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Artist Robert García honored at Barrio Latino Art Fest

By Federico Martínez, Special to La Prensa

There were stunning abstract drawings by Toledo artist Rubén García, breath-taking culturally-themed paintings by muralist José Martínez and deeply personal self-portraits by Delphina Zapata; a small representation of the talented artists whose works were on display at the Barrio Latino Art Festival, Saturday, at The Providence Center for Social and Economic Empowerment in the city’s Old South End.

The third annual event attracted hundreds of people despite bone-chilling temperatures and strong winds. In addition to artist displays, the festival featured a car show, performances by Ballet El Corazón de México, a Zumba Party, children’s activities, and a Jalapeño eating contest.

Barrio Latino Distinguished Artist Award
winner Robert García and Barrio Latino Art Festival committee president Linda Parra

“The purpose of the event is to promote the art and talent we have in our community,” said Linda Parra, president of the festival committee. She is also founder of Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc., a non-profit, Toledo-based organization that provides educational, social service and public safety services to the Latino community.

Longtime local artist Robert García was the recipient of the Barrio Latino Distinguished Artist Award. The glass award was shaped like a large cross.

Ms. Zapata was one among several local artists featured at the event, which also included: Martinez, Rubén García, Mario Dario, and Cecilio Garcia. The artists are members of the Organization of Latino Artists (OLA), a local group that promotes multicultural art by helping local youths develop their artistic skills and using art to beautify Toledo.

”We do have some great talented artists in Toledo,” said Ms. Zapata, who serves as president of the artist organization.  “But we don’t see a lot of our Latino artists represented out there in local galleries; we need to push for that.”

Ms. Zapata is a multi-talented artists who not only a canvas painter, she creates a variety of unique, hand-made products ranging from jewelry, wreaths, wooden skulls that are popular during the holiday El Día de los Muertos. She also uses a variety of items, such as cowboy hats as a canvas for her artistic talents.

“I have creative Attention Deficit Disorder,” Ms. Zapata joked. “I get bored of painting, so I put down the brush and move to the next thing to keep things fresh. “I think anything can be considered art. I’ve seen installation art strung from ceiling.

“It’s all about creativity and how far you can push it.”

Many people are artists but don’t realize is, she said. People who do print-making, air-brushing and metal work sculpting are all forms of art.

This year’s festival kicked off with some opening remarks by Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and a noon blessing by Padre Juan Francisco Molina, priest at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church. Father Molina is a strong supporter of art programs and the positive impact it can have on people, especially youths. Art provides youth an opportunity to express themselves, he said.

“A high school student may not have exposure to all the mediums of art,” said Ms. Zapata. “OLA’s goal is to reach those students – they could have talent and not even know it.”

Performances by El Corazón De Mexico folkloric dance group had festival attendees cheering loudly and prompted drivers passing by Broadway to pause and watch. The dance group, which has youth and adults, took turns performing dances native to the various states of Mexico.

Nalleli Balderas, 14, a 9th grader at Toledo’s Early College, has been dancing with the group for 9 ½ years.

“It’s cool to be involved with traditional dances and share your culture,” the young Balderas said.

Elaina Hernández of Toledo founded the dance group in 1996 with nine members, which included her husband. Today the group boasts over 50 dancers who perform 140 concerts per year. They have performed in 11 states.

Proceeds raised during the festival will be given to four local non-profit organizations, including The Toledo Seagate Foodbank, OLA, The Providence Center, and Nuestra Gente.

The Festival Committee included: Ms. Parra, Ms. Zapata, Jennifer Jacobs, CEO of The Providence Center, Mindy Rapp, program manager at Toledo Seagate Food Bank, and Robert Torres, executive director of the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/07/14 22:56:53 -0700.




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