Christian Center of Park City’s Latino Arts Festival celebrates year two | ParkRecord.com

Christian Center of Park City’s Latino Arts Festival celebrates year two

Event moved to the Park City Library

The Christian Center of Park City presented its first-annual Latino Arts Festival last year to introduce the greater Park City area to local Latino culture.

The event was held at the Christian Center and featured visual art, food, live music and dance, Maximo Ventura, Christian Center of Park City's Latino outreach coordinator said.

"We originally wanted to see how people would receive the proposal for the festival and launch a professional presentation to Park City and nearby communities," Ventura told The Park Record. "It was more successful beyond what we expected."

This year's festival, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, has been moved from the Christian Center to the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.

Ventura said there are two reasons for the move.

"First of all, the event has grown since last year," he said. "We will have more visual artists and musicians who will participate."

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The second reason is because the Christian Center of Park City's headquarters at Deer Valley Drive is being remodeled.

"We are doing that so we can better serve Park City and Summit County," Ventura said.

This year's festival will represent close to eight or 10 different countries, including Bolivia, Spain, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Mexico, Ventura said.

We're focusing on five aspects: visual arts — including painting, music and sculpture — film, dancing, music and food," he said. "We will have seven different artists this year as well. We will focus on the interaction between artist and the guests."

Moving the festival to the Library means more space and access to other facilities such as the digital film projector at the Jim Santy Auditorium, which made it easy for the Sundance Institute to get involved.

Sundance will screen Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee's documentary, "Cesar 's Last Fast" at 5 p.m., Ventura said.

"The film is about Cesar Chavez who was a man who fought for immigrant rights in the United States," Ventura said. "One of the directors, Richard Ray Perez, will attend the screening and will conduct a Q and A afterwards."

"Cesar's Last Fast," which runs one hour and 40 minutes, was one of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Official Selections and focuses on Chavez's work that led to the development of the economic-justice movement.

"No tickets are needed because seating is first-come, first-served," Ventura said. "So people should arrive early."

Ventura is happy Sundance wanted to partner with the Christian Center of Park City for the festival.

"Sundance appreciates diversity and we would love to have more organizations to eventually become part of this event," he said.

Park City Summit County Arts Council is another organization that partnered with the Christian Center for this year's festival.

Hadley Dynak, executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council, said the nonprofit reached out to Ventura last fall to see if there was going to be a second Latino Arts Festival.

"We expressed interest to get involved [because}the Latino Arts Festival acknowledges and celebrates our local diversity and creates a fun and colorful way to experience the heritage, traditions, and creativity of our Latino community," Dynak said. "Our goal as an umbrella arts nonprofit is to use art to help connect and unite our community, and this event is a perfect way to help make that happen."

In addition to bringing people together, the event provides an outlet for the artists to express their identity.

"The photographers, traditional craftsman, dancers and musicians participating in the festival are telling the story of their culture through their work," Dynak said. "The arts break down the us versus them mentality that we sometimes fall into and help create a 'we' — opening up our eyes to our similarities and our differences.

"We encourage everyone in our community to come, sit down next to someone new, and immerse yourself in the art, beauty, and culture that will surround you."

Ventura said this is the spirit of the festival.

"We want to invite the people in the community to enjoy and engage with the beauty of multiple artistic expressions whose artists have embraced their heritage — Hispanic or Latino — as a way to transmit a cultural experience that will last for generations," he said.

Ventura also said he wants the festival to clear up any misconceptions about the Latino culture and its stereotypes.

"I'm from the Dominican Republic and I remember last year, someone complimented us and said, 'Thank you, Max. The Mexican festival was fantastic,'" he said with a laugh. "I smiled and said, 'Thank you. I love Mexican culture and it is a key part of our event. But this is a Latino Arts Festival that embraced different cultures and countries."

Ventura said he hopes the Christian center can smartly grow the event and provide enriching experiences for attendees and artists.

"We want help educate our community about our uniqueness by showing the differences in these presentations."

The second annual Latino Arts Festival, presented by the Christian Center of Park City and the Park City Summit County Arts Council, will be from 3-8 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. The free event will feature live music, dancing, food, art and a free screening of the Sundance Film Festival film "Cesar's Last Fast" at 5 p.m. in the Jim Santy Auditorium. For information, visit http://www.ccofpc.org.

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