This week for La Perspectiva, Cafe Con Leche spoke with local artist Maritza Mosquera about her thoughts on the Pittsburgh Latino art scene. Maritza will be curating an art exhibit, Aqui, for Cafe Con Leche's residency at Assemble during the month of July. 

Aqui is an exhibition of works created by Latino artists based in Pittsburgh, they will exude place, belonging and strength of vision.  We will place a focus on the existence of a strong Latino visual arts community here in Pittsburgh.  

How long have you been an artist in Pittsburgh?

I moved here in 1992, so 23 years.

What is it like to be a Latina artist in Pittsburgh?

I consider myself an Artist who is a Latina. This has always been both an easy city and hard city for me as a visual artists. Easy: I can get a great studio where I can make work and not pay an arm and a leg. I worked out of a rollerskating rink in Slippery Rock for 6 years---where else could I've done that; now I have a studio at Mine Factory! Great space. 

Hard:  there is not an array of venues and financial support. Though I have had great financial support from the grant community, local and national, in the past, at present I am barely keeping up with the costs of making my work.

What has been the Latino artist scene Pittsburgh?

Non existent or strong; I think the Artists that I know who are Latinos are strong artists; we support each others work well, but have not identified ourselves as Latino Artists.

What is the Latino artist scene like in Pittsburgh now?

For Visual Artists, it is the same as it has been. I think there are a small group of artists who are Latinos that are making strong work on a continuous basis and will be.  Some opportunities have risen through the rise of Latino population in the city, mostly for musicians. Visual Artists have not experienced that kind support and following yet.

What is your hope for the Latino art scene for the future?

My hope is that it keeps growing and diversifying.  Particular in the Visual and Plastic Arts, we need more galleries, more funding and more focused groups to pay attention to what is going in the Art Community for Latinos and for Pittsburgh. 

How can it get there? 

I really believe that we artists have to keep making work, strong work that is recognized inside and outside the city. I show and teach mostly outside Pittsburgh, so do many Latino artists and we need to have support and venues that bring the work here en-force. I believe this will happen through creating specified funding and support, plus having spaces that are focused on visual work by Pittsburgh based Latino Artists.  I also want to create spaces to talk about the work, to discuss ideas, constructs and the space and time in which we are creating the work.