Meet Vania Soto, an artist and owner of Monarca Art Space, or MAS for short. Located in the Historic West Bottoms in Kansas City, Monarca is a boutique full of handmade goods from local KC artist and Latina owned businesses.
Vania joined us for our Hispanic Heritage Month photoshoot, highlighting our new collaboration with ParaMi (shop now). We asked Vania was Hispanic Heritage Month means to her and her personal story.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is very important to the culture. It reminds us the roots from where we come from, of our family and culture, and to make sure it never dies for the future generations. It’s important to always practice it every year and make sure our traditions move on to future generations.”
Vania is from Juarez, Mexico, and when asked how she she identifies herself in terms of Hispanic or Latina, Vania says, “I do say Latina, but I would prefer to say Mexican. I think that’s a more identifying to who I am. Who I am as a person. Mexicana is who I am.”
Monarca Art Space is her art gallery and a way for her to show her heritage. “In Mexico, it’s all about vibrant colors, the yellows and bright pinks.” The name Monarca also has a special meaning to Vania: “My gallery, I named it Monarca Art Space because of the monarch butterfly and what it represents to immigrants. Me myself being an immigrant, I want to stamp Kansas City as Immigrant-friendly for everyone to come and enjoy what we have most in common, which is culture and art.”
Vania was excited to call Kansas City her gallery’s home. She feels that the Hispanic community here is Kansas City is very united in celebrating the culture. “There’s nobody better to represent our culture than ourselves, instead of having other people to rely on to celebrate us. The number one thing is that we’re celebrating our culture together.”