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,Art at Home,Support Arvada Center Artists,Virtual Auction,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Subscribe,AC Flex Package,YP Access,Visit Us,COVID-19 Entry Policies,View All Events,Gift Certificates,Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express,528.0 Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Stories and Songs to Celebrate the Season,Black in Denver,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Wood.Works,Small Mouth Sounds,Race and the Myth of Rock'n'Roll,Million Dollar Quartet,Amplify with Cleo Parker Robinson,Viral Influence Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) your trouble with living,Melody Epperson: 100 + 1: Women and the Vote,Simply Swingin’: Great American Crooners,Brazil Calling: Featuring the Music of Antônio Carlos Jobim,Big Band Royalty: Dukes, Counts and Barons of Jazz ,Kinky Boots,Rockley Piano Sale,Coffee Concerts: Moonlight Sonata,Keyboard Conversations: The Glorious Music of Chopin,I Do! I Do!,Jazz Classics: The Music You've Been Missing,Amplify: A Breakbeat Testimony,Conversation with the Curators: In Other Words,Sylvia,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema,The Liar,Animal Farm,Stick Fly,Elf - The Musical,Dining Partners,Amplify,Amplify Performers,Theatre,main stage musicals,Black Box Plays,Theatre for Children,Auditions,Million Dollar Quartet Auditions,Holiday Plays,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Wood.Works Know Before You Go,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Holiday Art Sales,Art Submissions,Viral Influence Call for Entry,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Education,Dance Class FAQ,View All Classes,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Academy,For Educators and Community Groups,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Teen Intensive 2021,Yesterado,Music and Dance,Jeffrey Siegel,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,AEDA Summer Concerts,Humanities,On Their Shoulders We Stand,Private Event Rentals,Humans of the Arvada Center,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,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,Barbra Streisand,Governor's mask mandate does not apply to Candlelight actors,Pink Progression: Collaborations: Grow Love and Moe Gram,Director's Notes: A Midsummer Night's Dream,All About Printmaking Techniques,Watercolor Class,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Arvada Center Makes Masks,Earth Day Craft,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Podcast: B+ with Geoffrey Kent and Jessica Austgen ,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,Here are the 2019-20 Henry Award nominations,Arvada Center to Offer Students World’s First Zoom Musical,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 ,The 5 Most Screwed Job Titles in COVID-era theatre,June in Colorado Theatre: 'The Reckoning' has begun,New Arvada Center, Aurora Fox seasons reflect current complexities,It's virtually impossible not to have fun in our summer camps,News roundup: Who The Denver Actor's Fund DEAR Fund has helped,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Pink Progression Collaborations: Jina Brenneman and Margaret Kasahara,Pink Progression: Julia Rymer and Drew Austin,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Colorado Springs reaches the Mountaintop at 2020 Henry Awards,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Million Dollar Quartet,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Small Mouth Sounds,Pink Progression: Sangeeta Reddy and Jodie Roth Cooper,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Private Lives,Front Porch Series Kickoff,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,Theatre news: Live streaming panel Monday on a big new 'Idea',Deeper Dive: A closer look at They're Playing Our Song,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,Arvada Center pivots to radio-play series for fall ,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Denver Film moving forward with longer, smaller, virtual 2020 festival ,How COVID is impacting individual artists,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Arts In Education Week,Colorado Theatre News: Miscast pivots to CAST ,Essay: Was the Aurora Fox a safe house on Opening Night? ,Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Theatre news of the week: DCPA launches Recovery Fund,Zachary Andrews take a one-man bite out of 'Dracula',Trick Art Treat coming to Arvada Center parking lot ,What to do? Theatre happenings for October 16,Spotlight Manos Soap,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,What to do: Theatre happenings for October 23,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Theatre happenings October 30,Virtual theatre sprouts a new branch with Arvada Center's 'The Family Tree',Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,Theatre happenings November 12,the barnstormers are back,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,Getting to Know: Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales,Theatre happenings November 19: Companies entering cancellation mode,A Married Couple's Christmas in Wales,2021 in live theatre: A look into the Crystal Ball,Senior Art Kits,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,'The Family Tree affords actors rare chance to work during pandemic,SCFD: New picture of COVID carnage on metro nonprofits,New Arvada Center video offers diverse slate of holiday stories,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Bev Newcomb-Madden: Colorado's feisty, ferocious fairy godmother passes away ,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,International Women's Day,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,The Con Must Go On,Clear Fork Cider Spotlight,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Adapting the Great Gatsby,Small Mouth Sounds returns,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Reunite the Arts Rod Lansberry,Meet Suzanna Champion,Getting to know Eric Many Winds Herrera and Red Feather Woman,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,Music for the Young and Young at Heart,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,Elf Holiday Traditions,Arts Advocacy,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Contact Us,Ticket discounts,Accessiblity,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Entry,Tours,Art of the State Submissions,Adopt an Actor 2022,Dinner and a Show,Temp,Virtual Theatre FAQ,New Website ,Pink Progression Events,On Demand Troubleshooting,Blog,Lorem ipsum,Lorem ipsum 2,Newk’s,Steuben’s Arvada,The Family Tree FAQ,Home for the Holidays,Land Acknowledgement,Gala,Errors,404,The Family Tree Dining Offers,Privacy Policy