity as an artist?

LF: I subscribe to Nina Simone’s philosophy, “An artists’ duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”. As a queer, Puerto Rican artist I feel compelled to explore these identities and my experiences through my art. Furthermore, I see art as an access point to learning, growth, and political change. Puerto Rico continues to be colonized by the United States and yet most Americans know very little about Puerto Ricans, our culture, and our history. I consider it my duty as an artist to use my craft to share about Puerto Rico, the diaspora, and the realities of the world’s oldest colony.

 

AC: Where would you like to see arts organizations go in the future with regard to working with and showing the work of Latinx artists?

LF: First, Latinx artists deserve the space to lead. This means more exhibitions curated by Latinx artists and curators, and more Latinx folks taking leadership roles at these organizations. Second, I encourage all of us to focus on learning about specific cultures and communities. The monolith of Latinx can be misleading - we are all different peoples with rich cultures, histories, and experiences. The urge to clump us all into one demographic erases the diversity of who we refer to as Latinx. Lastly, we can all do better in acknowledging the colorism that exists within Latinx communities and the way Latinx folks are represented. White-assumed folks like myself get asked to represent the community while my Black siblings are chronically ignored. Afro-Puerto Ricans exist. Afro-Mexicans exist. The list goes on. Making intentional space to honor and celebrate the Afro-Latinx experience is essential.


Learn more about Feliciano and follow her work by exploring her website!

Read More

Home,Reignite the Arts,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,Visit Us,View All Events,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Animal Farm,Big Band Royalty,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,A Tribute to the Boston Pops,The CJRO presents A Night of Sizzling Soul with Larry Braggs,Pink Martini featuring China Forbes,Carlou D,Pamela Webb: Hand + Hammer,Lauri Lynnxe Murphy: Seeing the Trees For the Forest,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,528.0: Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Wood.Works,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) Your Trouble with Living,Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1,Blurring The Line,Dawes,Melissa Etheridge,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Australian Pink Floyd,José González,Art of the State 2022,Into The Woods,Elle King,Madeleine Peyroux In Concert,One Sheet,The River Bride,The History of African American Music Part 3,Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Charlotte's Web,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Spring Pottery Sale,Teacher Appreciation Concert,Damn Yankees,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Mary Poppins,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Divas, Icons and Justice Warriors,The Book Club Play,Guitar Stars and Friends,The Denver Brass: In Pursuit of Leisure,Swing, Swing, Swing: Benny and Beyond ,Spamalot,A Night at the Movies with the Colorado Symphony,Toad the Wet Sprocket and Cracker,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Keb' Mo',Boz Scaggs,Lucero,The Ladies of Soul,Ben Folds,Drawn: From The Source,Day of African Culture,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents Living the Lush Life,Face Vocal Band,Mozart Under Moonlight,George Thorogood and the Destroyers,Indigo Girls,Big Draw Colorado,Collective Soul,A Tribute to Chick Corea with Eric Gunnison,Exhibition Unveiling,Honoring Dance Legends: Great teachers and choreographers of the 20th century,An Evening with Holocaust Survivor Sara Moses,Rockley Instrument Sale,The Laramie Project Talkbacks with Judy and Dennis Shepard,Allyship & Advocacy in Action: Supporting the LGBTQAI+ Community,Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera A 40-Year Survey,Latitude 37° Art of Southern Colorado,Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,The Laramie Project,Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Cinderella Dinner and a Show,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,Our Town,Big Band Royalty: Nothin’ But the Blues,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Sensory Friendly Performance,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella ASL Interpreted Performances ,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,iZCALLi: La Posada feat. ArtistiCO Dance Company,Artist Proof: Print Process at Oehme Graphics,Exhibition Tour and Artist Talk with Sue Oehme,Sue Oehme Inclusions,Big Ink,53rd Annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Matt Christie: Between Then and Now,Print Jam,Noises Off,Latin Sounds From Legendary Artists,A Year With Frog and Toad,Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812,Robin Cole: Genesis,Arvada Center Spring Brunch,Dining Partners,Amplify,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,Performances for Students,Auditions,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,FAQ,Spring Break Camps,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Classes,Links and Forms,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Yesterado,Yesterado,Field Trips and Outreach,ECE Field Trips,K-5 Field Trips,Middle and High School Field Trips,Outreach Programs,Preschool Partnership Program,Music and Dance,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,Humanities,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Straight Talk Series ,Straight Talk with Philip Sneed,COVID’s toll on Colorado theatre: 224 productions and counting ,Straight Talk with Lynne Collins,Straight Talk with Rod Lansberry,Straight Talk with Phamaly, Buntport, Colorado Shakes and Rocky Mountain Rep,Straight Talk with Creede Rep, Town Hall, Candlelight and Theatre Company of Lafayette,Straight Talk with Aurora Fox, BDT Stage, Cherry Creek Theatre and Misfits,Straight Talk with Su Teatro, Vintage, Backstage and Counterweight,Straight Talk with Local Theater Company, Theater 29, The Source and Equinox,Straight Talk with the Denver Center, Jesters Dinner Theatre, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and Germinal Stage-Denver,Actors' union issues safety guidelines for re-opening,Straight Talk with square product, Forge Light, Springs Ensemble Theatre and Coal Creek Theatre of Louisville,Straight Talk with the Fine Arts Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Dangerous Theatre and Lone Tree Arts Center ,Straight Talk with Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Northglenn Arts,Straight Talk with The Catamounts, Bas Bleu and Thingamajig,Straight Talk with Curious Theatre Company,Straight Talk with OpenStage, Firehouse and Adams Mystery Playhouse,Straight Talk with Platte Valley Players and Theatreworks,Straight Talk with Parker Arts, Stories on Stage and Thunder River ,Staight Talk 2 with Philip Sneed: This much is uncertain,Arvada Center News,Getting to Know The Big Tuna,Getting to Know: Keith Ewer and his Hammered Dulcimer,Pivoting With,Pivoting with The Black Actors Guild,Pivoting with ... Emily Van Fleet and Nathan Jones,Pivoting With ... Tammy Franklin and the Curtain Playhouse,Pivoting With Nick Sugar and the Town Hall Arts Center,Pivoting With Helen Murray and the Aurora Fox,Pivoting with Edith Weiss and Christy Montour Larson,Pivoting With Scott RC Levy and the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company,Pivoting with Todd Debrecini for Halloween,Pivoting with Ashley Campbell,Pivoting with Meghan Anderson Doyle,Pivoting with Jenna Moll Reyes,Pivoting with Erik Fellenstein,Pivoting with Ray Bailey ,Pivoting with Tara Falk,Community News,Inside the Arvada Center,All About Printmaking Techniques,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,Humans of the Arvada Center: Steven Cogswell,Humans of the Arvada Center: Ashi K. Smythe,City of Arvada to install new sculpture in Hoskinson Park,Humans of the Arvada Center Jessie Page,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,Humans of the Arvada Center: Adam Stolte,Supreme Court workplace ruling hits home for Lisa Leafgreen,'Time for talk is over': Arvada Center launch 'Amplify' series to raise black male voices,Humans of the Arvada Center Jon Olson ,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Beth Malone bringing 'joy bomb' to Arvada Center oon September 4,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot ,2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford,2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters,2020 True West Awards: Podcastic,2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan,2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore,2020 True West Awards: Alive Inside,2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger,True West Awards: They Wrote the Book,True West Awards: Rent-A-Pals,True West Awards: Of Spacious Skies,True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders,2020 True West Awards: Suffer the little children,2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving,2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners,2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt,2020 True West Awards: Amplify,2020 True West Awards: Reclaiming One Star,2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee,2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,21 for 21,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,An interview with Jada Suzanne Dixon: Stick Fly,An interview with Jessica Robblee: Animal Farm,Fast Facts About Kinky Boots,Costume Department Boots Up,Rod A Lansberry Announces Retirement from Arvada Center,Lynne Collins Named Artistic Director of Arvada Center Theatre,Getting to Know José González,Getting to Know Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux,The Many Sounds of Carlou D,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Into the Woods Directors Note,The River Bride Director's Note,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,Things to Know About Our Town,Creating the Look of Our Town: A Q and A with Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Whatever Lola Wants - A Deep Dive into the Damn Yankees Signature Song,Selling Your Soul - A Pop Culture Favorite,The Book Club Play Reads,Metatheatre Elements in Our Town - When a Play Knows It's a Play,90s Throwback Vibe with Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Arvada Center,Opening Acts of the Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Getting to know Baaba Maal,Big Draw Highlights,The Music of Keb' Mo,Getting to Know Lucero,The People at the Indigo Girls ,Listen to the hits of Carole King with this playlist,Carole King: The Writer Behind The Music,Songs inspired by Matthew Shepard,Summer Internship at The Arvada Center,Arvada Center journeys to Southern Colorado : A Photo Diary,Arvada Center and Colorado Chapter of Free Mom Hugs share the love,Costume Inspiration for Cinderella with Costume Designer Madison Booth,Getting to Know: iZCALLi and ArtistiCO,The Many Faces of Cinderella,Arvada Center awarded Social Impact Theatre Grant from Biller Family Foundation,The music that influenced the music of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Authorized Ticketing,Group Tickets,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Accessibility,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Tours,Adopt an Actor 2023,Adopt An Artwork,Temp,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,LGBT Resources,Privacy Policy,Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet Seat Map,Gala,Gala Sponsors,Errors,404,Natasha and Pierre Synopsis,Concessions,Summer Preorders