The Sabor Blog

News, Events & Stories from the Latino Community across the U.S.

Telling the Story with Half the Size

When SITES was approached by Ford Motor Company Fund, a longstanding supporter of the arts, about collaborating on a Latino-focused traveling exhibition, they immediately thought about American Sabor. SITES had heard about this Latino music-focused exhibition created by Seattle’s Experience Music Project (EMP) that was traveling to major cities across the country. They felt it would be an exciting challenge to tell the story in half the space in order to travel to smaller, community-based museums and libraries with access to a broad base of visitors. After all, SITES had been getting numerous inquiries from libraries and local history museums for this kind of exhibition.

Exhibition designer Lynn Kawaratani discusses the exhibition content with EMP's Jasen Emmons and Evelyn Figueroa from SITES.With that in mind, a project team and exhibition designer from SITES boarded a plane to Austin, Texas to view American Sabor at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and to meet with Jasen Emmons, the curator from EMP. Over a long weekend, they soaked in the exhibition and dissected its important themes. Key to the discussion was the music itself. They realized the importance of keeping the listening stations filled with music and oral histories. The story of Latino musicians and artists cannot be told without providing visitors with a way to experience the music. The instruments, the melody, the rhythm, the lyrics—they are important ingredients that define various musical genres. To truly understand the difference and the impact that each has made on other genres one has to be able to listen and compare. Now the hard part began. The team began deciding what to keep and what needed to be taken out. For the most part, they were able to include the same artists as the larger version, but the amount of information on each had to be edited. The influence of Latinos on American’s music has been great, and, unfortunately, the team couldn’t include everyone in the 2,500 square foot exhibit.