Devociones y Fe (Devotions and Faith)

May 1-31, 2014

El Tesoro Restaurant

Baltimore, MD

Curated by Michelle Ivette Gomez in collaboration with Baltimore's Latino communities for her MFA in Curatorial Practice Thesis at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)


Produced in partnership with Maryland Traditions, the Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, and the The Latino Providers Network, Inc. (LPN), Devociones y Fe (Devotions and Faith) was a series of programs and a co-creative exhibition featuring loaned objects, artworks, and oral histories that investigated how Latinos express faith and devotion through spiritual traditions, and how those spiritual traditions create a sense of belonging within the Upper Fells Point and Highlandtown neighborhoods—the centers of Baltimore’s growing Latino communities. This exhibition was a result of intensive fieldwork, one-on-one interviews, and surveys within the community.

On view May 1-31 st, 2014, this exhibition featured a collection of altars, devotional objects, newly created paintings, and sculptures loaned by a diverse group of Latino residents, businesses owners and community leaders. Devociones y Fe took place in the family-run El Tesoro Restaurant (The Treasure) located on South Broadway in the heart of the community, making it accessible to the people that informed it.

Listening stations featuring snippets of oral histories were located at each dining table alongside bilingual wall texts featuring quotes from the oral histories about each object. In addition, Devociones y Fe featured two short documentaries that Michelle produced about devotion and faith expressed through dance and processions, and one documentary preview produced by community artist Maria Gabriela Aldana Enriquez about the tradition and religious history of piñatas and posadas.


Devociones y Fe Programming included:

  • An opening reception at the El Tesoro Restaurant, which included over 200 guests from the Latino community, MICA and the greater Baltimore community!
  • “Neighborhood Walk: Altars on S. Broadway & Eastern Ave”, a tour and series of conversations with Latino business owners to learn about their histories, traditions and altars.
  • “Discussing Latino Identity at MICA”, a private discussion with MICA Latino students to learn about their experiences, connect them to the Latino community outside of MICA, and figure out ways to advise MICA on how to better engage and support Latino students.
  • “Working with Latino Communities in Baltimore”, a lecture and panel discussion in conjunction with the Latino Providers Network Inc., The Creative Alliance, Casa de Maryland, and MICA Graduate Students: Michelle Gomez, Tanya Garcia and Edgar Reyes to talk about best practices, resources and the importance of the Latino voice in creative community projects.
  • “Closing Roundtable Discussion with Maryland Traditions”, a final celebration and discussion with exhibition participants in order to evaluate the project and connect Latino individuals to the Latino Providers Network Inc. and Maryland Traditions.
  • A private tour and discussion with Powell Recovery patients who are recovering from addiction.
  • A panel discussion about spiritual traditions at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival in The Creative Alliance featuring artist, Yesenia Mejia and dancer/musician, Carlos Gutierrez from Danza Guadalupana.


(Devotions and Faith) 

Exhibition on view May 1-31, 2014 at El Tesoro Restaurant

219 S. Broadway Baltimore, MD

Design and Branding for "Devociones y Fe" by Julian Haddad

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"Neighborhood Walk" Program. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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Design and Branding for "Devociones y Fe" by

Julian Haddad.
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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. Photograph by Julian Haddad.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014 (Alexandra Gonzalez-Uroza giving a demonstration on her spiritual traditions). Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang. 

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014 (Catering by El Tesoro Restaurant outside). Photograph by Julian Haddad.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014.

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014. This is the family who owns El Tesoro Restaurant: Adiel Reyes, Adiel Reyes II, Jessica Reyes and Ashley Reyes

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014 (Me with cascarones made by one of the participants- hollowed out eggs filled with confetti that are crushed over a recipients head during special Holidays.)

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Opening Reception May 1, 2014 (Me with cascarones made by one of the participants- hollowed out eggs filled with confetti that are crushed over a recipients head during special Holidays.)
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"Neighborhood Walk" Program May 4, 2014.

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"Neighborhood Walk" Program May 4, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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"Neighborhood Walk" Program May 4, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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"Neighborhood Walk" Program May 4, 2014. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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"Closing Roundtable Discussion" Program with partners and collaborators of "Devociones y Fe" May 29, 2014.

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"Working With Latino Communities in Baltimore" Program May 8, 2014 at MICA.

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"Working With Latino Communities in Baltimore" Program May 8, 2014 at MICA. Photograph by Xiotian Yang.

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"Working With Latino Communities in Baltimore" Program May 8, 2014 at MICA.

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Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival Program, "Devociones y Fe Narrative Stage" June 14, 2014  at The Creative Alliance.

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Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival Program, "Devociones y Fe Narrative Stage" June 14, 2014 featuring artists Carlos Gutierrez and Yesenia Mejia at The Creative Alliance.

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Special Acknowledgements


Thank you to all those who made this project possible through their collaborative efforts, mentorship, guidance, and support during my time in the MFA Curatorial Practice program at MICA 2012-2014.


Thank you to the business owners, residents, artists, and community leaders who contributed their objects, artwork, and/or oral history to the exhibit:

Maria Gabriela Aldana
Bailes de Mi Tierra

Botanica Chango´

El Tesoro staff: Jessica Reyes, Adiel Reyes, Adiel Reyes II

Padre Orlando González

Carlos Gutierrez

Ignacio Herrera

Karla Joubert

Kate Learson

Francisco Loza

Macario Matias

Ronald Mejia

Yesenia Mejia

Norma Morales

Bishop Angel Nuñez

Aida Ramirez

Nico Ramos

Alexandra Gonzalez Uroza

Padre Roberto Wojtek


Project Assistants:

Julian Haddad, Graphic Design and Branding

Elizabeth Lily, Writing

Christopher Beer, Exhibition Design


MICA MFA Curatorial Practice:

George Ciscle, Director

Marcus Civin, Professor

MFA Curatorial Practice class of 2014 and 2015


My Thesis Review Committee:

Clifford Murphy, Former Director of Maryland Traditions

Michelle Stefano, Program Director of Maryland Traditions

Ashley Minner, Community artist and scholar

Angelo Solera, Former Director of The Latino Providers Network


My Thesis Advisors:

Emily Blumenthal

Jeremy Hoffman

John Lewis


Organizational Partners:

Maryland Traditions, Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council

The Latino Providers Network, Inc.

The Creative Alliance

Casa de Maryland

Somos Baltimore Latino

MICA


Special thanks to: Anthony Lee Summers

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