The Latino Theatre Initiatives at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is one of 19 student organizations from 12 states to be recognized as a program to watch in 2018 by Excelencia in Education.

Excelencia in Education is an organization that conducts research “as a tool to frame our understanding about the condition of education for Latino students and the impact of institutional practices and on their success.”

Latino Theatre Initiatives, under the advisement of Eric Wiley in the UTRGV Department of Theatre, College of Fine Arts, has been creating opportunities for Latino theatre artists and enthusiasts since 2010 by increasing the presence of the Latino theatre community.

The award-winning group produces Spanish-language theatre for children in South Texas, as well as bilingual plays, and has performed in major cities such as New York, San Diego, Houston and New Orleans.

One of its most successful plays, Pachanga: A Dance Battle Comedy, is an original piece that highlights Valley culture.

Wiley said the recognition from Excelencia will help promote the group.

“LTI being featured on Programs to Watch helps the group fundraise and pursue grants,” he said. “It provides significant validation to the organization’s innovative practices and work.”

LTI currently has 10 members, and about 40 more who participate in its theatrical and video productions. LTI also has dozens of external partners.