Hispanic Heritage Month


From Spanish explorers, to Mexican traders and laborers, to recent Central and South American immigrants, the Kansas City region has deep Latino history. Today, the Latino community is Johnson County’s fastest growing population. National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor the cultures and contributions of Latino Americans across the United States. 

The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is proud to launch a month-long virtual celebration for National Hispanic Heritage Month. Building upon the success of last year’s in-person event, “An Evening of Latino Arts, Music, and Poetry,” and adapting to current gathering restrictions and health protocols, this year’s celebration is moving online. Join the Johnson County Museum and Johnson County’s Fine and Performing Arts Departments in celebrating the rich local Latino history, art, and culture September 15 through October 15.

Bilingual Digital Exhibit - Latinos In The Heartland  | Latinos en el Corazón de los Estados Unidos

September 15- OPENING - Learn more about the history of Latinos in the region in the exhibit, “Latinos in the Heartland | Latinos en el Corazón de los Estados Unidos.” First displayed as a bilingual digital interactive exhibit in 2019 for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), it will be available beginning September 15. View online exhibit.

JOCO Take-Out Challenge!

Food is history. It is culture. And, if is done right, it is art. Johnson County is filled with Latino-owned restaurants. Join us every Wednesday, September 15 through October 14, for a special Hispanic Heritage Month-themed take out challenge. Check out our Facebook page each Wednesday as we feature Latino-owned restaurants, the owners, and special signature dishes offered, then share a pic of your takeout from your favorite Latino-owned restaurant with the hashtag #JoCoTakeOutChallenge.  

El Salvadoreño, The owners chose to locate in Johnson County because it did not have “anything unique and as authentic as the Salvadorean cuisine.” http://salvadorenokc.com

Taco Naco KC, Owners Fernanda and Bryan said they are trying to offer “the best tacos in Johnson County,” including gluten free tacos! www.taconacokc.com

El Pulgarcito, The Ruano family said theirs is a growing Salvadorean restaurant in Merriam. www.orderelpulgarcito.com

Carmens Cocina II, “A little home-cooked Mexican food spot” according to the owners, the Araujo family  www.carmenscocina2.com

Paleterias Tropicana, Jose Luis Valdez and Lucia Fonseca started their family business—now with several stores throughout the region—“from scratch.” Read more about their story here: https://www.paleteriastropicana.com/about 

Museum Latino Collecting Initiative

What does it take to make history in museums? Artifacts, for starters. Artifacts – whether family photos, objects from community clubs and churches, business and cultural ephemera, personal testimonies – give clues to how societies lived and help curators tell stories of the past. When artifacts are missing, the stories cannot be told. 

In an effort to help tell a fuller and more inclusive history of Johnson County, the Johnson County Museum launched the Latino Collecting Initiative. Over the course of its first, the initiative has yielded some fascinating stories that shed light on the diverse experiences of Johnson Countians. Each Friday from September 18 through October 16, the Johnson County Museum will share local stories learned from the first year of the collecting initiative. 

The Latino Collecting Initiative is ongoing. Share your story with us. Who knows, your "stuff" could help us make history! 

Special VIRTUAL Events - Mark Your Calendars!

October 8 - Huascar Medina, Kansas Poet Laureate LIVE performance at 6pm. “May our Voices Ring True”  Poetry creates space where we can discover ourselves, find our place, and revel in beauty and truth. But through poetry, we can also find connection with one another. This presentation will use poetry to help us find our voices, share our words, and discover what truly connects us. “May our voices ring true and may our truth have the grace of beauty.” This is a free program. You must register to receive Zoom link. Register for this program. This is a Humanities Kansas program. Additional funding for this program was provided by the Barton P. and Mary Davidson Cohen Charitable Trust. 

October 15 - Virtual Screening and discussion of “Borderlands,” a moving installment from Art21’s landmark tenth season of the Peabody Award-winning Art in the Twenty-First Century television series—the longest-running television series on contemporary art. This is a free program, but advance registration is required. Link coming soon.

Highlighting Our Community

September 28 | Angela Cervantes

Award-winning children’s author and Kansas native Angela Cervantes reads a selection from her novelization of Disney/Pixar’s Coco.  Give Away: Five lucky people that watch the clip and comment will win a signed copy of the Cervantes’ popular book.

October 5 | Erik Erazo

Erik Erazo shares a unique look at Olathe School District’s Hispanic Leadership Lowrider Bike Club and the high school students seeking to make a difference in our community. 

October 12 | Xánath Caraza 

An exploration of the history and culture of altares, family remembrance displays prepared for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, observed on November 1 each year) with award-winning author, poet, artist, and scholar Xánath Caraza.