As the founder and director of Arte Público Press, Nicolás Kanellos has been the driving force in creating an outlet for all types of Latino written expression. Arte Público Press the oldest and most accomplished Latino publisher in the United States.
Prior to founding Arte Público Press in 1979, Kanellos founded the Revista Chicana-Riqueña quarterly magazine of Latino literature, art and thought that won praise and recognition from numerous organizations and publications nationwide, including the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines and The New York Times.
In his ongoing efforts to document the history of Latinos and their culture, he has spearheaded the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project, the first national, coordinated program to recover, index and publish lost Latino writings that date from the American colonial period through 1960.
Kanellos has been honored with appointments to the Brown Foundation Inc. Chair and the National Council for the Humanities, and garnered support from the Ford, Kellogg, Lilly and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica (Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic Queen): the highest decoration given to a civilian by the Spanish government; in recognition of his achievements in promoting the Spanish language and Hispanic culture in the United States through publication, research and Arte Público Press.
The “Enrique Anderson Imbert” Prize of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language for Lifetime Achievement for contributing to the knowledge and dissemination of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture in the United States.
Inducted into the Spanish American Royal Academy of Literature, Arts & Science, Cadiz, Spain.
Recipient Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, University of Arizona.
Appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Council on the Humanities (six-year term, and renewed after 6)
Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, presented by President Ronald Reagan, the White House.