Artists Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Howland Center

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and each year, the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon joins the national celebration with an art exhibition recognizing accomplished Latino-American artists of the Hudson Valley.

This exhibition, Despertar La Más Profunda Expresión; Awakening the Deepest Expression, will be shown at the Center from Sept. 1 – 30. Later in the month, on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m., Alfredo Bejar, an acclaimed documentary artist, will show Imagining Mina, about Peru’s hero boxer, followed by a discussion with the artist. 

Thirteen artists, Jose Acosta, Salvador Arellano, Alfredo Bejar, Aurelio Castaño, Rafael Figueroa, José Gómez, Nestor Madalengoitia, Wilfredo Morel, Elisa Pritzker, Misael Rios, Fel Santos, Marisa del Pozo Slick and Luis Valentin, will exhibit in a multimedia diversity of paintings, sculpture, photography and jewelry.

For the 18th consecutive year, the Howland Cultural Center takes pride in joining this celebration of Hispanic traditions, which have had a profound effect on the development and fabric of this nation. These annual exhibitions draw attention to the diversity and talent of Latino-American artists who have established renowned reputations for their art not only locally and nationally, but also internationally.

Formal recognition of Hispanic-Americans began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, and the observance was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration to honor the nation’s Hispanic heritage.

During the month-long celebration, Americans celebrate the traditions, ancestry and unique experiences of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, and the countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean. The artists featured in this show claim heritage in a number of Hispanic countries: Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Columbia, Argentina and Puerto Rico.

According to the most recent U.S. Census, 45.5 million people were identified as Hispanic, and 15 percent of the nation’s total population is Hispanic, making it the largest minority group in the United States, and growing larger each year.

From the 15th century, when Spanish explorers first landed in the Western Hemisphere, the history and development of America and this nation in particular can be attributed to the integral role Hispanics have played by their influence in all areas of American society.

Hispanic contributions exist in many professions and fields, including education, law, government, business, science, sports, entertainment, and the arts. Hispanics were and are astronauts, athletes, doctors, teachers, lawyers, and scientists, and so much more.

They also have a proud tradition of serving bravely in the United States Armed Forces in all of this nation’s wars, from the Revolution to modern times, earning more than three dozen Medals of Honor and numerous distinguished military decorations for their leadership, courage and patriotism.

The Howland Cultural Center welcomes this opportunity to honor and celebrate the richness of Hispanic-American culture, which is very much a part of this nation’s unique diversity.

The art gallery at the Howland Cultural Center is open from 1 – 5 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for public viewing; there is no admission fee but donations are always welcome. An exception to this gallery schedule is on Sunday, Sept. 23, when the gallery is closed to the general viewing public for a Howland Chamber Music Circle concert featuring the Walden Chamber Players at 4 p.m.

The Howland Cultural Center is located at 477 Main St. in Beacon. For further information call 845-831-4988 or visit howlandculturalcenter.org.

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