ST. PAUL - Photos by a Worthington man depicting an annual event that celebrates the area’s cultural traditions and diversity is on display now through August at the Minnesota State Arts Board in St. Paul.
Three of Jose Lamas’ photographs that illustrate the Worthington International Festival are among nearly 100 other pieces of artwork from more than 30 Minnesota communities displayed at the Minnesota State Arts Board exhibit, “A Creative Investment.”
“One of the things I like to see (at the International Festival) is people interacting with the music and dancing,” said Lamas, who has been taking photos for the festival since 2014. “They’re very brave to come and dance with the music. Those are good photos of people who participate in that way.”
The exhibit that includes photographs, painting, pottery, sculptures, textiles, mosaics and even regalia by artists of various ages and abilities intends to demonstrate how the state’s arts and cultural heritage funds are being creatively used across the state.
Lamas said it's not difficult to snap hundreds of photos throughout a weekend at the International Festival each July. He selected about a dozen for consideration by the MSAB, which then whittled his submissions down to three.
The photos include Aztec dancers, Oromo dancers representing a traditional east African dance and a street mural artist who engaged children with chalk.
Lamas said he takes a variety of different shots at the event each year not only to provide for grant documentation, but for a historic account of Worthington and the event.
The Worthington’s Cultural Awareness Organization, which sponsors the International Festival, is a recipient of a Minnesota Festival Support grant administered by the MSAB. The grant is made possible through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the state’s constitution.
The MSAB considers festivals like Worthington’s International Festival as supportive of local and regional artists who foster community pride, strengthen relationships and stimulate economic growth, a press release states.
“In a community where 67 different languages are spoken in the school district, a community festival is a fun and interactive way to celebrate and learn about those many different cultures,” said MSAB Executive Director Sue Gens.
Worthington International Festival Committee member Leann Zinns Enninga said the committee is excited to partner with the MSAB and appreciates its support.
“We’re really excited to work with them and to have them help publicize the event in a wider area,” she said.
Lamas hopes that the photos will help bring publicity to Worthington’s International Festival for the guests that view them in St. Paul. This year’s 26th annual Worthington International Festival is slated July 11 - 13 in downtown Worthington.
A digital representation of the artworks in the exhibit are available online at the MSAB’s website.