Football Over Museums

Written by Erick Ramirez

Museums never seem to draw my attention, and I claim that none of this is research based but simply my own life experience as a Hispanic male. This relationship with art and museums is my general feeling. Aside from the occasional exhibit like Yayoi Kusama, I’ve never thought of heading to Washington D.C. to explore and delve into one of the museums. As a kid, field trips there were a great excuse to get out of a day of class, but I was more interested in being outside playing a sport or playing a video game indoors. That has more to do with my nature as an active male, however, as a Latino my lack of interest goes deeper. Latinos are a minority rarely addressed media, be it television, movies, or books. Couple that with the lack of Latino idols touched on in schools, and most of our role models are in sports or music. The likes of Picasso and Frida Kahlo don’t excite kids (like me), and others like Roberto Clemente aren’t enough to allow a connection with kids.

With the likes of Messi, Marta, Selena, and Marc Anthony as bastions for Latino kids, it is no wonder we do not find ourselves interested in the exhibits available in D.C. Latino parents eagerness to have their children do something more beneficial like play a sport or focus in school, and the trend of arts not being seen as a viable way of living and you can understand why our interest as a community is waning. Many parents come here to provide their children with a chance to learn and create better lives than they would have had back home, and instead of instilling a desire for the arts which won’t provide much monetary gain, they instead teach us to value hard work and schooling above everything else.

To be more specific, the socioeconomic nature of museums and their exposure to us as a community is the reason our interest is lacking. Art is seen as a rich man’s hobby, paintings hung up in galleries, and museums like the National Museum of Natural History or the National Air and Space Museum are seen as tourist areas or spaces of times past with all the same information so freely available on the internet. While today’s society is a Neoliberal one that is more interested in buying an experience or feeling than an actual product, I find museums lacking because there is just more to find out there that is exciting, engaging, and beneficial. The Latino community as a whole views time spent with family as important and while museums may seem a good place to do so, the reality is that the disconnect between museums and the community is huge.

Overall, the issue with museums and the Latino community is two-fold in my opinion. One, from my own experience, I was never truly being exposed to art or museums, and what little exposure I had to it seemed to reflect the notion of it being for the those with the money to spend on it. It never interested me because it never seemed FOR me. Second, the lack of connection I had to the arts pushed me further away from it. Aside from Pablo Picasso, I personally cannot confidently name another artist. I do not find myself excited at the idea of viewing these pieces of work, and would much rather spend my time connecting and sharing emotions and experiences in things that I can relate to like a Barcelona football match or Canelo boxing match with my family and friends. What can be done? I believe a need and desire to reach children early on would go a long way to allow connections to build and break the idea that art is for the rich only. For now, my time at museums is reserved for when family is in from out of town or a truly engaging exhibit comes around. 

Featured image courtesy of Joshua Allwood via Unsplash.

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