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Minnesota West to welcome Peruvian artist

WORTHINGTON -- A Peruvian artist will be visiting Minnesota West Community and Technical College next week in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.

WORTHINGTON -- A Peruvian artist will be visiting Minnesota West Community and Technical College next week in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, is a nationwide celebration that aims to celebrate cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Many Latin American countries like Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras  celebrate their independence day in September and October.

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“Every year we do something special to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Le Lucht, Culture Corner Coordinator at Minnesota West. “Some years we have done theater, or local members have showcased their talents and sharing their lives, but this year we decided to do something a little bit more special.”

The Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC), along with MWCTC, invited professional artist Hector Curriel to showcase his artwork for the entire month of October. In addition, he will be teaching art classes throughout the week to students and youth groups.

                                                                                                                                

Lucht said this is a unique way for students to experience and learn about other cultures through art.

“I think everybody’s vision of art is really based upon their culture, background and experiences, and I think Hector sharing his background will educate students about how other people might look at the world,” Lucht said.

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Curriel was born in Lima, Peru and lived in Worthington for five years. He now resides in Sioux Falls, S.D, where he is part of the South Dakota Arts Council. He specializes in watercolor paintings, but he is also a cartoonist and a book illustrator.

Curriel will teach painting and drawing classes on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

“I am very excited because when I came to the United States, I always said Worthington adopted me,” Curriel said. “I had a really warm welcome and people were always very friendly, so for me going back to Worthington is a way to retrieve what they gave me.”

Curriel is going to host an art exhibit at the Fine Arts Theater Gallery. There will be an artist reception open to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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The exhibit will showcase several watercolor pieces demonstrating the beauty of Falls Parks in Sioux Falls, along with cartoons with political themes.

Curriel said his priority as an artist is to transmit feelings through his paintings and to educate people about other cultures.

“The main goal of my art is to bring some hope to the people suffering,” he said. “My art is about unity, it is about understanding, it is about creating bridges and not walls.”

Soom Chandaswang, integration cultural liaison at NCIC, said this is a great opportunity for students to get an idea of how they can communicate their heritage with others.

“Some of the students are really into art and many of them are very shy because they are new to the country,” she said. “They might not know ways to express themselves, so this is going to be a great way to show who they are and where they came from.”

Lucht said she believes educating people about other cultures is a great way to tear down barriers among people from different backgrounds.

“It makes people more positive and enthusiastic about the future of the world because the connecting of cultures is our future, like it or not, but I think this is an opportunity for people to share,” Lucht said.

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