Meet the Jose Cuervo Tradicional Mural Project Finalist

I had the opportunity to attend the Jose Cuervo’s Blank Canvas Event. This event marks the second stage of Jose Cuervo’s Tradicional Mural Project. As part of its mission to support the arts and Latin culture, Jose Cuervo has selected 10 artists from different states to paint an original mural inspired by Latin culture.

Each mural will be exhibited in a public center such as a gallery or museum.  The artist are very passionate about what they do and have inspiring stories.  They will be creating original murals in just 30 days!  I had the opportunity to talk with some of the artists.  I was really drawn to Ricardo Gonzalez Aztec serpeant artwork.  I also love Cuban artist Nereida Garcia Ferraz work.

The winner will be selected by public vote in late October.  Please take the time to visit the the Facebook Page and vote for your favorite artist at http://facebook.com/losamigosdejose.  The unveiling will take place in Chicago on November 8.

 

The Mural Project Finalists
 Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado, Southern California
Fidencio Duran, Northern California
Nancy Saleme & Patricia Cazorla, New York
Carlos Ibarra, Arizona
Diego Rodriguez-Warner, Washington
Adriana M. Garcia, Texas
Frances de la Rosa, Georgia
Adolfo R. Gonzales, Nevada
Nereida Garcia Ferraz, Florida
Ricardo Gonzalez, Illinois

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  I received an invite to attend the event.  All opinions are my own.

Question:   Have you seen a mural? What type of art inspires you?  

Roadtrip – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

My heritage is both Mexican and American with a huge influence on Latino culture due to my upbringing by a Latina Mom in Mexico and border town of San Ysidro, CA.  I embrace my bicultural heritage and through the Latino Heritage road trip discovered Hispanic Heritage across America and influence of Hispanics in each of the places we visited.

I had the pleasure of visiting the White Sands National Monument during our Latino Heritage road trip.   The visitor center and monument is located  on U.S. Highway 70, 52 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.   The white as snow dunes were created over three million years ago and look like a comma from outer space.  The White Sands National National Monument was established in 1933 and is one of the world’s natural wonders.

The visitor facilities has a lot of Hispanic influence and was constructed over a period of six years during the Great Depression.   The building was designed to reflect traditional regional Pueblo architecture in the area.  The architects also relied  on the local craftspeople including Hispanic woodcarvers for some of intricate designs.  I really admired the workmanship, latillas and vigas of this adobe building.

The visitor center also features a fully bilingual state of the art museum exhibits with English and Spanish text.  The exhibits provide the history of the architecture of the adobe visitor center and tell the story of the geology of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, unique plants and animals.

After checking out the exhibits we headed towards the sand dunes.  I jumped out of the car and started snapping photos and literally dancing in the Sand.  This place is phenomenal! It’s a beautiful site to be on top of a White Sand Dune. You can also walk on the dunes with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months.  The sand feels cool and soft to the touch.  White Sands Monument is also very popular among hikers and photographers nationwide.

I also had the opportunity to interview two National Park Service Rangers during our visit as well who shared tips for visiting the glistening White Sands National Monument.

 


If you’re planning a recreational or educational trip to New Mexico head on over to the White Sands National Monument, bring a camera and stay awhile.  Some of the best Park Ranger guided events are scheduled around sun down. We’re definitely coming back! Plan your trip here: http://www.nps.gov/whsa

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino FundVerizon Wireless & General Motors.  The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors.  All opinions and content rights are my own.

Question:  Did you know that the National Parks have online resources to help you discover historical sites in your local city or nationwide? Have you ever planned a roadtrip or a vacation to learn more about your heritage?

Roadtrip – Casa Grande Ruins National Monument – Coolidge, Arizona

Our Latino Heritage road trip continued towards the Southwest to Coolidge, Arizona.  We had the opportunity to obtain a guided  tour of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument with the National Park Service Superintendent, Karl Cordova.  His staff is  dedicated to conserving, preserving, and providing an atmosphere for recreation at the Casa Grande Ruins.  They also reach out to the local community and visit local schools.

The Casa Grande Monument is one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America. It is the first prehistoric and cultural site in the United States.   The four story structure was built around 1300 and is located about an hour drive from Phoenix, AZ and Tuscon, AZ.  The protected area spans about 472.5 acres.  It’s purpose remains a mystery.

 

The area is also home to the largest cactus in the United States, the Saguaro cactus.  A mature Saguaro cactus is about 40-50 feet tall, 125 years old and weighs about 6 tons.   I felt so small next to the Saguaro cactus.  The cactus was a source of food and the wood was used to create tools.

As I walked towards the structure it’s very hard to imagine that a structure made out of sand, calcium carbonate & clay is still standing after over 650 years.  We learned that the area also didn’t have any water which must have made it a challenge to obtain and transport water during the period.  The ancient Sonoran people did all their building without the basic tools similar to what we use today.  Their basic tools were their hands, a digging stick and a planting stick.  It’s amazing how much they accomplished.  It’s obvious that the Sonoran desert people were very resourceful and innovative.

In speaking with the Superindendent, he advised that Archeologists discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E.

The next time you’re near Tucson or Phoenix, Arizona consider going to the Casa Grande and explore the history.   It will be an educational opportunity for the entire family.   To discover our shared heritage at National Park Services find out what is happening in your local community or order a map of National Park Museums in the Southwest and other regions at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/orderform.htm and plan your next roadtrip.


 

The #LatinoHeritage roadtrip celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  For additional information regarding the Casa Grande Ruins, please visit http://www.nps.gov/cagr.  For additional information regarding the American Latino Heritage programs,  check www.alhf.org and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag on Twitter.

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino Fund, Verizon Wireless & General Motors.  The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors.  All opinions and content rights are my own.

Question:  Did you know that the National Park Service is honored to connect with people in local communities?   Have you visited any local National Parks are near your community?  What is your favorite local National Park to visit?

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