Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors See Art and Culture in Action

June 23, 2009
News Release

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After a competitive application process, 19 graduating seniors have been selected to participate in the Young Ambassadors program, a national leadership-development program created by the Smithsonian Latino Center. From June 21 to June 27, students will participate in a cultural enrichment program that includes visits to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Organization of American States’ Art Museum of the Americas and various Smithsonian units and museums. They will also meet writer Marie Arana, artist Pepón Osorio and filmmaker Carlos Sandoval in various activities and programs scheduled throughout the week. On completion of the program, the Young Ambassadors will return to their hometowns to complete a four-week internship at a museum or cultural organization.

“One of the goals of this program is to present a range of career options and resources for youth interested in art and culture,” said Eduardo Diáz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center. “The Latino community is incredibly creative, and we want to foster that talent to develop the next generation of curators in Latino art, museum directors and artists. The Smithsonian Institution, with all its resources and wide-ranging disciplines, is the perfect environment to develop that interest.”

The Young Ambassadors program encourages participants to examine their Latino identity and embrace their cultural heritage through firsthand observation of the Smithsonian’s Latino collections and behind-the-scenes tours with Smithsonian experts. The participants represent 11 states and Puerto Rico, and each will complete the program with an internship at one of the following organizations:

  • Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, Calif.
  • Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, San Francisco
  • Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami
  • National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Scottsdale Public Art, Scottsdale, Ariz. 
  • National Museum of the American Indian – George Gustav Heye Center, New York City
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
  • Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio
  • Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Houston
  • National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
  • Smithsonian Latino Center, Washington, D.C. 

The 2009 Young Ambassadors class includes aspiring photographers, filmmakers, muralists and performance artists that believe in the power of art to transform communities and positively impact society. In addition to their academic achievements, Young Ambassadors have demonstrated active civic responsibility and community service. The program has been made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

“This is the second year Ford has participated in this program, and we are continually amazed at the talent and diversity this program attracts. Ford is proud to support this program because we believe in the ability of the arts to transform, educate and inspire,” said Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, which is the program underwriter.

The Smithsonian Latino Center is a division of the Smithsonian Institution that ensures Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the United States and internationally. For more information about the Young Ambassadors program and the Smithsonian Latino Center go to

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Noralisa Leo

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