PRESS RELEASE / COMUNICADO DE PRENSA
La Casita Cultural Center
109 Otisco St., Syracuse, NY 13204
CONTACT: Luma Trilla – Tel. 315-443-2151
La Casita Cultural Center kicks off Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 with an exhibition program that explores urban culture, life in the barrios, graffiti, hip-hop, reggaeton, and the inner city Latinx communities.
SYRACUSE, NY: La Casita Cultural Center celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a grand opening full of music, dance and a new exhibit on September 13, 2019, starting at < 6:00pm. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. A traditional Caribbean menu and refreshments will be served. Opening will include special performances by Raíces dance troupe, and by Dominque’s Dance Creations. La Casita Cultural Center is located at 109 Otisco St, Syracuse NY, 13204.
A new exhibition titled “Pa’ La Calle” (To the Streets), presents the work of Syracuse-based, up and coming artist Bennie Guzmán. The opening reception will be the kick- off event for the 2019 Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month commemorative program at La Casita. As with previous annual exhibitions at La Casita, Pa’ la calle sets the central theme for a series of events and programs that will examine urban cultures, life in the barrio, street art, graffiti, hip-hop and reggaeton throughout the 2019-20 academic year. “I believe that art is the best way to start a conversation,” says Guzmán. “And I believe that for the youth in this community, where Hip-Hop, reggaeton and graffiti art are so prevalent, this is the language we need to use in order to have that conversation.”
“Pa’ la calle / To The Streets” features a collection of paintings, a series of portraits that recognize prominent Latinos and Latinas of Syracuse who are committed to the continued development and well-being of this community and who are enthusiastic partners in support of La Casita’s programs. Portraits include Gregorio Jimenez, executive director of the Near Westside Initiative; Bea Gonzalez, vice president of Community Engagement at Syracuse University; José Miguel Hernández Hurtado, artistic director of La Joven Guardia del Teatro Latino; Hugo Acosta and Marisol Hernández, publisher and editor in chief of CNY Latino, among other members of this community.
Guzmán also worked with a group of teens from the Westside and other local communities to create a mural inspired by the dreams and aspirations of these young talents in our Latinx community. The Spanish Action League’s One Team-One Dream youth program partnered in this project that was completed over the month of July this summer.
“This project is about engaging with our community in new ways,” said Guzman. “It’s about taking all the positive things that come from this community and putting them on display for everyone to see.”
Bennie Guzman’s work as an artist is dedicated to sharing the narratives and lived experiences of marginalized communities. He was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and received a B.A. from Colgate University in Art & Art History, specializing in Studio Art and English. He is currently a member of the staff at La Casita in charge of media outreach and communications.
Lyrics of Reggaeton
The exhibition opening will be followed by a panel discussion titled “Letra del Reggaeton / Lyrics of Reggaeton” on October 16 starting at 6:00pm at La Casita. Admission will be free and open to the public. A group of SU scholars, faculty, students and local DJs will have an open dialogue about the controversial nature of hip-hop and reggaeton lyrics, the global impact on these genres in the music industry, and its undisputed success in conquering young markets in almost every culture worldwide. Panelists will include Syracuse University professors Todd Herreman, specialist in Music Industry; David Knapp, expert on Arab Hip-Hop; Biko Gray, author of Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip-Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues. They will be joined by Hasan Stephens, Director of Good Life Youth Foundation and professional DJ; Liamna Pestana Roche, student at Setnor School of Music who will talk about the ban on Reggaeton in her native Cuba, and Roberto Pérez, professional Latin music DJ and co-founder of La Familia de la Salsa.