Festival brings Latino art and culture to Park City
The Christian Center of Park City’s third annual Latino Arts Festival will be held Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.ccofpc.org.
The Christian Center of Park City will take the public on a tour of Latin America that will include Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela.
“From there we will go to Mexico and then take a boat from Cancun to the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Islands, without leaving the Park City Library Field,” said Max Ventura, the Christian Center of Park City’s Latino outreach coordinator.
Ventura should know. He is the producer of the nonprofit’s annual Latino Arts Festival that will be held Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.
“There are Latino parties and events around the state, but our event is only about the art,” he said. “That’s the vision. And when people come to the festival, they will live and experience the colors and vibrancy of Latin-American heritage.”
Now in its third year, the event is still the only festival in Utah that focuses solely on Latino arts, according to Ventura, who hails from the Dominican Republic.
The festival will feature 18 to 20 art vendors, and many more performing artists from Latino countries, Ventura said.
“We will present folkloric dance from Chile, Mariachi music from Mexico and a Peruvian band who will play music from the Andes mountains,” he said.
Latinos comprise roughly 25 percent of the population of Park City and surrounding areas, including Kamas, Coalville and Heber, Ventura said.
“Not all Latinos here are from Mexico,” he said. “We have a great variety of Latinos who come from Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, Bolivia, Dominican Republic. So this festival will celebrate what the Latino population has to offer.”
Admission to the festival is free, and Ventura encouraged people to use Park City’s free public transportation to attend the festival, because parking is limited.
While most of the Latino Arts Festival performances and displays — fine art, crafts, live music, folk dance and food trucks — will be showcased on the field, the Sundance Institute will collaborate with the Christian Center and host a special screening of Peter Bratt’s 2017 documentary “Dolores: Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Mother” in the Jim Santy Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“The film is about the life of Dolores Huerta, who fought and is still fighting for civil rights, specifically immigrant rights in the United States,” Ventura said. “We are very grateful to the Sundance Institute to work with us on the screening.”
Ventura also expressed gratitude to the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
“They were so generous in making the festival happen,” he said. “They believed in our project from the beginning and were one of the first organizations to come on board.”
Other partners include the Kimball Art Center, South Summit Elementary School and the Park City Summit County Arts Council, Ventura said.
“The Kimball Art Center and South Summit Elementary School in Kamas will run what I call ‘hands-on’ art that will include kids crafts and activities,” he said.
In addition to the hands-on kids area, the Kimball Art Center will open a companion exhibit featuring nine Latino artists, all of whom will be displaying at the festival itself, Ventura said.
He also said Hadley Dynak, the executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council, was the person who suggested this year’s festival be held outdoors, Ventura said.
“We started in a very small scale three years ago in our own Christian Center building, and last year we moved to the Park City Library and held the event indoors, where more than 400 people came to enjoy the festival,” he said. “This year we are going outdoors, even though it’s not quite the full vision.”
Ventura’s plan is to expand the Latino Arts Festival to three days of art and cultural celebration.
“So we’re still developing this event,” he said.
The Park City Summit County Arts Council is pleased to support the Latino Arts Festival, Dynak said.
“The Arts Council really believes art, whether it’s music, visual arts or dance, is an expression of individual creativity and storytelling, but we also believe art is a platform that helps build bridges, particularly among diverse communities, and provide a point of connection to celebrate,” she said. “That’s what the Latino Arts Festival is about and why the Arts Council thinks it’s an important event for our community.”
Dynak also wanted to acknowledge that the Christian Center of Park City, which produced and organized the Latino Arts Festival, isn’t an arts and cultural nonprofit.
It’s a “humanitarian community resource center that helps improve the lives of people and communities through meeting immediate and basic needs, serving as a leading networker of community resources, offering counseling and care support,” according to its mission statement.
“Yet, they see the value of an arts and cultural event to accomplish their goals,” Dynak said. “We are seeing more of that and I want to applaud organizations who use arts and culture as ways to bring people together and communicate messages.”
The Latino Arts Festival will be held rain or shine, Ventura said.
“I spoke to the man upstairs and he told me to go for it,” he said with a laugh. “In the event of significant rain, the event will move inside the Park City Public Library.”
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