Ocala art museum celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with concerts, galleries

OCALA, Fla. – The Appleton Museum of Art at College of Central Florida is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with free and ticketed events from September to October to honor the different cultures and countries that fall under the Latinx umbrella.

In addition to these seasonal events, the museum installed a new exhibit curated from the permanent collection, “Sintiendo la Exposición,” which shows modern and contemporary Argentinian, Cuban and Mexican artists. Guests can see the sculptures, photographs, prints, drawings and paintings on display through Jan. 8, 2023.

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“Our visionary and philanthropic founder Arthur I. Appleton envisioned the museum as a reflection of the great artistic and cultural traditions from around the world,” Jason Steuber, Appleton director, said in a statement. “Our traditional, modern and contemporary Latin American art exhibitions, musical performances and free events mirror and celebrate our collections and communities.”

Steuber told me you can also see works that are thousands of years old and reflective of your lineage at the exhibit. He said it’s important to understand the context behind the art, like with Cuban photographer Liset Castillo’s still-life pictures.

The Appleton Museum of Art at College of Central Florida is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with free and ticketed events from September to October to honor the different cultures and countries that fall under the Latinx umbrella.

“If I took a picture of a piece of garlic, why would that be of interest?” Steuber said. “And why would it be elevated if I’m from Cuba? Well, maybe these (foods) are rationed or they’re not available all the time. It’s a highlight, but it’s an everyday experience.”

Steuber said while museums can seem intimidatingly to some, he tries to remind people “everything in the museum you already know.”

“You have a human body, you were born, people pray, people are scared. People like to eat, see pretty things,” he said. “So yeah, every experience, artists also go through, and they document historically or contemporarily. And so that’s, it’s a story that’s shared.”

The fact that all the pieces are in Florida adds to the shared experience, he said.

Liset Castillo’s pieces featuring garlic, a spoon and rice will also be on display at the Ocala museum. (Appleton Museum of Art)

“They’re not in Cuba, they’re not in Argentina, they’re not in Mexico, they are here. That means something,” said Steuber, explaining how these global artists all house their works within this local gallery. “These are shared human stories. And they just so happen to be from Cuba in the 1980s, or Tampa in the year 2000 by an Argentinian artist.”

Find more information about the events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month below.

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Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 p.m.

Maharajah Flamenco Trio Concert

The award-winning Maharajah Flamenco Trio will be in the Appleton auditorium performing their music, including a new song, “Escucha el Mar” (Listen to the Sea), inspired by a work of art from the gallery.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at AppletonMuseum.org or in person at the Visitor Services desk. A cash bar will also be available during the event.

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2 p.m.

“Latin American Music: Discovery Through Sounds”

Dr. Welson Tremura and Grammy-winning Dr. José Valentino will put on an interactive presentation discussing the historical and cultural elements of Latin American music traditions.

The presentation also features a performance of vibrant musical styles from the Hispanic southern cone, Brazil, and the Caribbean region, spotlighting the importance and richness of its history. Admission is free.

Free First Saturday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Hispanic Heritage Festival

The Free First Saturday event, co-hosted by CF Student Affairs, will feature a Hispanic Heritage Festival, which includes art activities, face painting, information booths by Hispanic-owned businesses, food trucks, music and more.

Museum admission and activities are free as part of the Free First Saturday event. Vendor booths will begin closing at 4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.

“Treasures from Aztlan: Hispanic Women’s Voices”

Oral historian, writer and podcaster Dr. Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi will be hosting a talk on how Hispanic women view issues of race and ethnicity in their lives.

This discussion includes an audiovisual presentation, oral histories and local Hispanic history. Admission is free.

For more information, please call the Appleton Museum at 352-291-4455 or visit their website.

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