Alumnus awarded Hispanic Heritage award
UH alumnus Daniel Bustamante was recently awarded the 2015 Hispanic Heritage Award by the Mayor’s office for his contributions to the Arts and Houston’s Latino community.
Bustamante has been advocating for the cultural arts in the Latino community since the 1970’s. He started producing free music and theatre productions during the Chicano civil rights movement. In 1977, he produced a Tejano music concert in Moody Park that attracted thousands.
“I was told by city officials that we could no longer have the event there due to lack of facilities,” Bustamante said.
Realizing the lack of resources Bustamante attempted to reach out to the City for help.
“I tried to get the city to allow and support a Chicano music production at its free Miller Outdoor Theater, only to be told it was a venue for the fine, cultural arts” Bustamante said. “After much persistence, I was given a small $1,500 grant and an unpredictable weather date.”
On April 12th 1980, the first Festival Chicano was held and attracted enough attention to have continued to this day as an annual tradition in Houston.
“My goal has been to promote cultural awareness and enrich people with music,” Bustamante said. “Latino cultural arts have its roots in indigenous America, and its mestizo history. It has been neglected by many institutions but preserved through traditions and cultural organizations.”
Bustamante also serves a chair member for Casa de Amigos Health Clinic and was a founding member of the Rodeo Go Tejano committee which helps raise money for Latino Scholarships.
“The more youth can learn about the cultural arts, the better the world will be,” Bustamante said.
“The arts are a way to increase learning and provide opportunities for creative growth. Latino youth can be encouraged by being exposed to the cultural arts at performances and festivals. They in turn are the best messengers to other youth.”