Last August, Pablo Helguera’s Librería Donceles was installed at the Henry. Since it was first shown in New York City in 2013, Librería Donceles has traveled to Phoenix, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Seattle, and—most recently—Chicago to support the growing Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Each time that it has been presented, Librería Donceles has been the only Spanish-language used bookstore within that city. Visitors to the bookstore were allowed to purchase one book, at a price that they set, substituting the terms of a market economy with those of a gift economy.
In each city, Helguera chooses a local nonprofit to donate the proceeds of all book sales. Recently, Luis Croquer, Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs, and Michelle Hagewood, Assistant Curator of School, Youth, and Family Programs, presented a check on behalf of Helguera for $2,268.43 to Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza. El Centro de la Raza’s mission is to build unity across all racial and economic sectors, to organize, empower, and defend vulnerable and marginalized populations and to bring justice, dignity, equality, and freedom to all the peoples of the world.
The donated funds will benefit El Centro’s children and youth services, including after-school programs, college prep, violence prevention, and summer programs.
The Henry thanks artist Pablo Helguera for the installation and donation, both of which have had manifold impacts on various Seattle communities. We also thank the over 16,500 visitors who saw the installation and especially those who bought books, supporting this dynamic and important project.
At the Henry, Librería Donceles confronted tangible implications of social dynamics and revealed social structures that exist within plain sight, while powerfully advocating for equity through the physical presence of a bookstore. At El Centro de la Raza, the proceeds from Librería Donceles will continue to advocate equity in Seattle and support the present and futures of Spanish-speaking youth as they strive for a stronger voice and presence in Seattle.