Chicano Humanities and Arts Council opens new gallery in Lakewood

Their first exhibit, titled ‘A Journey Through Generations’, pays homage to Alicia Cardenas, who was killed last year.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – At a Lakewood gallery, it’s not just about the art on the walls, it’s about the walls themselves.

“This is our first show, we’re back, we’ve been brick and mortar free for about two years,” said Rebecca Rozales, artist and board member of the Chicano Humanities and Arts Councilknown as CHAC.

The CHAC was born out of need in 1978, according to Jerry Jaramillo, artist and co-founder.

“Because there was nothing in Denver we could get into,” Jaramillo said. “It was all contemporary art and even different places like the Denver Art Museum didn’t want us there, they’re saying no, it’s not legit, Chicano art isn’t legit.”

Jaramillo has seen the change, but the struggle to have their art seen continues with the next generation.

“We have been kicked out of our home for many years and we will still move forward,” said Jay Michael Jaramillo, Jerry’s son.

During the pandemic, CASC could no longer afford the rent for the Santa Fe location where they had been for two decades.

RELATED: The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Presents: CHUCAS Y CHUCOS

Without space for years, they still showed their art in other galleries and continue these partnerships today.

The first exhibition in their space in the 40 West Arts District in Lakewood is called “A Journey Through the Generations,” and Chicano and Latino parents and children show off their art side by side.

“It’s our heritage as a community,” said Jay Jaramillo. “Pass it on to the next generation.”

The exhibit is in honor of CASC member Alicia Cardenas, who came up with the idea for multi-generational exhibits.

Cardenas, artist and owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo, was killed in a shooting in Lakewood and Denver just after Christmas in 2021.

RELATED: Alicia Cardenas Was a ‘Broadway Mom’ in Denver

“We rallied around his vision and we maintain it,” said Jay Jaramillo. “It doesn’t stop there, it won’t stop any time soon, so you know CASC will be here to stay – we’ve proven it.”

Because of racism, rising costs and deaths in the community, CASC remains.

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