#GUAartefest highlighting vibrant culture of Central America

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IECN Photo/Anthony Victoria: Fernando Yac, 22, putting the finishing touches on one of his painting during the #GUAartefest in Colton on November 10, 2017. Hundreds of local Guatemalans showcased their country's vibrant culture through art and musical displays.
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Through community events and visual arts, Guatemalans are showcasing the rich and vibrant culture of their homeland to residents across Southern California.

The Guatemalan Visual Arts Festival, held at Fleming Park in Colton on December 10, is the latest event organized by the Guatemalan Consulate of San Bernardino, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Redlands Bowl to showcase music and art from Central America.

“The Consulate are proud to join the Redlands Bowl and the James Irvine Foundation on this great project, in which we as Guatemalans can show the richness of our culture and country,” Guatemalan Consul Billy Munoz said in a YouTube video.

Residents who attended the event were treated with the sounds of the Marimba instrument, while they walked around the park and participated in arts and crafts events. One artist, Oscar de Salcaja, taught dozens of school children to paint the country’s national bird–the Quetzal.

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Aside from attending events, residents are encouraged to share items that celebrate the diverse art forms and cultures of Guatemala through social media.

Wanda Nowell, one of the individuals helping to coordinate Guatemalan Arts events, said their efforts are helping local Guatemalans find comfort and recollect memories of their past in the motherland.

“There have many tears of joy and happiness as a result of people reconnecting with their roots,” said Nowell, who is of Guatemalan descent. “We hope that people will carry the mission of the project on.”

Fernando Yac, 22, of Temecula admitted he learned about the event at the very last minute, but was happy to hear he would have the chance to share his art work with other Guatemalans.

“The atmosphere here has been nice,” Yac said. “It’s been pleasing to connect with other Guatemalans that live in the Inland Empire. It’s been a beautiful experience finding common ground.”

Fernando Revalo of Rialto said he’s glad there are events being organized specifically for Guatemalans and other Central Americans.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a diverse event like this about our country,” he said in Spanish. “It’s a magnificent experience.”

Nowell hopes she could entice other ethnic groups to learn about Guatemalan culture.

“We’re open to sharing our culture with anyone who wants to learn.”

For more visit www.guatemalanarts.org

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