We had the good fortune of connecting with Deanna Munoz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deanna, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started what was originally called The Scribblers Co., because of my own story. I wanted to always be an artist, my parents loved art as well but never had the opportunity to do more with their love then as a hobby, if they even had the time. My love of art stopped once I knew I needed to work & knowing I did not have the support to continue with a dream that to others, was just that, a dream. Once I had my children & saw that my daughter started writing at age 6 short stories, I knew I needed to do more for her. I asked everywhere on where I could find an art mentor, and better, something that was low cost or free as I have 4 children. The answer was no or silent. Decided to create our own art mentorship program, The Scribblers, with the support & help of Irene Caudillo at El Centro, Inc as I had 0 dollars & no access to anything in the art world of KCK or KCMO. 15+ years later we became a 501C-3, we now have art mentorship in creative writing, visual art, murals, videography/photography, 5th year Latino arts festival, 2 year of a year long once a month community pop up event to support our artists/entrepreneurs and now have opened the doors to the Chicano Art & Cultural Center of KC with the 1st program of Lowrider Bike Club for lowrider mentorship for kids. We have 2 satellite offices, one in Northeast MO and one in KCK. We have our pop ups in the Westside community.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Latino Arts Foundation is set apart as we are driven and built on mentorship and providing services in the art realm at no cost to anyone who participates in any of our programs. Built for and of our communities. I got to where I am today, CEO/Founder, truly by passion and drive. I do not have savings nor knowledge in what it takes to open a not for profit nor had mentors to support me in finding my way in the not for profit world. I truly leaned on finding on my own what I needed to ensure that this organization continued, because our community needed it, even if that meant supporting via out of my own pocket for over 10 years. the art world in KC is not an easy space to enter especially if you are unknown. Knocked on many a door and was slammed shut many times over. It was truly up to me to build relationships & learn more about how we not only become apart of this decades old system, but how do and can we stem off to a space of our own, that is dedicated to our Latino/Chicano Artists and work. Lessons learned, never give up and build your own table, and ensure that table is built of and from the communities you serve, never doing this alone, always bringing alongside those whose voices otherwise are silenced.
I am Chicana, proud Mexican American who grew up in a world never knowing who I was. Never enough in either spaces and never enough to those who have lived in the spaces, for generations, I was trying to enter. With or without monetary support or support in general, we at LAF continue to get the work that is needed done. We have been here, we will continue to be here. Whether those keys are handed down, or access is opened, for over 15 years we try and try again for access, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not, but either way, we will never abandon the work that our community needs.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Places I love! Westside Neighborhood, food, drinks, activities such as neighborhood pop up events! Fiestas! K-Machos, family owned restaurant is my absolute favorite!
Look for local events that happen all the time in KCK and KCMO such as parades, heritage events, fairs….
Central Avenue is a great place for authentic Latino Food, shopping, and drinks! All locally owned.
Any and all Lowrider shows around the City! Especially in the summer or around Hispanic Heritage Month!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to my husband Aaron, for forever giving grace, love and support for all endeavors. This organization would have never started without my child Priscilla Munoz who gave me the inspiration to support those aspiring artists. Irene Caudillo, CEO El Centro, Inc who without her and her organization, our organization would never have been a reality. Diosselyn Tot, my side by side partner, you have made all the difference for me personally and professionally and especially Latino Arts Foundation.
Instagram: @latinoartsfoundation @deanna__munoz