Friends, family, and colleagues gathered on Sunday January 28 at the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation on Bagley Street to surprise beloved local artist and mentor Mary Luevanos with the 2023 Michigan Hispanic Latino Commission’s Arts in Community Award. Luevanos was unable to attend the original award ceremony last fall during Hispanic Heritage month in Kalamazoo.
“I knew she would shy away from a ceremony for her so it was presented as a birthday party for her granddaughter,” said Theresa Rosado, founder of Casa de Rosado Galeria & Cultural Center. Rosario is also an artist who exhibited with Mary many years ago.
For decades, Mary welcomed fellow artists into Detroit’s arts spaces, guided children in valuing their creative potential, facilitating artistic works & sessions in the community while creating her own work. Her enduring dedication and influence inspired Rosado to nominate her.
As Luevanos was honored, people shared stories of how she has contributed to Southwest Detroit’s vibrant, resilient arts ecosystem and motivated them personally. Despite limited resources, Mary has persistently prioritized community arts and has had a significant influence by encouraging artists—from children scribbling with sidewalk chalk to painters working within cramped apartments—modeling tenacity in difficult circumstances.