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Poe Park Visitor Center Online Gallery: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Join NYC Parks and Poe Park Visitor Center in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a look at artworks by emerging and established artists from New York City whose works are inspired by the rich culture, history, and pride of ancestry. 

About Poe Park Visitor Center

Poe Park Visitor Center is a community hub at Poe Park in the Bronx that offers art, literature, fitness, and community events. Due to the pandemic, the center is closed until further notice and the gallery has temporarily moved online. 

Natalie N. Caro

Collage of a girl, pieces of beige, purple, and lilac paper, the word flashback, and a page from a magazine that shows the definitions of the words insurgence, insurgency, insurgent, insurmountable, insurrection, insusceptible, inswathe, intact, and intaglio

Flashback
Who or what are insurgents in a society?
12 x 12, paper collage/cut-up
Works cited: Young lords party magazine, 2016

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Collage of a girl, pieces of beige, purple, and lilac paper, the word flashback, and a page from a dictionary that shows the definitions of the words insurgence, insurgency, insurgent, insurmountable, insurrection, insusceptible, inswathe, intact, and intaglio
A bunch of flowers growing from a stem is placed on a large brown leaf which lies on a page with redacted text. The title of the page is Latino history: An Interchange on Present Realities and Future Prospects
View from the behind of a naked person part of a collage of silver and lilac patches, a painting of an oceanside, and a page from a history book that shows a list of related articles about slavery
A collage that includes an article from a May 2012 issue of Allure magazine about etiquette at functions with a cut out image of a man looking at the ocean added to the section called Keep It Simple, a pink patch with flower drawings in red, an image of a woman with blonde hair looking into the ocean, the words Artist Talk, and the following words diagonally placed at the top right of the image: Enclosed is your identification card. The law requires that you keep this card in your possession at all times.

Artist Statement: Artist Natalie N. Caro uses found materials and juxtaposes contemporary art, canonical works, historical documents, and scientific inquiry against one another in hopes of questioning old mythologies. Inspiring a deeper discussion of history and its collection in real time, these works seek to be conversation starters.

Elsie Deliz

Portrait of a woman sitting behind a bunch of red hibiscus flowers as she looks downward smiling

"La Poeta" Julia de Burgos
18 x 24, mixed media and watercolor, 2020

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Portrait of a woman sitting behind a bunch of red hibiscus flowers as she looks downward smiling
A woman with a bob wearing a yellow blouse and blue shorts slouches in a chair with her hands on her hips as she faces forward
A near mirrored image of two black birds sitting on a branch, each in front of a broad tropical leaf with many lobes.
Painting of flowers in red and yellow with seedpods
Red frill-like flowers blossom and bloom from a green plant. The edges of the flowers are yello

About Artist Elsie Deliz
Elsie's artwork is inspired by Puerto Rico's natural beauty and its people. She is a mixed media artist and printmaker who draws her artistic influences from nature and the environment. Through the use of mixed media techniques, Elsie experiments, and creates a variety of freeform art pieces. Her work has been exhibited in several gallers in New York and at the Museo de Historia de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Elsie's work is currently on display at the Taller Boricua Gallery in New York. 

Monica Flores

Artist Statement: Before the outbreak of COVID-19, I had the honor of traveling with my grandparents to their hometown “Tulcingo de Valle” which is located in Puebla, Mexico. Three of these images were made within the last six months of COVID-19, a period in history that has affected all aspects of society across the globe. My work is an ode to family, ancestry, and the importance of grounding one’s self during the trials and tribulations of life.

blue and white image of items on display, which include skulls, decorative items, hand fans, and musical instruments,

Artesanias de Puebla, Mexico
8 x 7, hand-coated Cyanotype on watercolor paper, 2020

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blue and white image of items on display, which include skulls, decorative items, hand fans, and musical instruments,
blue and white image of a close up of a hand, palm up over a florally-tiled surface. In the palm is a heart-shaped portrait of a woman
blue and white image of an outline of a person, hands raised and clasped while pointing upwards. The outline is filled in with vegetation. The outline  is surrounded by drawings of leaves, butterflies, and birds

Maria Teresa Giancoli

Mary Teresa Giancoli’s prints from the series "Bailes en Tulum" depicts night performances of folkloric, regional dances in the coastal town of Tulum, where the Mayan site and ruins meet the beach vibe, and extend to the blue green waters of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Giancoli’s Mexican portfolios are an extension of her decade long investigation of the Mexican community in New York.

a man approaches a woman dressed in traditional wear, white shirt, a colorful tulle skirt, beads around her neck, and colorful flower-like hair decorations, as she dances on the dance floor

Son Samba Dance, Tulum
8 x 10, color archival print, 2015

I took this image at a folkloric festival in Tulum, Mexico, featuring a dance with elements of Cuban Son. At night, I use a soft focus that blurs the dancers' movement.

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a man approaches a woman dressed in traditional wear, white shirt, a colorful tulle skirt, beads around her neck, and colorful flower-like hair decorations, as she dances on the dance floor
couples dance on a stage during a performance. The men are wearing white shirts and black pants and the woman wear long yellow skirts and white shirts
Women dressed in white long dresses dance into the night at a performance
Two couples prepare to dance against the backdrop of a turtle mosaic on a wall

About Artist Maria Teresa Giancoli
Mary Teresa Giancoli’s videos and photographs have been exhibited at Plaxall Gallery, Local Project, Jeffrey Leder Gallery and La Guardia Community College, all in LIC, and AIR Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, and Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. As a Swing Space Artist in Residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, she edited Cuetzalan, a portfolio exploring dance and rituals among women’s communities in the Puebla region of Mexico. Cuetzalan was funded through USA Projects, and exhibited as a solo show at Mama Art Café, San Francisco. 

Rick Kearns, Coyotes of the Bronx

Artist statement: The poem Coyotes of the Bronx grew out of two memories. The first involves a story told to me by my friend Arturo. He had lived in the Bronx up until the late '60s or early '70s, and he didn’t come back until 1985. Upon his return, Arturo was shocked and depressed to see that his old neighborhood was gone, and he said, “Now you see it, now you don’t.” Just as he was saying those words, I remembered my encounters with coyotes about seven years earlier. I had been living in Tucson, Arizona. And I know I had said the same thing about the coyotes, how they seemed to appear and disappear in an instant. Fast forward 35 years and I began hearing stories of coyotes in New York. I did a bit of research and found that they had first appeared in the Bronx before migrating to the big island. I also read that many of these new residents were wolf/coyote hybrids, which in turn made me think of the wolves who used to live in this region when the Lenape were still here. I muse that the new coyotes are descendants of those wolves. Now you see them. Maybe it’s our turn to disappear.

About Artist Rick Kearns
Rick Kearns is a poet, freelance writer, and musician of Boricua (Puerto Rican) and European heritage from Harrisburg, Pa. He was named Poet Laureate of Harrisburg in January 2014. His poems have appeared in over 80 journals including The Massachusetts Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly, The Patterson Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Letras (lit review of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, NY), and Chicago Review. Kearns’ poems are also in two books, five national anthologies, two international anthologies, and seven chapbooks. Several of his poems have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. He has given readings throughout the United States since 1992, including at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in Manhattan and Capicu in Brooklyn. His poetry is also featured in "The Moon Rides a Black Horse" CD, combining his poetry and jazz performed by the Con Alma Quartet (with whom he collaborated between 2010-2014).

Gladys LaFrossia, Coqui Taino

Black and white woodwork image of a coqui at the the center of the piece. The artwork is bordered by several carved out drawings of the coqui

5 x 7, woodprint, 2013

She is inspired by her culture and symbols, especially Taino symbols of Puerto Rico. She expresses her thoughts and sentiments to draw the viewer into a dialogue about passion and life. 

About Artist Gladys LaFrossia
Gladys Rosas-LaFrossia, the daughter of Puerto Rican and Colombian parents, has always been passionate about art. She was born, raised, and still resides in the Bronx, NY. Trained in the Fine Arts, she has recently focused on printmaking and crafting. Through the use of simplified, but bold lines, Gladys produces images full of emotion and meaningfulness. Gladys is currently a high school studio art teacher. Her artwork has been previously exhibited in several galleries across New York City, including Galleria del Barrio, Focal Point Gallery, El Fogon Center of the Arts, Bruckner Art Gallery, and Leman College galleries.

Michael Mendel, El Ritmo De La Habana 1939

The image is a drawing of a drum with the word amor on top, drum sticks to the side, an image in a snow globe like object, a view of palm trees against the backdrop of churches, birds in the sunset and a couple dancing in the shadows. Words above the scenery read: el rite de la Habana 1939.

Artist Statement: I was a resident of Havana, Cuba in the 1930s. I was but a four-year-old child when my parents and I first landed in Havana. Escaping from Nazi Germany, our initial goal was to go to America, but our voyage was cut short when the United States placed a quota on the number of immigrants allowed in. As a young lad, I learned the Spanish language with ease and served as an interpreter for my parents. As time passed, I was woven into Cuban life and was drawn to its culture. Now as a fine artist and at the age of 86 reflecting on experiences and remembrances of Cuban life, I created a watercolor painting that was designed to become a major poster, containing elements reflecting life on the island in the late 1930s.

Michelle Pappas, Frida

Image of a calavera-like painting of artist Frida Kahlo with flowers in her hair as she stands against a purple ornate background

Artist Statement: After first seeing Frida Kahlo's piece, The Broken Column, and learning about her life I've been captivated by her work. Despite her pain and physical suffering, she became an icon for many through her art. I created this piece as a appreciative portrait, as well as an to attempt to capture her love for her heritage. From her 143 paintings, 55 of them were brutally honest self portraits that express her response to the misfortunes she faced in her life. Her work wasn't fully appreciated in her lifetime but she has still become a role model to her culture, feminists, people with disablilities, and to the bisexual community.

Vincent Salas 

Painting of a shaman healer against a red background

Inside Shaman’s Head
15 x 10, acrylic and collage

The Shaman is a healer, inspired by my Puerto Rican Heritage. I see the Shaman as my own sense of spirituality. Without prayer or my connection to my ancestors, the confusion, chaos, and anxieties in my mind might take over. This is a kind of self-portrait of myself and my inner Shaman, to heal and to empower me to trust in my higher powers.

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Painting of a shaman healer against a red background
Painting of shamans in motion and surrounded by various objects against a dark blue background

About Artist Vincent Salas 
A self-taught Puerto Rican artist, social, political, and spiritual issues are of great importance to his work. In 1975, he emerged on canvas with my graffiti name — DO IT — and became a member of the Nation of Graffiti Artists (N.O.G.A.) combined in spray paint with collage and construction. His work continued in many forms, including found objects, mixed media, construction, collage, acrylic, watercolors, and mixed media installations. He curated many alternative gallery spaces for 15 years, including the Food Stamp Gallery – two large windows in a Cashier Store in East Harlem, where he showed works by a variety of artists and community groups dealing with issues such as homelessness, drug addiction, gentrification, AIDS, and police brutality, to name a few. He also curated Galleria Boricua – 12 showcase windows in the lobby of Boricua College in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Hispanic Culture Arts presents Sevillanas Siglo xviii

As part of the concert "Music and Dance in the times of the Duchess of Alba", mezzo Anna Tonna, dancer Anna de la Paz, and guitarist Rupert Boyd perform an arrangement of Sevillanas Siglo xvii for escuela bolera dance at the Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library in New York City, in front of the celebrated portrait of The Duchess of Alba by Francisco Goya.

About the Hispanic Culture Arts
The Hispanic Culture Arts exposes students to a variety of cultural expressions in the classical Hispanic arts, facilitates the discovery of the arts as a vehicle for creativity and personal expression, and makes connections between classical Hispanic arts and modern life in New York City.

Gregorio A. Velez

Painting of men walking along the beach, each with a string of caught fish. The person in the middle shows a thumbs up, the person at the end shows two fingers like the peace sign

Bonanza
31 x 51, oil on plywood, 2018

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Painting of men walking along the beach, each with a string of caught fish. The person in the middle shows a thumbs up, the person at the end shows two fingers like the peace sign
A woman with her hair wrapped up and barefoot uses a large wooden ladle to stir the food over a fire. There is fish on a table on the side under where a bunch of green bananas are placed
A man tends to a drum on a table in an indoor space where there are drumsticks of a bookshelf of shells and a bottle, a bird pecks at food on the floor, out the door there is a facet running
Material weaved, placed together, and painted to form a raised, right-handed fist

About Artist Gregorio A. Velez
Gregorio A. Velez is a visual and performing artist who derives inspiration to create from the Cubism style of painting.

"I find in it a rebellious freedom that creates harmony from chaos. The interlocking of the pieces and the gradient in shading allow for aesthetically-pleasing and well-balanced works. Focusing on the subjective interpretation of abstract visual works, I like to tell a story with a past, present, and future that touches the intimate psyche of what being human is about. Overcoming obstacles and barriers to enlightment and spiritual growth, and the juxtaposition and amalgamation of spiritual concepts are the central themes of many of my creations." - Gregorio Velez

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