Meztli Gallery opened its doors to the public on Aug. 12 in Pilsen as it acknowledged the highly anticipated book release of “Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology.” Located on the intersection of South Blue Island Avenue and Cullerton Avenue, the event, which was hosted by Proyecto Latina, was well received by local residents, writers, artists, and people from different age groups, who attended the event to support the debut of the literary project.
“We are so thankful to the community of supporters that came out. The energy was amazing and it’s the creative jolt we need to continue doing the work we do as individuals and collectively,” said Diana Pando, co-founder of Proyecto Latina.
Beginning with food, drinks and good vibes, the event continued with a diverse set of sample readings from the writers themselves demonstrating that the anthology was not only a representation of the Latina identity in Chicago’s urban field but also a statement of their continued presence in the Midwest. The book was entirely self published.
Proyecto Latina considers themselves a group of women of color, specifically Latinas, and literary artists, rather than an organization. It was founded approximately seven years ago by a small group of female writers and has now grown into a larger collective of participating members. Primarily, the collective provides a platform for creative expression through the literary arts where the genre tends to vary from submissions of poems, essays, monologues and even to chismes, or gossip. Led by Editor Paloma Martinez-Cruz, the anthology “Rebeldes” was the honored final product that resulted from years of work by the writers of Proyecto Latina. It took a year for the project to be completed.
“I hope that outside of the literary arts,” Pando continued, “people who simply love to read will discover new writers and are encouraged to support these emerging writers in [their] community.”
The book serves as a creative literary blueprint model for other communities to imitate. Although it’s too soon to speculate on the prospects of a second anthology, the creation of this book is significant outside of the arts because it points out the importance of active community work.
The process behind the release of this anthology shows that community involvement is effective and possible from people of all sorts of backgrounds, be it Latina or non-writer alike.
This post is also available in: Spanish