Every year since 1968, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a month is dedicated to celebrating the culture, heritage and accomplishments of Latinx people in the U.S.
Edinboro University is proud to join in these important festivities with several virtual events.
“The celebration and recognition of Latinx Heritage Month at Edinboro University is important for various intertwined reasons,” said Dr. Leslie C. Sotomayor, an instructor in Edinboro’s Art Department. “The large permanent and seasonal community of Latinx populations that have historically inhabited the Northwest region, the absence of Latinx representation and visibility as a community, in this case, specifically in academia and art circles, and the vastly disproportionate information that exists about Latinx history and contemporary populations.”
The first event in Edinboro’s Latinx Heritage Month celebration is the “Café con Leche Panel Discussion about Latinx Cultura,” which will take place at noon on Oct. 1. This live panel is coordinated by faculty members Dr. Stephanie Diez-Morel, Sheila Lorenzo de la Pena and Sotomayor, and students Tatyana Abreu (MSW student) and Brandon Torres (Latinx Student Organization President).
“The purpose is for students and faculty to come together and talk about Latinx heritage, to talk about the history of Latinx heritage here in the U.S., to talk about how their individual lived experiences have affected them being a part of the Latinx community,” Diez-Morel said.
“La Familia: Virtual Studio Event,” is scheduled for Oct. 7 from 6-8 p.m. This art studio event is coordinated by Lorenzo de la Pena.
In this event, there will be a discussion of themes such as community, as well as what Familia means to each of them. In addition, participants are invited to craft their own personalized postcard to send to a person who has had an impact on their lives.
The Latinx Artist Spotlight and Local Latinx Art Gallery Showcase, coordinated by Sotomayor, will round out the month.
On Oct. 12, the Bruce Gallery at Edinboro will host the opening reception of the art exhibition, “Let’s Pretend.” According to Sotomayor, the exhibition will be co-curated with local artists of color, an expression of art for and by artists of color, not just Latinx.
On Oct. 14, Edinboro will host a livestream at 5:30 pm with Latinx artists.
Some of the featured Latinx individuals include:
Armando Reyes is an artist, a musician, a literal Boy Scout (who now leads a Cub Scout pack in Erie) and an entrepreneur who hopes his skills can help others discover creative and economic empowerment through education, sharing ideas and resources and art.
A Chicago native, Reyes moved to Erie to take a job as a luxury automobile technician, but his passion for woodwork and the community led him to start his own business and to use that platform to serve others. Through his Lake Erie Woodworks venture, Reyes began hosting what he calls the "Table Saw Supper Club," which connects woodworkers from all over Erie and of all skill levels to share ideas and resources.
Lourdes Jasso is a mixed media artist focusing on social justice and the experiences of Mexican immigrant women in the U.S. Born in 1983 in Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico, she immigrated at age 3, with her parents and two sisters, to the U.S. She grew up immersed in the vibrant Latino culture of her working class Chicago neighborhood. She participated in Mexican folkloric dance performances and honed her spoken word craft, communicating her messages in Spanish to her many non-English speaking community members.
Fredy Huamán Mallqui is an ornamental and architectural woodcarver and wooden objects conservator. Coming to the U.S. in 2012, aside from hand-carving tools that he himself made, Mallqui brought his sensibility, creativity, skills and expertise that he accumulated with patience and observation, impeccably mindful of detail in his work as part of daily living. Growing up in the city of Ayacucho, the Peruvian capital of the craftsman, Mallqui inherited an appreciation of his cultural heritage, a syncretic product between Spanish and local cultures. At 9 years old, Fredy began learning wood carving from master carvers. He then developed his own techniques to design, carve and conserve intricate pieces in Baroque, Rococo, Gothic and Romanesque styles.
Edinboro is proud to share the expertise of its faculty and students in this 2020 Latinx Heritage Month. For more information about the virtual events, visit Edinboro’s Facebook page.