Montoya’s leadership builds bridges for PAC, other organizations
[Editor’s Note: This is the second of three columns exploring community building at the Numerica Performing Arts Center)
El Mundo Publisher Gustavo Montoya has played an important role in building bridges in the Wenatchee Valley between the Latino and Anglo communities during recent years.
Montoya, a native of Colombia, serves on the election advisory committee for the City of Wenatchee, which is studying whether to recommend changing the way city council members are selected.
He also serves on the board of directors for Pybus Public Market and its nonprofit foundation, the Latino Advisory Council for the Numerica Performing Arts Center, and is a board member of Hand in Hand Immigration Services.
He’s an impact player in these organizations. He’s quite proud of the way the Latino Council for the PAC is reaching out in creative ways to the community as it seeks to diversify its shows so that there are performances for everyone.
That includes children. A pilot project of the organization is called “Every Kid at the PAC,” and the audacious goal is to touch the lives of every single student in the region each year, through performances at the theater or by taking programs on the road.
Since the council was formed, the diversity of the shows has increased dramatically.
Montoya had the good fortune of growing up in a family that valued the arts. He recalls being taken to performances at the Columbus Theater in Bogota, and it “sparked a great interest,” he said.
Many kids in North Central Washington have not had those kinds of opportunities, he added. When he first joined the council, he discovered that while many Latinos were familiar with the Stanley Civic Center, very few were aware of the theater and organizations like the Wenatchee Valley Symphony. With the help of the Latino council, the organization is reaching out in new and creative ways to make the PAC a community center with a stage that belongs to everyone in the valley.
Montoya said the council is doing far more than advocating for Latino issues. The group is more focused on bringing multicultural events to the valley.
One such event was “Wenatchee’s Got Multicultural Talent” show that took place last year. “We saw a diverse crowd that created a new connection by enabling new conversation about the PAC and the experiences between PAC goers and Latinos and other people in the community who attended the PAC for the first time after 15 and 20 years of living in the community,” Montoya said.
Building bridges between diverse groups who live in this valley and North Central Washington is absolutely essential. By tapping into the talents and gifts of all groups, we can create a stronger community.