The Hope is in the Arts: Esperanza’s Youth Art Exhibit
By Antonio Barrios, La Prensa Correspondent
The rain was pouring down on Detroit road this past Friday, August 2, 2013, as people and students made their way to the Bruno Casiano Art Gallery at 5304 Detroit Ave, at the edge of Ohio City and the new Gordon Square Theater District in Cleveland. Local acclaimed artist Bruno Casiano was hosting the artwork of the Youth Leadership Team of Esperanza, Inc. in a project lead by mentor and local artist Martínez “EB” Garcias.
Executive Director Victor Ruiz met Mr. Garcias at an art directors home and invited Garcias to come to Esperanza, Inc. to volunteer as a mentor. Director Ruiz first discovered “ EB” from his artwork that was later transformed into a play at Karamu House in Cleveland.
With his background in art and obvious willingness to help youth, he became one of the Program Coordinators at Esperanza, helping the students express their life and stories into various art forms, from sculpture to canvas. The students used the arts to bring out their feelings and emotions. Mr. Casiano was also donating 20 percent of his gallery sales to Esperanza.
The program started with trips to the senior citizens residences to interview them and bring their experience and life adventures to the canvas through the eyes of the students. He originally was to use his skills as an artist to help mentor the youth but the idea quickly transformed into a full-fledged program at Esperanza.
“EB”—a native of Cleveland—grew up near the East side of Cleveland around E. 105 and St Clair Streets; he attended Lincoln West and Glenville High Schools, but finally opted out with his GED and went to work in a factory.
The adventure enlightened him to change his future and attended art studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art and concentrate his work on paintings and installations. “EB’ also worked on writing and illustrating comic books. “EB’s” work has also been exhibited at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio for the Hispanic Month celebrations (Sept. 15- October 15). His father was also an artist.
In collaboration with Susan Gallagher, Associate Director of Visual Arts Education at the Beck Center, the Esperanza youth of the Leadership Team envisioned and created a massive 3-panel mural of their culture, history, and education. This panel is a ceramic mural with each panel weighing approximately 60 – 100lbs.
Bruno Casiano and wife Edna Fuentes-Casiano created a warm and inviting atmosphere in their newly reopened Gallery. Edna Fuentes also has an amazing jewelry and gift shop on the lower level where Chef Saúl Serrano was cooking up some incredibly delicious “Cubanitos,” roast-pork sandwiches, mixing wonderfully with a little red wine.
It was an amazing evening of discourse with the students and enjoying the love of art on an evening where art was the foundation to the development of young Latino students.
Chief Saul Serrano