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Laura Irene interview, 2021-06-05

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc031_04.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-06-05


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Laura Irene is a Mexican American artist, curator, writer, and art critic. As an artist, Laura strives to reach not only those that appreciate an encapsulating texture, but especially to those that never thought to accept beauty in such a simple manner. Laura works in beeswax, dirt, paper, and wood. Her goal is to bring together the natural elements as a form of art that evokes a change of mind and challenges the space in which it exists. As a curator, Laura works to challenge institutions to review how they interact with marginalized communities and artists of color. She creates a space for artists and herself to be seen and heard in a thoughtful and contemplative environment. As a writer, Laura challenges others to think about the space that they take up. She gives a voice to those that are marginalized and challenges society to think differently about their responsibility as human beings. As an art critic, Laura writes about artists of color underrepresented in the media in the hopes that her voice will create a more authentic and truer version of their truth.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


Laura Irene talks about moving to Washington, D.C. from Dallas, Texas and slowly finding the music and arts community that she continues to foster today. She reflects on her collection of records of LatinX music, interview recordings, and other interesting sounds. She remembers creating Day of the Dead altars for two years, where Rhizome DC community was invited to reflect on their dead, as well as remember LatinX people, killed by the police. She emphasizes how rare and important spaces like Rhizome DC are to interpreting these traditional celebrations for new audiences and participants: the diverse community, inclusive ethics, and a unique space play their part in hosting such healing experiences. Laura suggests some necessary considerations as the space continues to evolve and improve inclusivity for people of color and underrepresented arts and communities. She also talks about how having a house with a huge backyard served the community well during the pandemic year, as performances and celebrations moved outside.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001