On Tuesday, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation announced that they had received a $30,000 grant back in March from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) to help support their Circo Latino program.

Circo Latino is an educational class for children and teenagers ages 7 to 18 to learn about the circus arts. The program has equitable tuition payments from participants, and this grant allows the department to create scholarships for those who can’t normally afford tuition.

“Spanish-language and Latin American culture are taught alongside juggling, stilt-walking, clowning, movement, aerial, mask-making, leadership, environmental stewardship, compassion, empathy, community vibrancy and healthy lifestyles,” the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs press release states.

The grant also allows the program to not only maintain and buy new equipment, but also pay an appropriate wage to instructors, “modeling that artists should be paid for their work.”

The Center received the grant through BCBSNM’s “Healthy Kids, Healthy Family” initiative. According to the BCBSNM website, the initiative is “designed to improve the health and wellness of children and their families across the state of New Mexico.”

With lessened COVID-19 restrictions over the past few months, Circo Latino was able to hold in-person sessions this year, unlike the digital format (dubbed “Circo Digitalino”) that the program had to adjust to last summer.

Rachel Rodriguez, a Circo Latino parent, is incredibly supportive of the Circo Latino team and their continuing commitment to their students during the pandemic. She said in the press release that “love, care, humor, passion and creativity” continue to stand at the forefront of Circo Latino.

Circo Latino’s mission statement supports Rodriguez’s sentiments about the program. 

“We are a community of circus artists of all ages who value passion and creative expression. We are curious, courageous, self-disciplined, determined, collaborative and compassionate. We are committed to love, humor and fun,” the statement reads. “Our goal is to build community with respect, to safely develop and deepen our skills, explore culture, create performance and inspire a sense of wonder and magic.”

Emma Trevino is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @itsemmatr