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10th annual Latino Art Fair expands to two days to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo weekend

Artist Chele Ramos (Photo supplied.)

Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development (LOUD), Overture Center for the Arts, and Madison Symphony Orchestra are partnering to host the 10th annual Latino Art Fair May 3-4 as the annual event expands to two days to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

The Latino Art Fair was started back in the day to showcase the richness of the Latino culture in south central Wisconsin and to engage the greater Madison community in celebrating its affinity for the arts. Over the years it has grown quite a bit incorporating more and more Latinx artists from throughout the area.

“I want to acknowledge the role that [Fitchburg Mayor] Julia Aratta-Frata played in starting the Latino Art Fair, back when she was president of the Latino Chamber [of Commerce]. We wouldn’t be here after 10 years if she didn’t have the vision to get it started,” Oscar Mireles, founder and executive director of Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development (LOUD), tells Madison365. “I’m also thankful for Jessica [Cavazos] when she was executive director of the Latino Chamber she decided to partner with the Overture Center and through that partnership, we really started bringing in diverse artists and diverse audiences to the event.

“The first event was at Centro [Hispano] in their big lobby, as I remember, and I could never imagine that 10 years later it would be this big and draw this many people,” Mireles adds.

The Latino Art Fair weekend kicks off on Friday, May 3, as the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a gallery night from 5-9 p.m. at the Common Wealth Gallery, 100 S. Baldwin St. “The theme is ‘Freedom and Independence’ and we will have 13 great artists,” Mireles says. “Each of the artists is working on their own piece in their own home and in their own studio. There are so many different colors being used and different images and it’s just exciting to pull it together. We have just some very talented artists and most of them are local.”

Artists that will be featured in the Latino Art Fair Exhibition, titled Cinco De Mayo: Freedom and Independence Exhibition, will include Matthew Braunginn, Sharon Bjyrd, Amira Caire, Natalie Ergas, Ray Hernandez Issis Macias, Tahani Muchacho, Chele RamosErika Rosales, Christie Tirado,  Adam Villegas, and Sophia Voelker.

Local Latinx artists Chele Ramos and Issis Macias were selected as the Micaela Salinas Artist in Residence Fellowship and received free studio space as part of the Latino Art Fair at Common Wealth Gallery.

“Having this space at Common Wealth Gallery has allowed me to paint big and with new perspective. The natural light shining in through the large windows has allowed me to see the colors more clearly, and the tall ceilings and large space have helped me to paint with more movement,” Ramos says.

Artist Issis Macias
“The impact of having a private space for creating is that I can create uninhibited with my music up high. What a freeing experience it’s been for me. I truly appreciate being chosen for this opportunity,” Ramos adds.

Artist Issis Macias says that access to studio space for a month has been “truly transformative for me.”

“Amidst the chaos of motherhood, it provides a much-needed sanctuary, reigniting my passion for art. Here, I can escape the daily demands and fully immerse myself in painting at a larger scale at Common Wealth Gallery.

“I am deeply grateful to LOUD and the Micaela Salinas Artist fellowship for this invaluable opportunity, which serves as undeniable proof that such support can significantly foster artistic growth”

The Overture Center for the Arts will host the 10th annual Latino Art Fair on Saturday, May 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The national award-winning Latino Arts Strings Program will perform.

“We’re bringing in a youth mariachi from Milwaukee. I actually helped found the organization Latino Arts of Milwaukee about 40 years ago when I was working at the United Community Center so it’s nice to come full circle,” Mireles says. “The Latino Arts Strings Program are amazing, talented youth. They have performed at two different White House events. And they performed at the Martin Luther King event here at the State Capitol for a couple of years.”

The national award-winning Latino Arts Strings Program will perform at the Latino Art Fair.

Some of the members of Mariachi Los Camperos, a group from Los Angeles that will be performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. that night as part of its Fiesta Finale concert at Overture, will be doing instrument demonstrations during the Latino Art Fair.

Cumbia Cachaca will also perform at the 10th Annual Latino Art Fair: The event will also be a chance to honor the country of Mexico and its partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee.

The Mexican Consulate has been a key resource for passports and other documentation for many Latinos across the state,” Mireles says.

Mireles adds that he’s excited that the Latino Art Fair will be coinciding with the Cinco de Mayo weekend. “It will be a special event,” he says. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

For more information about the 10th annual Latino Art Fair, contact Oscar Mireles at (608) 695-2474 or [email protected]