BEACON - The camaraderie could be seen all over the Howland Cultural Center Saturday afternoon.
Whether it was Jose Acosta chatting with long-time friend Elisa Pritzker or Salvador Arellano inquiring about the detail on Nestor Madalengoitia’s piece, Latino-American artists throughout the Hudson Valley once again gathered for their 19th Annual Show, sharing their passion for creation, creativity and community. Joining them for the opening of their month long exhibition, was a room full of guests, engaging with the artists while diligently admiring their diverse contributions.
This years’ Show featured 14 artists. It’s a number that has steadily grown over the past two decades. Several of the 2013 artists have had a long history contributing to something they deem quite special. One is Town of Poughkeepsie resident, Jose Acosta, who is marking his 10th year with the showing of three pieces. Happy, colorful and vibrant, the works feature acrylic on canvas with galvanized welded frames. One is fittingly titled "Dancing in the Field."
"I really like showing at the Howland Cultural Center, and it’s extra nice to be in a show with other Latino-American artists; you get to meet old friends as well as meet new ones," said Acosta as he greeted Pritzker, whose exhibit was next to his. "I really enjoy Latino art; it is very colorful and full of narratives."
The uniqueness of the event runs deeper, as each year it is held in September, National Hispanic American History Month. Well aware of the talent among Latino-American Hudson Valley residents, Pritzker was determined to pool it together. As the co-creator of the event 19 years ago, she set out to locate and connect those very artists. It was a personal mission she felt was well worth the effort.
"This show has really grown into a large network of people over the years," explained Pritzker, whose pieces in the Show focus on the beauty, importance, service and vital relationship of people with nature in the Hudson Valley. "It is very important for the Center to showcase these artists, as many of them do not have many possibilities to do so; the diversity of this show is also very important to see."
That seeing is exactly what another artist, Poughkeepsie’s Nestor Madalengoitia, has at the core of his work’s purpose. His one featured piece, "Performance" is a detailed, lined, black and white ensemble of jazz and blues artists, spanning the northeast, who have performed at Marlboro’s The Falcon. Done on scratchboard, the assortment of faces appear on a ceramic coated special cardboard covered with Chinese ink.
"These pieces are like magic evolving from the darkness," said Madalengoitia. "Each person is coming out of the dark, just like the music; we are living in dark times, and it’s the music and art that are able to bring out the light."
Other artists appearing in the Latino-American Artists of the Hudson Valley Exhibit, which will run through September 29, include; Alfredo Bejar, Aurelio Castano, Emil Figueroa, Rafael Figueroa, Jose Gomez, Wilfredo Morel, Adrian Jesus Roldan, Marisa del Pozo Slick, Luis Valentin and special guest artist Bernice Pliskin.
Come enjoy the beauty of the Latino-American culture and its art offerings. The Howland Cultural Center’s Gallery hours are 1-5pm Thursday-Sunday.