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Ángela Sierra, Opening Doors to the Latin World

Ángela Sierra

General Director of Latinarte and Maison des Amériques, and President of Latin American Heritage Month.

A Latin American of Colombian origin, as she calls herself, journalist and social communicator with film and television studies and a long career in the cultural field in Montreal, she arrives in Canada with a work proposal from the Canadian television network TVA, with which she made a documentary on the displaced by violence in Colombia.

She is Angela Sierra, a woman activist and very active in community life, her social commitment has no end, she is a Montrealer at heart, in love with this city and completely militant with the objective of making Latin American culture visible.

To talk about her is undoubtedly to talk about Latinarte, because that is where this adventure began.
It didn’t take her long after arriving in Canada to become part of the community. One day she received a call to join the organization that at that time was called “Colombia invites us” and whose work was dedicated to Colombians who were arriving in a massive way because of conflicts in this country.

Together they created the cultural week of Colombia, leading Angela, the cultural side of the event. It was well received and Latin American artists began to call; for the second version of the event the consulates and the Ministry of Migration got involved, giving some budgets and putting this festival on the map, thus becoming the goal of life and source of employment.

The proposal? To work with the Latin American artistic community, but facing Quebec, thus Latinarte was born.

Many projects followed, among others a magazine on Youtube, cultural mediation projects, they created a Latin artists club, etc. The whole movement of integration of immigrants began and they put the banner of integration of Latino artists on their backs, presenting them under the same conditions as any other Canadian artist.

As Angela says: “there is nothing more permeable than art, it feeds on daily life, on experiences, for this reason I put the flag on my back in a militant way, in a stronger way, because I want my artists to have the same possibility as the others”.

Maison des Amériques was born with this same premise. The proposal was to open a physical space for everyone, entrepreneurs and the community in general, and not remain only in the cultural field, under a cooperative model, with thirty members and 65,000 CAD to start.

Everything was ready and suddenly COVID arrived, and with it came uncertainty, and the project had to stop; however, the raison d’être of La Maison des Amériques would continue to exist virtually. Like many, COVID made us reinvent ourselves. La Maison des Amériques was no exception and was forced to innovate, restructured and the key was born. It is a work with the entrepreneurs of diversity and especially the Latin American ones, who decided to create a space of accompaniment, of promotion, it is a question of creating a network.

This House, whose logo are the tiles, which appear frequently in our cultures, has its key, its garage, and its balcony.

The key is the one that opens the door to the Latin world, it gives the right to the entrepreneur and the general population to enter this Latin house. Here they can take different business and cultural workshops.

The entrepreneur has a promotional program where you are welcomed on the balcony which is the monthly newsletter where the activities to be carried out by the Maison des Amériques are presented, you can attend events, present your brand, present your business and belong to the network entrepreneurs.
The garage is a showcase where entrepreneurs and artists can showcase their products.

Angela invites us all, Latin American entrepreneurs and the general population to come to the House of the Americas and support. “This is a heritage that we are building together, we are breaking stereotypes and we want to show the best of our cultures.

At the same time, for 2019, the month of October was declared by law the Latin American Heritage Month, a collective project in which Angela is part of the organization as president.

This organization has a great agenda of events where independent producers are invited to make events and schedule them for this month of October, the idea is that everyone can find in any corner of the city, an event with Latin flavor and live that Latin American experience in Montreal, this is a heritage that is completely adapted to this city.

In last year’s edition there was a very interesting project called “el barrio, tu barrio” and this project speaks of the love that Latinos have for this sector of Jean Talón, “It is a particular affection, it is a belonging to the city on the part of Latinos”.

It has been a hard road, but fifteen years later, and after so many years of demanding these projects, they have gained strength. This is nothing more than perseverance, it is necessary to have a fighting spirit, to be passionate about this community.

Angela Sierra’s dream is to see a strengthened Latino community, La Maison des Amériques, in a large building with multiple event rooms and a library for everyone.

This woman with a great charisma, a smile always on her face and a very clear mission is an example of commitment to the community, her life gives us material to talk for a long time, but what I advise you is to come without shyness to Latinarte cafe located at 911 Jean heel street, come in, sit down comfortably, order a coffee and let yourself be delighted by all the stories that this great woman and her guests have to tell.

Written by:

Luisa Fernanda Espinosa Rodriguez