Mattie Rhodes’ MUJER exhibit celebrates Women’s History Month

The new Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center at 1701 Jarboe Street. Photo courtesy of Mattie Rhodes Center.

During the month of March, Mattie Rhodes Center (MRC) will highlight the amazing, creative accomplishments of strong, determined local Kansas City women. On Friday, March 4, 2022 at 6 p.m., MUJER – translated to woman in English – an art exhibition focused on Hispanic women creatives and makers will be held at the Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center located at 1701 Jarboe St., Kansas City, Mo.

The event will feature art work from area Latina artists, food, live music, and free giveaways and will serve as the soft opening for the new space as it is the first inside MRC’s new Cultural Center.

“The MUJER show is an opportunity to showcase the complex stories of our local Latina women and celebrate all our women artists, writers, poets and icons,” said Jenny Mendez, Mattie Rhodes’ Director of Cultural Arts.

Mendez, a Westside Kansas City native and Kansas City Art Institute alum is considered by many as a pioneer in advancing Hispanic artists and preserving the Mexican culture. She was a board member of the National Association of Latino Artists Coalition, as well as a Mayoral appointee to the Municipal Arts Commission. The Cultural Center is an outgrowth of the Mattie Rhodes Gallery that Mendez co-founded over two decades ago.

The MUJER exhibit will also feature Latina-owned vendors such as Crystal Nieves, founder of the TamaleonKC food truck. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico and mother of three, she bravely opened her business in the middle of the COVID pandemic.

“I found my love of cooking by watching my mother cater to not only our family every Sunday, but to the Historic Northeast KCMO community with Tamales being their most popular item,” Nieves said.

Mariachi Estrella KC will also perform at the soft opening of Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center. The group gave fans at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium a show-stopping performance this past season in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Mariachi is a very male-dominated environment, but now as we have gotten into a more contemporary world, we are proud to see women in mariachi being celebrated,” said Claudia Banda, violinist and backup singer for the group.

The new Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center brings cultural and educational programs to the Westside and Greater Kansas City area and preserves the Mexican culture through the presentation of First Friday art exhibitions focused on the Chicano Movement, MUJER, and MRC’s signature Dia De Los Muertos event.

Founded in 1894, Mattie Rhodes Center enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities in a respectful, multicultural environment.  The agency provides a holistic approach to individual and family well-being through youth services, community support, cultural arts and family services and support. It envisions a community where all people are healthy, safe, and have the resources to thrive.  For more information, please visit www.mattierhodes.org.

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