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Gaynelle Evans is a freelance writer and television producer in Montgomery County.Today, she’s like other baby boomer residents who are semi-retired and who are working to reinvent themselves in ways thatfulfill dreams and pay the bills. A former reporter for Gannett News Service and USA Today and executive producer for... Read more

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Pop-Up Museum in Silver Spring

Most pop-up museums are pretty straightforward. They are short-term institutions in temporary spaces.

Artist Ako Catuera's "migration is beautiful" at the Silver Spring Pop-up Museum.

Artist Ako Catuera’s “migration is beautiful” at the Silver Spring Pop-up Museum.

The Smithsonian Asian-Latino Festival 2013 held its final event, a pop-up museum called  “Intersections As American Life,” at the literal intersection of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring. My neighbor Fran Rothstein invited me to pop in with her to the pop up.

The Pop-Up Museum Begins in Veterans Plaza.

Smithsonian Pop-Up Museum slide show in Veterans Plaza.

Although most pop ups are here today and gone tomorrow, this one was spread over two days, August 7 and 8 and centered in Veterans Plaza. It was part of a month-long series of events that included panel discussions on cultural intersections on food, art and thought. The Silver Spring Town Center was one of the sponsors.

Visit Intersections as American Life for more information about the festival.

Sometimes the pop-up museum visitors bring exhibit items to share with the public. Other times, the institutions provide the items and the entertainment. I’m used to visiting a museum building and looking at an exhibit, interacting where I can, and leaving. At this one, Fran and I kept waiting for something to happen: Speeches, pageant plays, poetry, food …  something.

Interns answer questions about the event.

Interns answer questions about the event.

Initially no exhibitions were obvious. Taped music from speakers blasted a little too loudly across the plaza. People sat on the retaining walls talking in small groups. The very curious among us gathered pamphlets from an information table set on one side of the plaza floor. Then, after sunset on this hot, sticky night, the works of Asian and Latino artists from across the country were projected onto surrounding buildings, retaining walls and the plaza floor.

Visit Art Intersections for an online “look book” introducing the artists and some of their work.

Interns manning information table told us that the purpose of the festival and the pop up was to raise awareness and money for museums yet to be. But why celebrate Asian and Latino artists together?  What’s the connection?

Mexico and Latin America are two major ones, explained Smithsonian Latino Center director Eduardo Diaz to Fran and myself. Places like Acapulco, he said, were important stops along Asian-Pacific-Mexican trade routes. Some Asian workers stayed in Mexico, had families and later immigrated to North America.  These days the US Asian Latino population is comprised of people born here, Spanish-speaking Filipinos who worked along side Latinos in the agriculture or cannery industries, and the descendants of Puerto Rican laborers who went to Hawaii during the late 19th century. And I’m sure there are even more connections.

The Smithsonian's Eduardo Diaz with Sligo Park Hills Neighborhood Association president Fran Rothstein.

The Smithsonian’s Eduardo Diaz with Sligo Park Hills Citizens Association co-president Fran Rothstein.

To read more about what one of the festival’s artists says about being American, visit Asian and Latino Artists Weigh In On a Changing America.

The Asian American and Latino communities are the two fastest growing populations in the US, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Lawrence-Minh Davis told a panel in July. They are showing up “not just in places like California, but really all over as we become a more diverse country.” Davis is initiative coordinator at the Latino Center.

The Festival celebrates a connection that is not widely known or taught facet of American history.  Next time you hear about a Smithsonian pop-up, you might want to pop in, too!




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About Evans

Gaynelle Evans is the Executive Producer at Montgomery Community Media.


2 Responses to “Pop-Up Museum in Silver Spring”

  1. On August 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm responded with... #

    Fascinating and very informative. Silver Spring always has something wonderful and different going on, especially near the Majestic movie theatre. Thanks sharing. Clarence

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm responded with... #

      Thanks Clarence.

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