Christian Center will host Latino Art Festival | ParkRecord.com

Christian Center will host Latino Art Festival

The Christian Center of Park City, a nonprofit humanitarian resource that helps improve the lives of people through basic needs, serves many who are members of the local Latino community.

Through doing so, the staff has come across the misconception that all Latinos in Park City are from low-income families.

"That is not the case," said Jenny Mauer, director of programs and volunteers. "Furthermore, not all low-income familes are Latino."

This is one of the reasons the Christian Center will present the first annual Latino Art Festival on Thursday, May 26.

Maximo Ventura, the Christian Center’s Latino outreach coordinator, came up with the idea.

"I have had interactions with many people from Latin America here in Park City and this idea came to me a year ago and I wanted to pursue it," said Ventura, who moved to the area from the Dominican Republic nearly 10 years ago. "We have people here from Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, the Dominican Republic and other places. And we wanted to celebrate their cultures.

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"We believe that this would be an excellent addition and component of what Park City already has going on," he said. "I thought it was a beautiful opportunity and I have to give many thanks for the Christian Center and for Jenny for jumping in."

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will feature food, music and art.

"We’ll have traditional dance from Bolivia [by Vive el Folklore] and traditional dance from Mexico [by Folclorico Las Americas]," Ventura said. "We will also show some metal sculpture by Mexico-bred artist Oscar G. Amaya and works by Kimball Art Center instructor Jorge Rodriguez."

The exhibits will also feature some repujado art, a form of metal sculpture where the artist pushes and engraves a thin piece of metal to give it an embossed look.

"We’ll also display some paintings," Ventura said.

Unlike other festivals, nothing will be for immediate sale, according to Mauer.

"We just want people to come and appreciate the art," she said. "They have the opportunity to learn more about the artists and art, so if they wanted to purchase something, they can do so later."

In addition to the professional and semi-professional artists, the festival will feature a youth display.

"Max had the idea to invite Park City’s Latino students to express themselves through art," Mauer said. "So we reached out to Park City High School’s Latinos in Action (LIA) and we will go speak to the art classes at the high school to get some students to participate."

"We want them to submit a photograph, a painting, anything that will identify their heritage and culture," Ventura said. "We will dedicate a room here at the Christian Center to do that."

Ventura said it was important to get the youth involved with the festival.

"That way they are keeping in mind their roots and background, which makes them stronger and more confident," he said.

Traditional live music will be performed throughout the night by an Andean group called Los Chaskis.

"They are from Peru and will play all night, and I’m looking forward to that," Mauer said.

She also said the festival is a time for the local Latino community to shine.

"What we’ve noticed is that Park City is becoming this international town, thanks to the Sundance Film Festival and all of these major resorts that attract tourists from all over the world," she said. "The Latino community has a lot to offer Park City and I think oftentimes this isn’t noticed.

"In Salt Lake City they have the Greek Festival, the Japanese festivals and other of the many cultural celebrations, but we have seen nothing of that come to Park City," she said. "Since the Latino culture is our biggest minority group, we need to remember that they are part of our community and have a lot to offer. We wanted this to be a celebration and let people know about how lucky we are to have such a rich population. We hope people will leave the event with more appreciation and understanding of the Latino culture, because we are so glad they are part of our community."

The Christian Center of Park Ckty, 1283 Deer Valley Dr., will present the first annual Latino Art Festival on Thursday, May 26. Doors open art 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 435-649-2260, email max@ccofpc.org or visit http://www.ccopf.org.

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