Hispanic arts were the focus of attention at several gatherings here this weekend.
A "National Hispanic/Chicano/Latino Video Festival and Seminar Series" was held at the American Film Institute, in conjunction with the AFI's 10th anniversary, and at the Fondo del Sol/Spanish American Media Center, in conjunction with the "Raices y Visiones /Roots and Visions" exhibit which continues there through Wednesday.
The work of photographers, filmmakers and video artists was exhibited. "Raices y Visiones " will take a tour through 10 museums and 15 colleges and Hispanic community centers during the next two years, using funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and local arts commissions and foundations. Fondon del Sol is at 2112 R St. NW.
Meanwhile, the National Council on the Arts, which supervises the work of the National Endowment for the Arts, was hearing a panel of Hispanic Americans emphasize the need for more support for Hispanic arts.
"The Hispanic culture is viewed by society as something that's cute or nice but not really understood," said Frank Lopez, executive director of Plaza de la Raza cultural center in Los Angeles. A member of his institution's board, Margo Albert (known as "Margo" in her Hollywood acting days), said an artist had told her that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for "a Latino to enter the portals of the Endowment."
Plaza de la Razza, said Lopez, has received $20,000 from the National Endowment, "but then we don't apply unless we know we're going to get something."
Miriam Colon Edgar, of New York's Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, said many Hispanic community leaders had to fight for economic survival, "leaving cultural institutions in the hands of people with ability but little know-how."
At the recommendation of the panel, the council voted to establish a Hispanic task force. "We are visible today, but we don't want to become invisible tomorrow," said Texas college administrator Tomas Rivera.
Joseph Duffey, new head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, appeared at the council meeting for a chummy mutual pledge of cooperation between the two Endowments with new National Endowment for the Arts chairman Livingston Biddle. Joan Mondale also made an appearance.