Hispanic Heritage Celebrated at Howland Cultural Center

By Jennifer L. Warren

BEACON – Each artist has a different philosophy and overall purpose; however each one is cemented to the other by a common, deep-rooted culture.

Saturday, at the Howland Cultural Center, 16 of those painters, photographers and sculptures merged together, intermingling with guests, as the 22nd Annual Latino-American Artists of the Hudson Valley Art Exhibit officially opened its doors. This year carrying the theme: Earth, a World of Colors, Values, Imagination, the collective Show features artists hailing from a host of Hispanic countries, including; the Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain and Brazil. Revealing a wide range of creative expression, the Hudson-Valley rooted artists carry impressive backgrounds, laden with far-reaching awards and honors.

Rafael Figueroa of the City of Beacon stands in front of his painting “Ritual,” one of many pieces on display by a group of 16 artists in this month’s 22nd annual Art Exhibit of Latino-American Artists of the Hudson Valley. Figueroa is showing his work for the 10th year at the Show which runs through September 30.

Jose Soto, of Puerto Rican descent who resides in the Town of Newburgh, is showing for his third year at the event. Displaying three paintings, a woman taking a morning break in Puerto Rico and two pieces representing different colors and symbols of daily activities and thoughts, Soto has a definite intent with his works.

“I try to communicate and play with different social problems we have as human beings, the struggles and how they affect those people,” explained Soto, whose nephew Brian he has mentored in art, was with him. “This particular Show is special because it gives us as artists a chance to meet colleauges who live in the same area as well as be able to represent where we came from and got inspired by; I believe everyone in this Show brings something special here from their culture, making it a really beautiful thing.”

Another one of those cultures being celebrated at this year’s Exhibit is Spain. Marisa del Pozo Slick, originally from Madrid and presently residing in Beacon where she has a studio, used her home country as a backdrop to her four piece collage. Rooted in her imagination, her images first took shape from vivid recollections of very real places in Spain. Once brought to the forefront, she put a creative spin on the tangible memory.

“My scenes come from my imagination of the sea, rocks, clouds, and storms; it’s the mystery of a place in Spain,” said a smiling del Pozo Slick, one of the Show’s  veteran artists, displaying for the 11th year. “They are very pure and wild; it’s what I’m thinking about and what I want to give the people, so they want to go there.”

With shades of light blue, white and gray, del Pozo Slick’s intriguing pieces pull the viewer into a world of mystique and curiosity.

Still another local artist, Town of Newburgh’s Joe Pimentel, aspires to excite his viewers about wanting to visit a place close to his heritage, Peru. Pimental, both Brazilian and Peruvian, went on a trip to see the ancient monument, Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In awe of the site and not having the time to fully sketch it, he took several photographs of it, so he could put his own, authentic artistic interpretation on it, using pen and ink with watercolors. The inspiring model images resulted in a series of seven, intricately detailed pieces containing Pimentel’s unique style. The artist also recreated several other ancient remains he saw in Peru in his series.

“I really wanted to capture the feeling of being right there,” said Pimentel, who oftentimes works four hours on his art at night following his full-time job as a resident artist at some local public schools. “I wanted to use the model photos, so I could keep the original, architectural elements and then combine them with my style of patterns and shapes.”

The formula proved to be successful; many of the Show’s Opening guests stopped by awestruck as they admired the elaborate detail embedded in the catchy, black and white artwork.

Regardless of the artist, their native background, purposes with their art or medium used, the overall mission of this ongoing Latin-American Artists of the Hudson Valley Group Show remains an integral part of the community, area, and country as a whole. With such a deep, rich historical background, full of priceless contributions in a vast array of areas, the Latin culture is one we can all be proud of and is well deserving of the attention it has been allotted this month: National Hispanic Heritage Month.

“It would be so great for the community at large to see these works of art as well as become aware of the many contributions, not just in the arts, but the many facets of life Latin- Americans have made to this country,” pointed out Florence Northcutt, Board Member of the Howland Cultural Center as well as past President. “They have the longest history, aside from Native Americans and have served this country very well.”

In addition to Soto, del Pozo Slick and Pimentel, other artists showing works in the exhibit include; Jose Acosta, Salvador Arellano, Pablo Avera, Emil Figueroa, Rafael Figueroa, Jose Gomez, Bea Gustafson, Maria Lago, Raphael Lopez, Nestor Madalengoitia, Wilfredo Morel, Julia Santos Solomon and Liliana Washburn.

The Exhibit will run through Sunday, September 30. It can be viewed every Friday-Monday from 1-5pm, excluding Sunday, September 17, when the Center will be used for another event.

For more information, call the Howland Cultural Center at (845) 831-4988 or log on to: www.howlandculturalcenter.org.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email