Giving wings to Hispanics in South Carolina

The work of renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín has been displayed all over the world—Mexico City, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Sacramento. But our stop today is in Greenville, South Carolina, where UnidosUS Affiliate Hispanic Alliance has collaborated with the City of Greenville, the Mexican Consulate, and Bank of America to fund and organize Wings of the City.

By Aida Cardenas, Affiliate Engagement Specialist, UnidosUS

When you think of Greenville, South Carolina, your immediate thought may not be diversity. However, in the past 20 years, Greenville has seen dramatic population shifts.

The Latino population in 2000 was a mere 3.42% according to that year’s census, but it has more than doubled every 10 years. The 2020 census revealed Greenville is now home to nearly 50,000 Latinos—9.5% of the total population.

With such an explosion of Hispanics in the community, it has been critical to elevate and celebrate the diversity and accomplishments of Latinos, and our Affiliate Hispanic Alliance has been leading the way.

The Hispanic Alliance’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is full of cultural events featuring movies, art, music, speakers, and more. They also feature stories from within the community.

For this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, Hispanic Alliance brought new and beautiful work to celebrate Latinos. In collaboration with the City of Greenville, the Mexican Consulate, and Bank of America, they brought Wings of the City to Greenville this summer, “the first temporary exhibit displayed in public places in Greenville and this is the first time art is installed in Falls Park, the crown jewel of our beautiful city,” writes Adela Mendoza, Executive Director of Hispanic Alliance, in an op-ed in The Post and Courier Greenville.

“This is a new collective experience, and it can feel like a big change—even if impermanent. This is also the first time a Mexican artist is exhibiting his work in our region in such a monumental way, literally. That is a more enduring change…one that honors our community’s transformation and our desire to embrace it,” Mendoza added in the Greenville Journal.

It is, as well, the first time Jorge Marín’s work has been on display in the East coast of the United States. His monumental bronze statues invite Greenville residents to gather in outside, public spaces after a difficult year following the start of the pandemic.

Wings of the City has also been part of Greenville’s Vision 2025, to utilize art to fuel community conversations, dialogue, and positive change. Considering the more than 47,000 visits, and more than 900 posts by visitors in the past five months, Hispanic Alliance and its partners know this exhibit has been a success.

Follow Hispanic Alliance on Facebook and Instagram to see more images of Wings of the City and feel inspired during Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month.

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adela mendoza

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