First Coast Cultural Center features Latino artists

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First Coast Cultural Center recently commemorated National Hispanic Heritage Month by featuring work by Latino artists.

According to Donna Guzzo, president and executive director at First Coast Cultural Center, the artists included Eloy Castroverde, a photographer from Cuba; Enrique Mora, a visual artist from Puerto Rico; and Marisela Quirós, a visual artist from Costa Rica.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15.

Guzzo expressed pride in her Hispanic heritage and support for many local and worldwide organizations and initiatives, as well as mentoring Latino children and adults in Northeast Florida and beyond.

“We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success in art,” said Guzzo.

Here’s a look at these featured artists, who are members of the center and display their work there:

  • Eloy Castroverde, a freelance nature and wildlife photographer based in Ponte Vedra Beach since 2005. Originally from Havana, Cuba, he emigrated to the United States at an early age. As a photographer, he explores remote places and enjoys the challenge of creating compelling images when he cannot control the subjects or the weather. Though he shoots extensively throughout Florida, his photography trips have taken him across the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil, Japan, Iceland, Slovenia, the Falkland Islands, the Galapagos Islands, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Castroverde will exhibit his work at the center from Nov. 15 to 19. The art display is free and open to the public. On Nov. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., he will speak on the topics of artistic and technical aspects of photography, equipment, style and more, along with a slide show and explanation of his work and a Q&A. Admission to the speaking engagement is $15 as a requested donation to the nonprofit.

  • Marisela Quirós is an internationally collected classical oil painter, portrait and still-life studio artist. Since childhood, her journey began in Costa Rica where she became renowned as an award-winning advertising art director. She later moved to the United States where her passion for classical realism flourished.

Quirós studied oil painting techniques of the old masters’ atelier-style at Zoll Studio in Baltimore, Maryland, and at workshops including The Florence Academy of Art and Grand Central in New York along with solo shows at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. Quirós practices today as a commission artist in her studio at Ponte Vedra Beach and teaches the classical still-life painting tradition at First Coast Cultural Center.

  • Latin American artist Enrique Mora is a self-taught painter. His use of vivid colors and voluptuous shapes has led to a unique interpretation of the female form. Growing up in the Caribbean, Mora was exposed to the lavish shades of a lush island surrounded by a vast deep blue sea. His Spanish legacy is a central influence along with his Puerto Rican heritage.

Mora lived in Miami for nearly a decade where his work was shown in “Galeria Mora” in Miami’s Design District throughout the 1990s. Currently, Mora lives near the Atlantic Ocean, which is a major influence in his work. He maintains a gallery in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For further information about First Coast Cultural Center exhibits, programs, workshops, costs, dates and times, call Jill Titcomb at 904-280-0614, ext. 1206, or go to firstcoastculturalcenter.org.

The center is located at 3972 3rd St. South in Jacksonville Beach. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, with after-hour appointments available.

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