Midwest Latino Arts Documentary Heritage Project

Welcome to MidLAD, the Midwest Latino Arts Documentary Heritage Project, a multi-year initiative to locate and preserve primary sources critical to the study of the history of Latino arts and to the understanding of its contribution to American culture and to our communities.

Explore MidLAD

MidLAD is an interactive resource on Latino arts in the Midwestern United States for students, scholars, artists, curators, arts administrators, librarians, and archivists. We seek to build a foundational resource on this topic by sharing our research and encouraging community input to expand our research tools to add important information on artists, arts organizations, and exhibitions that we have not encountered to-date.

Scholars, Students, and Curators will find:

  • A Research Guide to finding and using Latino arts primary sources
  • A chronological overview of Latino arts in the Midwest during the 20th century with a selected bibliography and exhibition lists: Toward the Preservation of a Heritage: Latino Art in the Midwestern United States
  • On-line oral history interviews with Latino artists and arts leaders
  • A directory to primary source collections on Latino arts in the Midwest

Artists and Arts Organizations will find:

  • Information on preservation and management of your files and papers
  • A directory to libraries and archives that collect Latino arts materials
  • A guide to donating your personal or family papers
  • An opportunity to become a MidLAD participant by listing your papers

Librarians and Archivists will find:

  • An opportunity to participate in MidLAD by contributing your collecting policy & collections summary so that potential donors may learn more about your repository
  • A collection development resource that provides a history of Latino artists, arts organizations, and exhibitions in the Midwest throughout the 20th Century
  • A directory to primary sources [MidLAD directory] with field survey results to assist researchers in locating collections as well as librarians and archivists interested in collecting for their institutions

About the Project

With support from The Getty Foundation, this project was developed to help ensure that important primary sources that document Latino art history, culture, and American society are not lost. To that end, a series of summit meetings are held throughout the Midwest region with artists and arts leaders to gather input on the history of Latino arts and the location of private collections of papers that document this history.

Following the summits, preliminary surveys of the papers of artists and arts organizations are conducted with the goal of creating an inventory of collections. Simultaneously, a survey of the collecting policies of libraries and archives is also conducted so that potential donors can be aware of candidate repositories for their materials.

Preservation education is also a critical element of this project and is conducted through preservation workshops and the distribution of information about good records management and how to make the decision to donate your personal or family papers.

While the Institute for Latino Studies’ Julian Samora Library has a growing collection of Midwest artists’ archives and is very interested in collecting these materials (the ILS Library collects personal papers as well as duplicates or copies for its Midwest Artists Vertical Files), we adhere to a cooperative collecting philosophy. That is, our priority is to ensure that potential donors find a home for their materials that is the most appropriate match for them and, equally importantly, a home that will make their papers accessible to their most immediate audience.

On this website the project team shares its findings and research to date. It will be updated with new information and survey results as we can make them available. We welcome your input and submissions of any kind that will help us further document this history and preserve it for future generations. We also extend a sincere thank you to the artists, art historians, and arts organizations that have contributed to our work thus far.

Tracy Grimm,
Archivist and Project Director
Institute for Latino Studies
University of Notre Dame