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Whitewater Arts Alliance to Celebrate Latino Art and Latin Music

April at the Whitewater Arts Alliance's Cultural Arts Center, 402 West Main Street, will celebrate art by Latino artists from both far and near. UW-Whitewater Crossman Gallery Director Michael Flanagan traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico with Emeritus Professor Charles Cottle in January of this year to select prints and drawings to display at the CAC. In addition, the show will feature art by Wisconsin artist Leticia Castillo, by local painter Enrique Esquipula, and by several other area artists; music by the Lincoln Elementary School Mariachi Band and the Mariachi Latino group from Harvard, Illinois; and poetry with UW-Whitewater Professor, Dr. Pilar Melero.

The Latino art exhibit will be on display at the CAC from Thursday, April 6 to Sunday, April 30 on Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Visitors can enjoy the art for FREE.

On Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m., Dr. Pilar Melero will lead poetry readings with "Latino Voices."

On Saturday, April 22 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., two Mariachi bands will perform music for visitors. Lincoln Elementary School's new Mariachi Band, "Mariachi Madness," will perform, as will the Mariachi Latino group, often seen in Whitewater parades. This event is FREE and open to the public.

On Sunday, April 30, local artists and Oaxaca, Mexico artists are planning to be on-hand to greet visitors at a closing reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., where snacks will be served. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Linda Long, President of the Whitewater Arts Alliance said, "We are so excited to celebrate Latino art and Latin music at the CAC. It is fitting that the 10th anniversary of the WAA at the CAC will feature the many talents of a culture that should be recognized."

One of the local artists, Enrique Esquipula, has been living in Whitewater for the last 15 years. He works at Jessica's Family Restaurant, where some of his art is on display. He has worked in oils, watercolor, and acrylics. In 2010-11 his painting, "Trees" won the poster of the year in the Whitewater Arts Alliance's Members show. Enrique enjoyed drawing and painting as a young child, but he began painting seriously eight years ago. Since that time he has sold 72 paintings.

Linda said, "We are so delighted to have local artists like Enrique exhibit at our show, along with the international artists from Oaxaca. One of our goals is to have every resident of Whitewater visit the Cultural Arts Center, and we look forward to many new visitors with this exhibit."

UW-Whitewater Crossman Gallery Director Michael Flanagan traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico with Emeritus Professor Charles Cottle in January of this year to select prints and drawings to display at the CAC in April. Working with their friends and gallery owners Hildebrando Gomez and Alili Lopez, they were able to make arrangements to visit their gallery along with studios of a number of very well regarded artists in Oaxaca.

Flanagan said, "The initial visit to the gallery allowed us to view a large number of works including examples by Shinzaburo Takeda, a Japanese printmaker who has made his home in Oaxaca for many years. Takeda is a professor at UABJO (La Universidad Autónoma Benito Juarez de Oaxaca) and in this role has influenced many of the working artists there."

Flanagan and Cottle visited the studios of Victor Cruz Calderon, Silvia Lopez Castellanos, Argelia Matus Martínez, Ixrael Montes, Tomás Píneda Matus, Edgar Jahir Lopez Trujillo and Esteban Moreno Urbieta. During the studio visits, the artists generously allowed Flanagan to make a selection of their work for the exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center. Each artist has a distinctive approach to their imagery; Esteban Moreno Urbieta creates portraits using coffee and works in a café with a poet who adds text to complete the image. Victor Cruz Calderon uses mica to add relief texture and reflective light to his works. Perhaps one of the most unusual methods of creating artwork belongs to Edgar Jahir Trujillo; he uses the pigment from cochineal beetles to create his vivid red designs. The beetle is found on cactus plants, which Edgar raises and on which he introduces the beetles to grow. The insects are harvested and then dried and ground up to make the natural dye carmine.

Arrangements have been made for Silvia Lopez Castellanos, Victor Cruz Calderon and Edgar Jahir Trujillo to attend the closing reception for the exhibit and also to make presentations on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.