portoluz is currently working on three projects: presenting programs /public events, organizational development, and site acquisition.
portoluz develops public interdisciplinary cultural programs that otherwise enhance our collective understanding of disparate cultural practices and traditions.
In producing programs, portoluz actively seeks curating partners and other academic and institutional collaborators to conceive and develop program content and build diverse audiences. At present, portoluz is presenting a variety of arts and humanities events throughout the metropolitan region.
This year, in a fashion similar to the way we produced WPA 2.0., a brand new deal, portoluz is presenting an overarching thematic framework for its 2013-14 public events and programs.
Old and New Dreams intends to loosely explore themes related to immigration, migrations, exiles and transmutations of borders. Working in a multi-disciplinary context, portoluz will seek to commission new work, collaborate with institutions to bring to Chicago in keynote presentations -the public intellectuals and grassroots organizers who engage the theme through their research and discourse, continue to present seldom screened films and historical ephemera and connect audiences in an interactive and iterative process that helps explore urgent social issues of our time.
Son Jarocho Exchange Project
Like other musical genre of Latin America, son jarocho is characterized by its Indigenous, Spanish-Arabic and African roots, that are credited with developing the style throughout the colonial period, over 350 years ago. Son Jarocho is a traditional musical style of southern Veracruz, a state along the Gulf of Mexico. The term jarocho, originally was coined to refer to people of mixed African descent throughout the mestizaje of indigenous (primarily Huastecan), Spanish, and African populations. Son Jarocho is a fusion of traditional elements of these roots, showcasing participants' passions in music, dance and poetic improvisation, reflecting the population which evolved in the region from Spanish colonial times.
portoluz is working with community partners on a year long international cultural exchange- amplifying the understanding of son jarocho culture and deepening its practice amongst local musicians.
With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, portoluz will send musicians from Chicago to Southern Veracruz Mexico for intensive workshops and immersion in the cultural life that has nurtured the son jarocho genre over centuries. The Seminario is an intensive annual workshop conducted by the Centro de Documentacion del Son Jarocho. For several days participants camp on the banks of the Rio Chiquito, on the island of Tacamichapan.There they experience Son Jarocho in its regional context- live side by side with musicians, dancers, researchers, historians, artisans and connoisseurs of regional culture. The camp is near one of the most important centers of the Olmec culture: San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan.
Throughout the coming year, portoluz will also present these renowned musicians from various communities in Veracruz in Chicago.
Invited musicians include members of the Vega and Utrera families who, in 2012, received one of Mexico's highest honors, the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Arte - the National Prize in Sciences and the Arts for their collective work in preserving and disseminating the son jarocho tradition.
portoluz this major international cultural exchange throughout 2013 as part of it's new year long series Old and New Dreams. Local regional activities that are part of the son jarocho exchange will include; concerts, fandangos, talleres/workshops, and our own Midwest Seminario - a week long immersive cultural and educational course in August. portoluz is indebted to the program committee organizers: Gina Gamboa, Maya Fernandez, Uche Omoniyi, Aasia Mohammad, Jaime Garza, Jacklyn Rodriguez, and Marguerite Horberg and to the principal underwriter of the project, The MacArthur Foundation.
PROJECT: Organizational Development -Building the new organization
portoluz was founded by Marguerite Horberg and incorporated by a group of successful longtime practitioners in the fields of arts, technology and social enterprise who came together after identifying a need for more progressive community-based cultural centers that develop resources and applications for the greater good. portoluz successfully achieved the benchmarks of its start-up phase, from incorporating, to drafting strategic and business plans, recruiting and developing a new board of directors, launching volunteer committees and fundraising. Now the organization is in its second phase of development and focusing on increasing capacity and preparing for facility development.
PROJECT : portoluz Site Acquisition
To date, the organization has organized a site acquisition committee and visited over 85 potential sites. Currently, the board is focused on pre-acquisition activities that will strengthen its abilities to purchase and operate a permanent site.