Webinar- Designing the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Molina Gallery

  • Date

    Tuesday, November 10 2020

  • Time

    6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Location


Our inaugural Virtual session of LA.IDEA Design Series will be focused on the design and vision of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Molina Family Latino Gallery – the first national Latino gallery on the National Mall – at the National Museum of American History.

The Smithsonian Latino Center will open its first physical museum space, the Molina Family Latino Gallery, in spring 2022 at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) to celebrate the U.S. Latino experience. The Molina Family Latino Gallery will be the leading interpretive gallery devoted to exploring the richness and diversity of Latino history, culture, and identity in the United States.

Join us for a presentation by the Project’s Client, Architect, Lead Designer, and Exhibit Designer focused on designing a state of the art’s inclusive gallery and the importance of the space for the Smithsonian & the Latino community in the United States. Our guest speakers, Eduardo Díaz, Carolina Uechi, Mariano Desmarás, and Andrés Clerici will navigate us through the challenges and lessons learned with the project. The program will culminate with a Q&A session moderated by José Leo Arango, AIA|DC’s LA.IDEA Past Chair.

LA.IDEA Design Series is a unique Virtual Series created by LA.IDEA DC to recognize Latin American and Hispanic artists, designers, and curators for their professional journey and innovation in the field.  The purpose of this series is to inspire not only the Latino/Hispanic design community, but also to extend our reach to a multicultural and interdisciplinary group of professionals.


Eduardo Díaz, Director Smithsonian Latino Center

Eduardo Díaz joined the Smithsonian as the director of the Smithsonian Latino Center in 2008. Previously, he was the executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is currently a member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. Eduardo earned a law degree from the University of California at Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies at San Diego State University.

Carolina Uechi, Designer, Quinn Evans Architects

Carolina Uechi is a designer who has contributed to many of the firm’s high-profile projects for the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She holds a Master of Architecture, a Master of Arts in Real Estate Development, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland.

Mariano Desmarás, Lead Exhibit Designer, Museum Environments

Mariano is an exhibit designer with two decades of working for museums around the nation and the world. He is both an architect and a graphic designer. He is the owner of Museum Environments (ME) that is presently designing the Molina Family Latino Gallery for the National Museum of American History Smithsonian. Mariano grew up in Puerto Rico with a family of Argentinian heritage. He studied at the University of Michigan, receiving dual degrees in English and Graphic Design. He worked as an editorial graphic designer in Paris, France before acquiring a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. His work has received numerous top design awards, most notably from the American Institute of Graphics Arts (AIGA), Type Directors Club and Society of Environmental Graphic Design.

Andrés Clerici, Exhibit Designer, Orb

Andrés is an independent creative director and consultant for the planning, concept and design of museums, exhibitions, and cultural projects worldwide. He has 20 years of experience working in the museum planning and exhibition design field. In 2010, he founded the creative studio ORB LLC, based in Brooklyn. He had previously worked at Ralph Appelbaum Associates for 10 years as Director of Content and Media. He was also director of exhibitions at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona, Spain. Amongst his key projects are: the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Portuguese Language in Sao Paulo, the Mandela Day exhibition in New York, “Water, Unique Resource” for the Expo 2006, “Voices” exhibition in Barcelona, as well as. He also provides content and vision consulting for design studios, museums and companies from around the world. He is currently working on the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, the new cultural center for Santander Bank in Spain, and for a new project in Singapore. He was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has been living in New York for over 20 years. 

Moderated by: José Leo Arango, Designer II, LA.IDEA  Past-Chair

José Leo Arango is a Designer II at EYP Inc. in Washington, DC since July 2013. He received his Bachelor of Architecture, cum laude from Syracuse University. Presently, he is an associate member of the AIA and has established his NCARB record pursuing his professional license. Originally from Colombia, he moved to Miami in 2001, where he attended Design & Architecture Senior High. Leo is an alumnus of the Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassadors Program, and remains engaged, working with the new cohorts. He is a Co-Founder of LA.IDEA|DC committee since 2013 and currently serves as Past-Chair.  

Organized by: LA.IDEA DC

Sponsored by: Smithsonian Latino Center; Porcelanosa

At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the process which the Smithsonian Latino Center went through to achieve the creation of the space and receive the necessary permits for the new Gallery;

  • Learn about the latest innovations and state of the arts techniques in Gallery Design;

  • Learn about the Gallery's museology approach which is anchored by: The alignment with Inclusive Design principles and standards; Built-in intergenerational education space; Extensive digital immersion strategies to present and contextualize exhibits; and

  • Understand the relationship and process between the client, architect, and exhibit designers to transform the space inside the National Museum of American History into the new Smithsonian Latino Center’s Molina Family Latino Gallery.