At a party with lots of good food, hundreds of guests, a live band and free drinks, one does not always expect to find art, let alone spirituality.
Not so last night, when between 200 and 250 people made the pilgrimage to Audubon Street to dance to the music of a Latin jazz band, drink mojitos, eat food courtesy of Roomba, and enjoy the party atmosphere of the artists’ reception for the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s “Spirituality in Contemporary Latin American Art” exhibit. The Arts Council is hosting the show in honor of Latino Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Local artists Noriam Agudel, Imna Arroyo, Robert Cardona, Ricky Mestre, Lisie Orjuela, Gloria Ruientiz and Yolanda Vasquez Petriochile all have pieces on display — many of which are on display in the actual offices of the Arts Council, hanging on cubicle walls or in meeting rooms. Pieces ranged from oil on canvas, to sculpture, to photography. Magalis Martinez, a creative-artistic writer, is also associated with the project and wrote a reflective piece that is on display.
Martinez interviewed most of the artists about what spirituality meant to them and how spirituality influenced their art.
“This is something everyone should participate in because it gives people a chance to experience spirituality visually and from different perspectives,” Martinez said.
Although few Yale students attended the reception, Orjuela said she would encourage Yale students and community members to visit the show in the coming weeks.
“Students might find a different perspective on life and art,” Orjuela said. “They should see if they can come here and find something that engages them in a more meaningful and profound way.”
Manny Rivera, the Arts Council’s Director of Community Cultural Development, said he was pleased with the exhibition.
“Things are going great,” Rivera said. “We got a very big crowd, and it’s nice to see people from all over the state and even out of state.”
Biernnay said he thought the art on display had an important message to convey.
“[The exhibit] is important because Latin people have our own point about religion, and it is important that people know why we paint in this way,” Biernnay said.
Chela Belcher, a New Haven resident who attended the reception, said her interest in Latin American history, spirituality, and the Spanish language attracted her to the art on display.
“My love for the Spanish language combined with my interest in Latin American history made this a must-see,” Belcher said. “I love the idea of seeing how other people express spirituality in contemporary life.”
The exhibit, which runs through Oct. 29, is on display in the Small Space Gallery at the Arts Council Building on Audubon Street.