Piedmont Arts brings Celebración de las Artes to MHC

October 9, 2015

The Harvest Foundation has awarded a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! (PUP!) grant to Piedmont Arts for a celebration of Latino/Hispanic culture.

The Celebración de las Artes will highlight the art, music, dance, literature and other aspects of the culture of the area’s Latino/Hispanic population.

“With Martinsville-Henry County’s growing Latino/Hispanic population — 5.2 percent in Henry County and 4.4 percent in Martinsville — it is important to provide programming that resonates culturally with our community,” Piedmont Arts stated in its application for the grant.

“Through a series of visual arts, performing arts and educational outreach, Piedmont Arts will be exploring and highlighting Latin American arts and culture,” said PAA Executive Director Kathy Rogers. “Through Celebración de las Artes, we hope to elevate the appreciation and understanding of Latin American arts and culture in our community.”

The celebration will include events and programs starting in mid-October and continuing into 2016. Highlights include:

  • Oct. 17-Jan. 2: Aura: Works of Juan Francisco Adaro and Ten Days in Havana. The works of Adaro, a former street artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be on display in PAA’s main galleries.

  • Also, photographer David Spear documented his time in Cuba with a series of color photographs, Ten Days in Havana. Those photographs will be on display in the Pannill gallery along with works of Cuban artist Felix Suarez Merlin from Spear’s private collection.

  • Oct. 29-31: The Latin Ballet of Virginia will perform here. From the fury of the flamenco to the tango, from classical ballet to modern dance, the troupe weaves the tales and traditions of Hispanic culture.

  • The ballet also will provide in-school programming for area students and participate in a free Family Day on Oct. 31, focusing on The Day of the Dead’s cultural traditions. Piedmont Arts will engage 8 to 10 children aged 8-12 to participate with the ballet during its public performance and the Family Day event.

  • Nov. 19: Andes Manta, a group of South American musicians, will present a public performance and in-school programs at five area elementary schools. Andes Manta plays more than 35 traditional instruments to bring the Andean universe to North American audiences. Andean music is one of the few prehistoric culture forms to survive 500 years of European occupation of South America. The group has performed at Carnegie Hall, on the Discovery Channel, at the National Cathedral and at Lincoln Center as well as at hundreds of schools and universities.

  • Piedmont Arts also will host a screening of the short film The Last Ice Merchant at the Rives Theatre, coordinated with a talk and demonstration by Andes Manta. The film tells the story of cultural change in the Andes Mountains.

  • Dec. 12: Feliz Navidad Free Family Day will celebrate holiday traditions in Latin America.

Also during this time, PAA will hold a family night coordinated with area schools for English as a Second Language (ESL) students and their families. A panel discussion with local members of the Latino-Hispanic community, in partnership with the New College Institute, will be held to foster greater understanding of the immigrant experience.

The Blue Ridge Regional Library also will create a book display of Latin authors and is planning a book discussion.

PAA hopes the Celebración de las Artes will result in an increased sense of belonging to the local community among area Hispanic/Latino residents and their increased involvement in Piedmont Arts activities, performances and events. It also plans to create bilingual visitors’ guides and gallery guides in the future.

“We’re proud to support Piedmont Arts and their work to deliver quality, educational programming about the Hispanic/Latino community to Martinsville and Henry County,” said DeWitt House, program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “They’ve created many successful partnerships with local organizations, including Blue Ridge Regional Library, our area schools and New College Institute, to bring Celebración de las Artes programming to our students. It’s a great learning opportunity for us all to appreciate a different culture.”

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! small grants program is designed to engage more people and organizations in the transformation of Henry County and Martinsville. The goal is to encourage everyone to “pick up the pace” to make this a community of choice, Harvest has stated.

The Harvest Foundation was created in 2002 from the proceeds of the sale of Memorial Hospital. It researches and responsibly invests in programs and initiatives to address local challenges in health, education, and community vitality.


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