Lindsey Dunlap and Lilian Aguilar watch “From Monet to Kandinsky,” an immersive experience presented with Spanish narration, at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. (Kristen Murphy, Desert News)
Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY – While Salt Lake resident Maria Elena Romero sat down for an immersive artistic experience on Tuesday, it wasn’t the flower sights or selfies that made her emotional. It was a fact that the show was told in her first language, which is Spanish.
said Romero, a Salvadoran American who grew up on the west side of Salt Lake City. “This inclusiveness and access wasn’t available while you were growing up as a Spanish-speaking Latino Salvadoran student.”
From Monet to Kandinsky is an immersive art gallery that uses narration, music, and digital motion images to guide audiences through the work of the many artists who lived through the Industrial Revolution. It is the first immersive exhibition presented by the Leonardo Museum in Spanish.
Jose Vie Bourgogne, chief consul of Mexico in Salt Lake City, described the decision to present a Spanish narrative for the exhibition as a crucial step in removing barriers to art and culture in Utah.
“We believe that if we show other cultural institutions that we have an audience and we have interest, more people and organizations will adjust programming,” Bourgogne said at a press conference. “This is for the sake of the Spanish-speaking community, and they should make the best use of it.”
Universal Exhibition Group, which creates content for immersive exhibitions all over the world, already had narrative files for “From Monet to Kandinsky” in Spanish. Alexandra Hess, executive director of The Leonardo, said she was fortunate that the files already existed and that presenting this to the public was a decision to show the museum’s commitment to becoming more accessible. The museum plans to offer more resources in Spanish in the future, such as signage and programs.
“You’ll see a lot of that in the coming years,” Hess said. “We also try to make it clear that this programming exists and that it is important to present it in Spanish. We hope to inspire others to do the same as well, so that it becomes more natural for all of us to do so.”
Leonardo is already involved with Artes de México in Artist in Residency which features a new Latin/Spanish artist every month. Program banners in both Spanish and Hispanic speakers are also available to assist visitors during program events every Saturday and Sunday.
Fanny Guadalupe Blauer, CEO of Artes de México, agreed that presenting the exhibition “From Monet to Kandinsky” in Spanish is a great example for other institutions of how to include the state’s largest ethnic community.
“It’s about time,” Blauer said, adding that art has traditionally been seen as an exclusive space that many people see as fanciful or too sophisticated.
“You mentioned Monet or Kandinsky—it’s okay to say I don’t know (who they are). But people immediately make this distinction between that seems complicated, so it doesn’t work for me.” Blower said. “But art is something for everyone. Art is everywhere.”
Salt Lake City Council member Ana Valdemoros encouraged individuals to visit the exhibit, calling it a step forward to show other institutions the need for Spanish resources.
“What an opportunity to learn about modern art,” Valdemoros said in Spanish during the press conference. “We have a very large and diverse community and we are here waiting for opportunities to learn and participate.”
More information, including show times and ticket prices, is Available here.