Josephine S. Talamántez had no idea she had been selected as the recipient of this year 2017 Latino Spirit Award in arts and advocacy by the California Latino Legislative Caucus on May 1 at the state Capitol.
“When I received the call, and when I received the letter I was very shocked, moved but shocked,” said Talamántez, an organizational management and public policy consultant with a specialization in arts, history, historic preservation, cultural resources/programming and public history.
Talamántez, who was born and raise in San Diego’s Logan Heights neighborhood, is the founder and board chair of the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center in San Diego.
She authored Chicano Park’s successful national register nomination and co-authored its national landmark nomination.
“It’s a great honor, but it represents the community that I’ve been serving all this years,” Talamántez said. “People from the Chicano Park steering committee, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, the Chicano Park itself, the artist that I’ve worked with over the years, and the historical preservation community,” Talamántez said. “I am very moved.”
Talamántez currently works in the San Diego area.
“I’ve been up here (Sacramento area) in the north for many years but I recently relocated back to San Diego,” she said.
Talamántez said she had a wonderful experience at the Capitol being recognized for her advocacy work.
“It’s fantastic. They treated us well, with a brunch and walking through the Capitol, it’s beautiful,” Talamántez said.
Talamántez said her passion is “arts, history, and the preservation of cultural resources of the Chicano Latino community.”
“That’s my passion,” she said. “I use arts to preserve the history and the cultural resources of the Chicano Latino community.”
Talamántez also serves on various other boards including board chair of the Capitol Area Indian Resources, and executive director of La Raza/Galería Posada in Sacramento and Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego.
She is also a founding member of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, a national organization, and a member of the Royal Chicano Air Force.
Talamántez also served as an advisor to the California Office of Historic Preservation for the development of the California Latino American Theme Study; is a past executive board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture; and is a former chief of Programs/Legislative Liaison for the California State Arts Council.
Talamántez said people can go and look at the Chicano Park and all the monumental murals because “they tell the history of our community, they tell the history in the iconography and the images and they tell the history of when the community no longer accepted the powers deciding for us without our opinion, what we could have in our community and what we couldn’t have.”
Talamántez said Chicano Park is now listed as a national landmark, which means “our history is in the arsenals of this country, in a positive way.”
María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782