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"PINTURA : PALABRA" was a historic multi-year initiative for the Latinx literary community. Started in 2013 by Letras Latinas, the project fostered new Latinx writing inspired by art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art']].

PINTURA: PALABRA was launched at the 2013 fall Latino Art Now! conference, where a panel was held on poetry and art moderated by American poets Francisco Aragón with Eduardo Corral and Tino Villanueva. Aspects of the initiative included ekphrastic writing workshops; inviting writers to engage with the exhibit; and partnering with literary journals to publish portfolios of ekphrastic writing. The exhibit debuted its national tour in 2013 and concluded in 2017. The six resulting portfolios became a part of a book arts project to mark the conclusion of the initiative. They appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, Notre Dame Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Packinghouse Review, and the Western Humanities Review. Among the poets who contributed were Juan Felipe Herrera, Lorna Dee Cervantes, and Tino Villanueva.

Related activities[edit]

Ekphrastic writing workshops and portfolios[edit]

The inaugural ekphrastic writing workshop was held in February 2014 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where the "Our America" exhibit began its tour. The multimedia showcase featured diverse contributions of leading Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. Ten poets led by Valerie Martínez and Brenda Cárdenas formed the curated first cadre of participants, including Dan Vera and Emma Trelles. Ten poems from the D.C. cohort were published in Poet Lore..[1] The second workshop was held at Florida International University's Frost Art Museum in May 2014. This Miami workshop led by Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize-winning poet Emma Trelles produced a portfolio included in the Notre Dame Review[2]. Francisco X. Alarcón facilitated the Sacramento, CA workshop in October 2014. It was held at the Crocker Art Museum and resulted in two companion portfolios, one in The Los Angeles Review[3] in one of its last print editions, followed by another in The Packinghouse Review[4]

After the Sacramento workshop, another portfolio[5] was commissioned by Poetry from 12 curated poets who responded to the exhibit from the Our America catalog. The last workshop took place in March 2015 at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, led by Fred Arroyo. The Salt Lake City portfolio published in the Western Humanities Review[6] holds the distinction of being the only portfolio dedicated to prose.

PINTURA : PALABRA DC Residencies[edit]

The PINTURA:PALABRA DC Residencies brought three Latina writers to Washington, D.C., where they visited museums and galleries to write about, and respond to, art. Laurie Ann Guerrero and Gina Franco participated in the Library of Congress' Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers during their residencies. These one-week residencies were inspired by Blas Falconer's four-day, self-directed ekphrastic retreat in January 2014 when he visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum "Our America" exhibit. Laurie Ann Guerrero (Poet Laureate of Texas and San Antonio) was the 2015 inaugural recipient, followed by Gina Franco in 2016 and Alexandra Lytton Regalado in 2017. Alexandra Lytton Regalado enriched her residency by meeting with Salvadoran photographer Muriel Hasbun about her contributions to the "Our America" exhibit. Laurie Ann Guerrero's suite of poems inspired by her residency was featured in Origins Literary Journal; Gina Franco's resulting long form poem was published in the Los Angeles Review.

Current activity[edit]

Letras Latinas commissioned noted Chicano poet and critic, Rigoberto González to write an extensive essay entitled Pintura Palabra: An Essay in VII Movements on the poetry published in the six portfolios. The essay will become a limited edition chapbook. Upon its completion, a limited edition collector's box set will be commissioned in which the six portfolios and chapbook will be included. 40 of these boxes will be sold to collectors and libraries as historical documentation of LatinX literary collaboration.


  1. ^ "A Portfolio from Letras Latinas (PINTURA: PALABRA)". 110 (1/2). 2015. ISSN 0032-1966. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "PINTURA: PALABRA: (A Section on Ekphrastic Poetry)". Notre Dame Review (40). 2015.
  3. ^ Gale, Kate (Fall 2016). Guest Editor Portfolio: PINTURA : PALABRA. Los Angeles Review. ISBN 9781597094214.
  4. ^ PINTURA: PALABRA: a Portfolio. The Packinghouse Review. 4. 2017. ISBN 9781544217598.
  5. ^ "PINTURA: PALABRA". Poetry (magazine). 207 (6). March 2016. ISSN 0032-2032.
  6. ^ "PINTURA : PALABRA, A Portfolio of Brief Ekphrastic Prose". Western Humanities Review. 70.2. Summer 2016.