Open Doors is an outreach initiative of the Mexican Cultural Institute that aims to create alliances with community organizations, museums, and cultural institutions in New York to bring the Mexican community closer to the city’s most emblematic cultural centers by giving free access to concerts and cultural events, as well as provide guided tours in Spanish for a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The pilot project began in 2017 with the exhibition "Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican painter of the Baroque" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and continued in 2018 with group visits to the exhibition "Painted in Mexico," also at The Met, and later with the exhibition “Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Thus far, Open Doors has approached 28 community organizations and has given access to more than 400 people, from kids to senior citizens.
With a general survey given at the beginning of each visit during the pilot project, it was determined that for 80 percent of the participants this was the first time visiting a museum. Additionally, studies have shown that only 9 percent of museum’s visitors in the US are from Latino heritage. These numbers show the urgency of a program that addresses these issues.
The long-year program has an educational profile, which enables families to enjoy the endless cultural and art scenes in New York. A key aspect of the program Open Doors is to reach the growing number of events that are addressing Mexican and Latino art and heritage. The content of the exhibitions and events directly resonate among the attendees, which reinforces the community’s sense of belonging and cultural legacy. Correspondingly, Open Doors also supports the partnering institutions by building a bridge to reach new publics.
In the present climate of polarization and overt discrimination, Open Doors allows paths for diversity, inclusion, education, and enjoyment. Estimates deem that the Mexican community in the Tri-State area is comprised of more than one million people. Taking this into consideration, this year, the Institute wishes to expand its outreach so more people from this communities are able to see and enjoy the 2019 visual arts, film, and music programs offered in the five boroughs. Both, museums and communities have already opened their doors, we just need help to let them in.