The Evergreen State College Library | Chicano/Latino Archive

Guide to the Archive

Pat Matheny-White
with the assistance of Sid White



The Chicano/Latino Archive is a research and teaching resource focusing on Chicano and Latino art and culture in the Pacific Northwest, and is a major outcome of a research and exhibit planning project that was carried out under the sponsorship of The Evergreen State College in 1982, with funding support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The purpose of the NEH grant, titled Chicano Cultural Expression in the Pacific Northwest, was to gather information on a largely invisible regional community, and to make that community visible to the larger public through the exhibition of art expressive of the identity and culture of that community. Primarily focused on field research and planning for a touring exhibition, the project resulted in the acquisition of a significant body of culturally expressive materials, which have been organized into the archive. This ground breaking work resulted in the development of a comprehensive region-wide photographic survey of Chicano/Latino murals; a major collection of posters (currently on tour); a survey of artists living in Washington, Oregon and Idaho resulting in the collection of slides and other documentation; and the preparation and presentation of new information on the history and culture of the Northwest Chicano community.

Project Participants

The Chicano Cultural Expression in the Pacific Northwest project was developed by Sid White, member of the Evergreen faculty and director of the college exhibits program, as a part of the Evergreen Galleries Art and Cultural Diversity Program. White served as grant writer and project director. Evergreen faculty Librarian Pat Matheny-White was research director. Working closely with White and Matheny-White, as key participants in the project, were two noted Chicano scholars, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto of Stanford University and Erasmo Gamboa of the University of Washington. Serving as consultants for the project, helping to assure accuracy and authenticity, were Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, University of Washington; Antonia Castañeda, University of California, Davis; Pedro Rodríguez, Washington State University, and Roberto Maestas, El Centro de La Raza, Seattle.

Project Materials

The majority of materials in the Chicano/Latino Archive were gathered in 1982 and used during the course of the initial research and planning project, with additional materials added as other related projects were developed in the following years. Most of the materials in the archive were acquired for the NEH project through field research in social service agencies, schools, at festivals, in people's homes and in artist's studios.

Published Project Descriptions

White and Matheny-White report a full account of the field research process in an article in the 1982/1983 issue of Metamorfosis: Northwest Chicano Magazine of Art and Literature. This publication, a special issue highlighting research materials from the NEH project, featured two articles, "The Other Northwesterners," by Erasmo Gamboa and "Chicano/Latino Artists: A Regional Overview," by Sid White and Pat Matheny-White. Contributions by Metamorfosis editor Lauro Flores were: "Pablo O'Higgins: Pintura y Cambio Social," "Los Textos Visuales de Paul Berger," and interviews with regional artists Arturo Artorez, Carlos Contreras, and José Orantes. This was the first full and substantive report on contemporary Northwest Chicano/Latino art and artists to appear in print.

Project Results

Two significant products resulting from the NEH project, developed by Pat Matheny-White, were Bibliography of Chicano/Latino Art and Culture in the Pacific Northwest and Bibliography of Chicano/Latino Art and Culture: National and International Perspectives. These bibliographies index a wide range of formats of materials that are contained in the archive. Included in the bibliographies is a detailed listing of the posters and slides of the murals. The bibliographies also index materials that are not in the archive, but are readily available in regional libraries.

Later Project Additions

In 1984 important new materials were added to the archive in connection with Chicano and Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest, a touring exhibition and catalog project that was produced at The Evergreen State College with grant funding provided by the Washington State Arts Commission, the Washington Commission for the Humanities, the King County and Spokane Arts Commissions, and the Idaho Commission for the Arts. This project built directly on the networking and other research and planning resources that had been developed during the NEH project. Sid White served as director and curator for this project, working closely with key participants and consultants Pat Matheny-White, Erasmo Gamboa, Lauro Flores and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto. The Chicano and Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest exhibition featured five interpretive panels (now in the archive) presenting images and commentary on Northwest Chicano history and art. Works by nine regional contemporary artists were presented in the exhibit: Cecilia Alvarez, Alfredo Arreguín, Arturo Artorez, Paul Berger, Eduardo Calderón, José E. Orantes, José Reynoso, José Luís Rodríguez, Rubén Trejo.

Project Outcomes

A lasting outcome of the project is the exhibition catalog, which was designed, along with the interpretive panels, to provide a historical context for the exhibit. This 48-page catalog includes four illustrated essays, a section providing biographical information on the exhibiting artists, photos of the artists and their work, and a bibliography developed by Pat Matheny-White. The catalog essays provide the first published historical overview of Chicano/Latino art and culture in the region: "A Two Hundred Year Presence: Chicano and Other Latin American Artists in the Pacific Northwest," by Lauro Flores, "A Social Portrait: Chicano and Latino People of the Pacific Northwest," by Erasmo Gamboa, "Chicano Culture: Everyday Life in the Pacific Northwest," by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, and "A Regional Overview: Chicano and Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970's and 1980's," by Sid White and Pat Matheny-White. Two distinguished art historians reviewed catalog manuscripts with expertise on Chicano and Latino art, Shifra Goldman and Victor Sorell.

Hablamos: We Speak Chicano Poster Exhibit

The Chicano/Latino Archive continues to grow. In 1987 Tomás Ybarra-Frausto was invited to develop a new exhibition of Chicano posters drawing from the original collection that had been assembled in 1982. Ybarra-Frausto added new contemporary posters, most of them from California, and wrote interpretive commentary for a Washington Commission for the Humanities funded touring exhibition. Hablamos: We Speak, Chicano Posters has been circulated around the State, and beyond, for the past four years by Exhibit Touring Services. On loan from the archive, the poster exhibition has been shown since 1988 to 73,000 viewers in 39 galleries and museums in the Pacific Northwest region and beyond.

Recent Acquisitions

The most recent acquisitions to the archive are a gift of a reproduction of her painting, Las Cuatas, by Cecilia Alvarez, and nine limited edition prints that were donated to the archive by the Wight Art Gallery of the University of California, Los Angeles, in connection with the national touring exhibition, Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA). Sid White was a member of the planning committee for this exhibit. The UCLA donation to the archive was made in recognition of the archive's status as the regional repository of documentation on Chicano art in the Pacific Northwest. Evergreen's Chicano/Latino Archive is a valuable research and teaching resource that has much potential for further development.

Holdings of the Chicano/Latino Archive

The organization of the archive is based on formats used in conducting field research on Chicano and Latino art in the Pacific Northwest. The two major categories used were public art (which includes murals, posters, and popular culture) and personal artistic expression.

Public Cultural and Artistic Expression


The archive contains the only photographic collection of Chicano murals in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1982, over 85 Chicano murals have been identified and photo-documented in the Pacific Northwest region. Most of them were found indoors in social service agencies, with the largest number located in El Centro de La Raza in Seattle and the former Colegio Cesar Chavez in Mt Angel, Oregon. A major accomplishment of the NEH grant project was to provide funds for Bob Haft (then Slide Curator at The Evergreen State College Library) to photograph these murals. The major murals in the region (23) have been documented in 4 x 5 color negative format. However, a larger number of 35 mm slide copies in the archive make the mural documentation more accessible. In the years following the initial documentation project, a few new murals have been produced and have been recorded in 35mm slide format. Included in the collection are slides of murals produced in the Northwest by members of the RCAF (Royal Chicano Air Force), a group of well known artists in California, who had a direct influence on the early mural production in this region. The photographic and slide collection also includes documentation of works by Emilio Aguayo and Daniel DeSiga, two leading Northwest Chicano muralists.

Slide Formatted Information in the Archive

Most of the information in the archive on murals is in slide format. Two thirds of the 300 slides document Pacific Northwest murals; the remainder are of national/international origins. The majority of the murals outside of the region are from California. There are 31 publications in the archive describing Chicano/Latino murals on a national/international level. Additional materials not in the archive are indexed in the Bibliography of Chicano/Latino Art and Culture: National and International Perspectives. Much broader access to sources of information on Chicano art (including murals) is available in a major publication, Arte Chicano: A Comprehensive Bibliography of Chicano Art, 1965-1981, compiled by Shifra Goldman and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.


Housed in the archive (or on exhibit) is an extensive collection of approximately 150 posters. Such well-known Chicano artists as Malaquias Montoya and Rupert Garcia produced some of these posters. Themes and issues of importance to the Chicano community are well represented in the collection. These include concerns of farm workers, educational opportunity, the representation of cultural heroes, and concerns of women, las chicanas. Beginning in 1982 the initial collection of posters was displayed at Cinco de Mayo and MEChA sponsored events at Evergreen, and was also exhibited at federally sponsored cultural awareness programs around the State of Washington. Framing, for a selection from the original collection, was provided by the Washington State Commission on Mexican American Affairs. Hablamos: We Speak, Chicano Posters, currently on loan from the archive to Exhibit Touring Services of Washington State (ETS), consists of 25 works surveying the history of Chicano posters.

The Chicano/Latino posters in the collection include approximately 62 produced in the Pacific Northwest, and an equal number from beyond the region. Regional posters include important productions by Northwest artists Alfredo Arreguín, Daniel DeSiga, Emilio Aguayo, Rita Chavez, and José Orantes. A smaller number of posters, approximately 17, present issues of concern to other cultural communities. The majority of these posters were acquired from the San Francisco Poster Brigade and El Centro de La Raza in Seattle. Self Help Graphics in Los Angeles and La Raza Silkscreen Center in San Francisco were key centers of production from which other Chicano posters were acquired. Slide reproductions have been made of most of these posters, with additional slides of Chicano/Latino posters from beyond the region.   There are also approximately 27 slides that record the origins of Chicano imagery in Mexican and Pre-Columbian art.

Cultural Artifacts

A small number of artifacts were collected during the research and planning phase of the project, with a larger number of slides produced documenting icons, rituals, ceremonies and events having religious or other popular cultural significance. The religious materials include 10 representations of the Virgen de Guadalupe, a major cultural icon for Chicano and Latino people. Over 30 slides deal with a variety of religious themes, again with an emphasis on the Virgen. A smaller number of artifacts in the collection express popular cultural themes, such as lowrider decals collected in California. Approximately 60 slides present images of cholos, grafitti, and other popular forms of expression.

Personal Artistic Expression

Pacific Northwest

A major goal of the NEH research project, and the exhibition projects that followed, was to identify Chicano/Latino artists in the region and to gather information on them and their work. Eighteen artists were featured in the 1982/1983 issue of Metamorfosis. Nine of these artists were included in the Chicano and Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest exhibit in 1984. Since that time information and materials have been acquired on approximately ten artists who have recently arrived in the region. Over 600 slides of personal work by Northwest Chicano/Latino artists are housed in the archive. Other information, including resumes, exhibit reviews and brochures, provide information on artists who have participated in Evergreen Galleries exhibition projects.


Approximately 80 slides and 25 publications in the archive provide information on Chicano/Latino art and artists in other parts of the country, Mexico and Latin America. Many of these are contemporary artists from California.

Cultural/Historical Materials

Because the cultural and historical materials in the archive were collected primarily through field research, the majority of this material consists of unpublished printed materials and reports and community newspapers and periodicals. Library research was carried out to obtain an extensive collection of newspaper articles (109 articles) on the Chicano/Latino community. Approximately 80 photographs and slides present historical and community events. These have provided a pool of images that have been used for project publications and presentations. The range of other materials in the collection include: bibliographies, published monographs, government documents, art exhibit catalogs, theses and dissertations, grants, slides of logos from community publications, and a few audio recordings and videos.

Project Grants

Present in the archive are materials from the seven grants that were written and completed between 1982 and 1984, totaling $31,000, with a significant amount of matching support. These grant materials are in themselves a valuable historical record. Each grant is bound in one or more volumes and includes project proposals, letters of support, resumes of participants, and other relevant materials.

Exhibit Materials

A variety of exhibit related materials in the archive provide further information on Northwest Chicano/Latino artists and their work. These materials are also an important part of the record of the Evergreen Galleries Art and Cultural Diversity program, which in 1984 featured the Hispanic Arts Series, a yearlong program of exhibits, lectures and performances. This series is described in a brochure. Slide records of exhibit installations, brochures, media documentaries (one on Alfredo Arreguín, the other on Northwest Chicano art), publicity and touring records, and other materials provide a record of Evergreen Galleries one person exhibits, over an eight year period, of works by Daniel DeSiga, Rupert García, Rita Chavez, Alfredo Arreguín, Mark Calderon, Rubén Trejo and an exhibit of works by Latin American women artists that was organized by Betty LaDuke.

Please Note:

The materials in the archive are available for reference and research purposes and are not available for circulation. For further information on access to the archive please contact Jane Fisher, Head of Sound and Image Library (360) 867-6087, or Randy Stilson, Evergreen Archivist (360) 867-6126, The Evergreen State College Library, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA 98505-0002.

October 1992, rev. September 2004.

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