SoBroSol takes Latinx representation to new heights
by liz rangel
South Bronx Solutions evolved to SoBroSol, the new Alaska non-profit committed to empowering the Latinx community to share our culture and stories through the arts. “This town was starving for a little representation in the arts,” Dan Alfalla, the organization’s executive director, brings a drive to organize and advance local Latinx voices in the arts. “Our goal is to provide the stage for existing Latinx talent in Alaska.”
In late 2019, SoBroSol brought their own production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The LGBTQ+ Rock musical filled the house at Charlou and the Hard Rock Cafe, confirming the overwhelming desire for increased representation in local productions. Along with their 15-piece Salsa orchestra, SoBroSol has serenaded local dancers, and has even collaborated with Anaya’s Latin Dance group for joint productions.
SoBroSol’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is not only represented in the events they produce, but in the makeup of the board governing on behalf of the organization. Originating in the South Bronx with a 60% Latinx population, Dan Alfalla arrived in Alaska where we only make up 8% of our Latinx population, and quickly learned that the representation we need requires a different approach than is seen in other states. Prioritizing a unified voice to represent the needs and values of many Latinx cultures in the state became key and led to an equally diverse and multi-faceted board of artists working towards SoBroSol’s mission. South Americans, Central Americans, mixed ethnicities, faith leaders, Spanish-speakers and otherwise are all represented on the board, reminding us all that Latinidad looks like many different things.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the performance industry to a standstill, and unfortunately Alaskan performers were no exception. In the meantime, the non-profit continued building roots in the community. In establishing connections with local organizations like the Atwood Foundation and the Anchorage Concert Association, SoBroSol can provide more resources to local artists and audiences alike. Soon, SoBrosol plans on providing scholarships to Alaska Latinx students excelling in the arts. The organization’s board understands that empowering the local Latinx art community requires tangible resources such as funding, as well as a platform for representation and governing.
The Anchorage Concert Association were so encouraging and helpful. Dan muses. “They really wanted to hear from us! I’m heartened by their willingness and openness to hear from new sources to implement change.” SoBroSol fills a vacuum in communication so Alaska’s Latinx artists can be better supported in the industry, and to ensure the voices of Latinx audiences are heard. With the public’s feedback, SoBroSol is currently building a line-up of Latinx artists to bring to Alaska audiences for a 2022 summer music festival.
Among SoBroSol’s projected events for 2022 is a local production of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “In the Heights” with auditions beginning January 9th--local Latinx performers are strongly encouraged to try out. Find SoBroSol on Facebook for more information on auditioning. And on January 8, don’t miss SoBroSol’s partnership with Sasieta Productions a Dia de Reyes celebration where Lower-48 Salsa musicians will share the stage with local artists for a carnival concert to the public.
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