Meet our featured panelists!
Moderator - Jacobo Lovo, Managing Director of Latino Arts, Inc.
As the Managing Artistic Director of Latino Arts, Inc., Jacobo leads the organization while developing community-focused educational and cultural programming. He also advocates for the arts through collaborations with other arts organizations.
Jacobo believes in the positive impact the arts have on our quality of life and strongly believes the arts play a crucial role in strengthening Milwaukee's economic vitality and competitiveness in developing and attracting talent locally, nationally, and internationally.
Prior to his role at Latino Arts, Jacobo spent 16 years as an art educator for Latino Arts’ sister-organization United Community Center.
Barbara Cerda - Co-Founder, La Revo Books
Barbara Cerda is passionate about uplifting Milwaukee through various community centered projects. She is a daughter to Milwaukee’s Southside and of an immigrant parent, is a dedicated leader that believes positive community change happens through authentic relationships and grassroots-based action alongside the most affected. She is the Founder of Barby The Book Fairy, a program that focuses on providing empowering and culturally relevant literature to families in Milwaukee. She is also the Co-Founder of La Revo Books, a bookstore specializing in Latinx literature and libros en español.
Barbara is a full-time mother to three brilliant and adventurous girls. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, watching sci-fi shows and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Jose Chavez, Artist
Jose Alfredo Chavez is self-taught Mexican artist well known for his life size skeleton figures that exemplify the humorous side of Day of the Dead. Focusing on the idea that it doesn’t matter who we were in life or how much we had, as skeletons we all look the same. He draws inspiration from historical artist like Posada and the Linares family in Mexico. However, Jose Alfredo Chavez has created his own unique mark in the Day of the Dead traditions with his own Papier Mache masterpieces.
Dr. Laura Matthew, PhD. - Associate Professor of Latin American, Mexican, and Central American history at Marquette University
Dr. Laura Matthew teaches Latin American, Mexican, and Central American history at Marquette University. She researches and writes about Indigenous history in southern Mesoamerica before and after Spanish conquest, including the books Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica (2007) and Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala (2012).
During the Day of the Dead, we care for the spirits of family and friends who have left this earthly plane. We may not know all of the rich cosmic meaning at the heart of this ritual, especially if we didn't grow up with the tradition. But everyone can appreciate the chance to reconnect with our loved ones and the history they taught us, with both joy and sadness. I am grateful every year when my students help me light candles for our classroom altar. And even though it's not traditional, I'm grateful that in Wisconsin (unlike in my home state of Texas), peaches -- the favorite food of one dearly remembered ancestor of mine -- are still available in the late fall to put next to her picture and the pan de muerto!