“We want to create a buzz around all the great things that are happening at Whittier College,” said Lozano.
And rightly so; Lozano, a Grammy-winning flautist, is the host of the long-running Inside Latin Jazz series at Whittier. Founded in 2009, this one-of-a-kind series brings world-renowned artists in the genre to the stage of the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts.
“As a Hispanic Serving Institution, we need to increase awareness among Latinx communities in Southern California and beyond about the various programs offered at Whittier and about our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Lozano. “Via the Center, we also intend to develop Afro-Latino connections within the curriculum and our programming.”
Through community outreach, partnerships, and programming the Center’s ultimate goal is to support the success of Whittier College students.
“We want to use what living in the greater Los Angeles community can offer us to provide our students experiential opportunities in the arts,” added LeVelle. “The idea is to have a center where we can develop partnerships with arts and culture organizations that are in our community, relationships that work both ways.”
“We want to create artistic and professional outlets for our students, but we also want to become a place where Latinx artists can come and be a part of our community–a place for fluid interaction between our students, professors, and artists,” she added.
Funding for the Center is coming from the Scott Grant, which provides $40,000 a year for the next five years.
Lozano and LeVelle will be collaborating with other faculty in the music department as well as theatre, film, art, modern languages, and English. They also hope to work with offices across campus including the Center for Engagement with Communities, the Office of Alumni Relations, the Center for Career and Professional Development, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion, among others.
The Center has lofty goals for the next five years including archiving projects, developing community partnerships and an advisory board, creating student fellowships and internships, bringing artists to campus, and much more.
Over the next two years, the Center aims to undertake the following activities to solidify its foundation:
- Digitizing and archiving past performances within the Library’s Poet Commons database including Inside Latin Jazz performances and Latin American Performance Experience workshops .
- Student fellowships (four): the students will work on the archiving project and on creating two marketing packages that can be shared with potential donors and partners .
- Establish a CLLAAC Latinx alumni mentorship program .
- Creating partnerships with area institutions and programs.
- On-campus connections.
- Latinx Speaker Series.
- Latin Arts & Culture Podcast Project.
In addition, Lozano and Levelle are developing a professional advisory board that will guide and support the Center, aiding in its long-term sustainability. The board members will also help create networking, internships, and job opportunities for students and serve as guest speakers in classes and special programs on campus.
“Our people are tremendously creative, but no one tells them ‘your art is great, your music is fantastic, your theatre is great,” said Lozano. “We want to validate the work created by Latinx artists. I think we are in the right place at the right time to be able to do that.”