From the beginnings of the colonization of the United States, Latino art - including theater, film, music, dance, painting, sculpture, and other modes of artistic expression - has been a creative and physical presence in the Southwest, southern Florida, and much of California - a presence that now reaches every part of the United States. Despite this, Latino artists have often fought against negative stereotypes and discrimination, from the silver screen to the art studio, sometimes opting to change their names so as not to draw attention to their Latino roots. However, numerous Latino artists - such as actress and producer Salma Hayek and singer Gloria Estefan - have been able to use their talents and prestige in order to promote projects that focus on and promote Latino culture, concerns, and history. "Latinos in the Arts" traces the accomplishments of 178 performing and visual artists. Whether an individual was born in the United States or emigrated from such countries as Mexico, Cuba, Spain, or numerous other Central and South American nations, each Latino profiled has made significant contributions to art in the United States.
Although the geographical diversity among Latino artists is great, certain themes, such as religious imagery and the struggle for social justice, often appear and reappear in these artists' creative works. A bibliography directs the reader to sources for further information about Latino Americans and the arts. One subject index divides entries by area of expertise, such as cartoonist and printmaker. Additional indexes also organize subjects by the decade of their birth and by their ethnicity or country of origin. Many black-and-white photographs of the artists, often in the midst of their craft, enhance the text throughout this insightful volume.