Nicolás Kanellos, director of Arte Público Press, delivers the opening lecture held in conjuction with Arte Público Press and the Legacy of Latino Publishing in the U.S., the newest exhibition on display in the UA Main Library.
Kanellos, founding publisher of the noted Hispanic literary journal The Americas Review (formerly Revista Chicano-Riqueña), established Arte Público Press in 1979. As that nation’s oldest and largest non-profit publisher of literature of U.S. Hispanic authors, Arte Público Press showcases Hispanic literary activity, arts, and culture. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the customs, characters and themes unique to Hispanic culture in the United States.
In his ongoing efforts to bring Hispanic literature to mainstream audiences, Kanellos also initiated the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project, started in 1992 by Arte Público Press. This ten-year multimillion-dollar project represents the first coordinated, national attempt to recover, index and publish lost Latino writings that date from the American colonial period through 1960.
In 2011 the University Libraries purchased the electronic database of the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project. Funded through the Dick & Susan Imwalle Library Endowment, the Arch & Laura Brown Library Endowment, and with support from the UA department of Spanish and Portuguese, the database makes available historical content pertaining to U.S. Hispanic history, literature and culture. The database is searchable in Spanish and English and the majority of the collection is in Spanish.