More Than 50 Local and Regional Artists Combine for "Juntos," An Exhibition Benefiting the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures

Taking its title from the Spanish word for “together,” Juntos is a group exhibition of over 100 works of art by more than 50 local and regional artists. The exhibition is a collaborative effort between the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery at Lorain County Community College and the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures.

The exhibition is a benefit designed to raise funds and awareness for the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures. A portion of each sale will be donated to the museum’s efforts to help establish a permanent home. Juntos opens with a reception from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 12.

The Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures was founded 5 years ago by Guillermo Arriaga, a retired Lorain City Schools teacher, with a mission to preserve his culture and educate his community. The “Museum” has existed solely as a travelling museum, setting up presentations and exhibitions in schools, libraries, galleries and community centers throughout Lorain and as far as Fremont and Columbus. The collection consists of over 3,000 artifacts, objects, folk art and memorabilia representing 18 countries in Latin America.

Just days before the opening reception, Juntos’ curator Dante Rodriguez took time to discuss the exhibition and the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures.

How did the show initially come about?

DR: Our board has been discussing what to do as a winter fundraising event and with my experience with coordinating art exhibits; I suggested we do an art benefit. This is the first time the museum has organized and curated an art exhibit of this kind of bringing in contemporary artists from our region of different ethnic background in order to further our work.

What can visitors expect from this show? How diverse are the artists/works/media?

DR: For me, this is a dream show of working with all the artists I grown to love and respect their craft and contribution to our visual history in northeast Ohio. To curate a show of 56 artists on such short notice has been unreal, but I think the diverse roster of artists and works ranging from sculpture, photography, and paintings makes this show serve as a good introduction to our arts scene here! Also this is my first time curating a show at my alma mater and in Lorain County! I hope the community comes out and enjoys this beautiful array of art.

How does the show's title relate to the inclusion of artists of many different backgrounds, united around a common mission?

DR: I wish I could take credit for the title, but my wife and fellow artist, Linda Ayala, came up with it. Juntos (Spanish for together) really sums up want we at the museum or any art community wants to achieve: unity in skill, knowledge, and beauty to serve together for a good cause; bringing positive and creative changes for everyone to benefit from.

What do you hope the show can accomplish for the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures?

Dante Rodriguez: Ideally, I hope to sell all the artwork, and raise as many funds as we can to purchase a building to house the Museum of Hispanic and Latino Cultures collection! But realistically, I hope to reach out to a large, diverse audience to come and see our event and to build an interest in the work we do.

Why is the museum so important to the Latino community and the larger community overall?

DR: Personally, I find the mission of the museum of preserving our Latino heritage and our visual history to be a vital component to ensure our legacy continues to live on through all the generations in our community. We are unique in that we want to represent all Latino cultures through our collection. It's no secret Latinos are a fast growing population playing a bigger role in politics and society today, but it's important that non-Latinos can learn more about our community as a warm, creative, and vibrant culture that I think everyone seems to be benefiting from our contribution from our music and to our cuisine! We at the museum want to educate and share the importance of how Latino culture is a positive and diverse entity having a rich complex history and beauty that continues to live on in our people today.

Participating artists include Michael Abarca, Joe Ayala, Linda Ayala, Jane Baeslach, Augosto Bordelois, Pita Brooks, Amy Casey, John W. Carlson, Bruno Casiano, Hector Castellanos-Lara, David Cintron, Nancy Cintron, Andy Curlowe, Sarah Curry, Dexter Davis, Dana Depew, Eileen Dorsey, Andy Dreamingwolf, Elizabeth Emery, Mallorie Freeman, Hilary Gent, Jamey Hart, Todd Hoak, Andrea Joki, Beth Kelly, David King, Stephanie Lipscomb, George Mauersberger, Christine Mauersberger, Liz Maugans, Joan Nuebecker, Claudio Orso-Giacone, Mariana Ortega, Evelyn Ortiz, Maria De Jesus Paz, Scott Pickering, Dave Piurek, Joshua Rex, Eric Rippert, Alejandro Rivera, Kristen Rogers, Ana Luisa Sanchez, Dott Von Schneider, Joseph Toothman, Tony Trunzo, Rafael Valdivieso, Achala Wali, Nikki Woods, Gadi Zamir and more. (Disclosure: I’ll also be participating too.)

The exhibition remains on view through Sunday, Dec. 20. Additional hours are Sunday, Dec. 13 from noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, Dec. 14-18 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (also 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18) and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20 from noon to 4 p.m.

(Stocker Arts Center) 1005 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria,
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