Heeding calls for Latino representation, the Carbondale town council appointed Luis Yllanes to the board Tuesday night. His appointment fills a vacancy left by former trustee Katrina Byars and completes the seven-member board.
Yllanes was born and spent most of his life in Miami. He has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for eight years and in Carbondale for the last two.
At first, some trustees were hesitant to go with Yllanes because of the short time he’s lived in Carbondale. But ultimately his qualifications outpaced that concern. The board hopes Yllanes, who is Peruvian and bilingual, can help connect the town government to Carbondale’s Latino population.
Many community members have urged the board to become more diverse, to better represent the town’s diverse population. Yllanes said he is proud of Carbondale’s diverse community, but he added that the Latino population has a tough time connecting with the rest of the Carbondale community. He said that he is “keenly aware of how segregated this community is,” and he hopes to help bridge that gap.
“I hope that I can do the community justice and be able to represent them, listen to their thoughts and concerns. Given the political climate right now, it’s important to be sensitive to their concerns and needs,” he said.
Trustees also emphasized that they weren’t appointing Yllanes simply because of his ethnicity. He is the senior director of exhibitions, registration and installation at the Aspen Art Museum. The board hopes his 20 years of experience in art will help the Carbondale Creative District, Carbondale Arts and other such local organizations.
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