A festival for Latine art

Center for Latin@ Studies and Office of International Education hosts 'cultural celebración'

The 2023 “Latine Cultural Celebración” will be a festival filled with color and art, honoring the resilience of Latin culture.

The festival is a collaboration between the Center for Latin@ Studies and the Office of International Education, and it will be held on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Digital animation and game design freshman Sherlyn Trejo-Villegas works at the CLS and says the carnival is going to be a great way to showcase the center’s importance and offer students an enriching cultural experience.

“It’s a new event to CLS this year, but it’s something that we’re really excited about,” Trejo-Villegas said. “We’re going to be showcasing specifically the resilient Dominican Republic carnivals, and we’re gonna be talking about the history of why the carnivals are there in the first place.”

According to Promesa Scholars Coordinator Massiel Calderon, the carnival is inspired by the parties that occur in the Dominican Republic and Brazil. She says both countries hold big celebrations throughout the months of February and March, and they hold ties to their histories from colonization.

Dominican masks are hand made and decorated with bright colors to match the energy of the canival. Meghan Hartley | Demo 64

“[The carnival] is going to have a little bit of social advocacy and awareness because the carnival grew from slavery in the Dominican Republic, and it also is a representation of the community and the people on the streets in Brazil,” Calderon said. “It really is a celebration that belongs to the people, not something that corporations put on… The Americans once were colonized by the Spaniards, and they were not allowed to celebrate their spirituality. They were allowed a little bit of time to express themselves, and then the carnival grew from that into something bigger.”

Both countries will be represented through an educational presentation delivered by the CLS and the OIE, and will include music, dance and costumes. Trejo-Villegas and Calderon said the CLS has spent some time in obtaining authentic Dominican costumes to show a bit of their culture.

“Obtaining the costumes was the most difficult part because these costumes are not readily available everywhere,” Calderon said. “Even in New York, where there’s a larger Dominican population… It was difficult to just get one from over there. We had to obtain the costumes to create an educational component.”

Authentic Dominican costumes are handmade, take weeks to prepare and must be handled with care during transit. The same goes for authentic Dominican masks, which will also be appearing at the carnival.

Trejo-Villegas says the mask that will be displayed is taller than herself, and she is 5 feet, 4 inches. Many of these masks can reach up to 16 feet tall. Attendees will be able to see how much work goes into these colorfully detailed masterpieces.

The carnival will be in the ballrooms of the David L. Eisler Center on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. It will be preceded by a Latino film festival on Feb. 20, 21 and 22, which is also being hosted by the CLS and OIE. For more information, students can contact either of the two offices or head to Bulldog Connect.