Saturday, November 28, 2020

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Viva Mestizo


Renato Olmedo-González with Nadia Rea Morale’s Zacuanpapalotls

Renato Olmedo-González, the new director and curator at Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts, remembers life in Jalisco growing up with centuries of culture and public art. “I grew up with Mexican culture everywhere around me. It shaped me as a child,” says the lanky and serious University of Utah graduate.

“I’ve always loved and appreciated artists—but I’m not an artist. I really don’t like to do things with my hands,” Olmedo-González says seriously.

Still, Mexico’s tremendous cultural heritage, nor even art in general, ever made much of an impression on him until he immigrated to Utah with his mother. As a student at Taylorsville High School—not exactly a center for Latino cultural scholarship—Olmedo-González needed to fill his class schedule and reluctantly took an elective in art history.

“I fell in love with art,” Olmedo-González recalls. “And I immediately found myself attracted to Mexican art. You learn about yourself through art. I learned my history.”

The high school’s superficial art-history course, which spent a day on muralists (Diego Rivera!) and a only few minutes on surrealist Frida Kahlo, spun Olmedo-González’s head around and left him hungry. He graduated from the U of U in spring 2014 with degrees in Latin American Studies and Art History.

As a university student, Olmedo-González connected with the city’s vibrant Latino art community through helping on the Artes de Mexico en Utah’s ¡Viva Frida! exhibit. Some of Utah’s leading Latino artists, including curator, contemporary artist and DJ Jorge Rojas, mentored him. “I’ve learned so much from Jorge; fortunately, he’ll be continuing to mentor me at Mestizo,” Olmedo-González says. “I plan on growing with this opportunity.”

Olmedo-González, aware of his inexperience, is throwing energy into leading the Institute’s gallery. “Mestizo is very important to this community. My goal is to make Mestizo even more respected.”

Many of Utah’s immigrants were forced here by economic necessity, he explains. As the parents work long hours and the children enter American schools, they lose touch with their culture. “Soon the kids have no clue who they are. Pancho Villa, Zapata? They have no idea. But they yearn for Mexico,” he says. “They aren’t accepted here, yet they don’t know anything about where they’ve come from.”

Olmedo-González’s first curation project opened earlier this spring with two mixed media installations, Pentz’s Ithaka 12 and Rea Morales’ Zacuanpapalotls. Both installations explore cultural migration, memory and transformation—through the Monarch butterfly that migrates between United States and Mexico, a trip that takes place over three to four generations.

“Mestizo’s a space not just for art but for discussion of social justice and inclusion,” Olmedo-González says. “It represents a community that is under-represented.” And by that, he doesn’t just mean the Latino community. Mestizo explores through art the beauty and challenges of all marginalized cultures, including gay.

“Art makes you want to get up and change things,” Olmedo-González says. “It can start a conversation that people don’t want to have, but when they are forced to have it—it’s good.”

Coffee, Tea or Culture

Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts began in 2003 to enrich and celebrate Utah’s many cultures. Since then it has injected vibrancy into Salt Lake’s art scene. Despite its awe-inspiring name, MICA is one of the state’s least-intimidating art galleries; its space on 631 West North Temple is shared with its namesake coffeehouse. Yet, the institute has set a Quixotic goal to connect Salt Lake’s dominant culture and its emerging immigrant communities. Its related programs include Mestizo Arts & Activism Collective, a leadership program for Westside youth in collaboration with University Neighborhood Partners and NeighborWorks Salt Lake. 631 W. North Temple, 801-596-0500,

A holiday letter from our editor, Mary Brown Malouf:⁠

"It’s the season for celebration. And let’s face it—it was a bad year for cheer. Nevertheless, though masked and socially distanced, we will join together again this year in love and joy for one another. We will clink glasses, feast, toast to a better future and enjoy what we have, taking care to live in the moment. Remembering the good times in the midst of the not-so-good and pledging to support one another."⁠

Have a wonderful and safe holiday. Cheers! 🥂⁠

To read the full letter, go to the link in bio.

Happy Friday! We all know the best way to celebrate the end of the week is with a cocktail 😉! ⁠

🍸 And our next highlighted cocktail is the perfect way to start your weekend. @alibislc's 'Far From The Tree' by Clif Reagle:⁠

1.5 oz. @shdistillery Bourbon⁠
1.5 oz. Utah Honey and Akane Apple Shrub⁠
.25+ oz. @waterpocketdistillery Snow Angel .25 oz. lemon juice⁠
Barspoon of simple syrup⁠
2 dashes Regans Orange Bitters⁠
Combine in shaker over ice, shake and strain into a footed glass. Serve with dried apple garnish.⁠

“My goal for this drink was to make it with as many local ingredients as possible,” says Reagle, “and seeing as the farm scene is pretty quiet in November I decided to go with a classic method of fruit preservation: the shrub.⁠

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂⁠

Link in bio to vote and learn more about Clif Reagle!

Yes. Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. So instead of stressing out to prepare a meal, help support local restaurants who need our love this Thanksgiving. 🦃⁠

Restaurants are doing what they can to make this Thanksgiving seamless for us. With offerings of curbside pick up, meal kits, and even delivery, ordering out this Thanksgiving seems like a no-brainer.⁠

Oh and did we mention no family-sized mess to clean up afterward? That’s a win-win in our book. 😉 Check the link in bio for full list of restaurants. 🍽️

Don't forget to vote in our 2020 Cocktail Contest!! 🍸🍹🥂⁠

Our next highlighted coktail is @thecopperonion's “Not Today Satan” by Frank Mealy:⁠

1.5 oz. @shdistillery Bourbon⁠
1.5 oz. pear shrub (Champagne Vinegar/Earl Grey simple 2:1)⁠
.75 oz. lemon juice⁠
Preheat glass with hot water. Mix ingredients, pour into the hot glass, top with hot water and garnish with cinnamon stick, star anise and dried pear.⁠

Mealy is a full-time bartender for the Copper Group. “Inspiration for this drink came from the expectation that we’re going to be running our outdoor patio season longer because of Covid.” People are more comfortable sitting outside, Mealy says, “So I wanted to make a hot drink for the colder months.”⁠

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂⁠

Link in bio to vote and learn more about Frank Mealy!

Our 2020 Cocktail Contest is live!! 🍸🍹🥂

We’ll be highlighting our cocktail contest contestants throughout the next few weeks. Starting with @takashi_slc’s “Red Dirt Garden” by Crystal Daniels:

- 1.5 oz. Amaro Bilaro
- .5 oz. @shdistillery Barrel-strength Rye
- .75 oz. Lemon juice
- 1 oz. Red rice orgeat made with @redbuttegarden botanicals
- Pinch of Jacobsen Salt from @caputosmarket

Daniels garnished her cocktail with banana leaves and an edible begonia- if you can’t get the begonia, another colorful edible bloom will do. 🌺

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂

Link in bio to vote!

Did you know that the first woman to cast a ballot in the United States voted right here in Salt Lake City?

In 1870, on her way to work as a schoolteacher, Seraph Young stopped by SLC’s old City Hall—right across from the Capitol—and made history as the first woman to vote under a women's equal suffrage law.

Like many of us, Young voted early in that election simply because she had to get to work on time. Her story reminds us of the power ordinary people have to make history. Now, get out and vote!

Photo: Ron Fox

Our November-December issue is on stands now!!⁠

And our annual cocktail contest is open for voting! Take all precautions, support our hardworking hospitality community and remember to smile. 🍹🍸🧉⁠

Pick up a magazine, grab a cocktail and vote! Happy November, everyone! ⁠

Check the link in bio to vote.

Trick or treat? COVID cases are getting scary.

111K confirmed cases and 601 deaths in Utah.

Link in bio for a little op-ed on face masks. 😷

Here in Utah, we live on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute Tribes. Today we celebrate the people who first called this land home. We remember the struggles and tragedies they endured and recognize the fight for justice and autonomy that Indigenous Peoples still face. ⁠

Go to the link in bio to give to Diné Bikéyah and support Bears Ears. 🏜️

Last night’s vigil for Breonna Taylor. ...