Coral Gables celebrates Hispanic Cultural Arts Festival

This past Saturday, The 10th annual celebration of the Coral Gables Hispanic Cultural Arts Festival showcased local and international artists, musicians and dancers.

Emilio Sauma, an artist best known as the Cuban Picasso and the president and CEO of the Coral Gables Hispanic Cultural Foundation, said the event started with a desire to open doors.

“I had the idea to do something in the Coral Gables community to help other artists, as well as putting the Hispanic cultures together,” he said.

Sauma, whose work was on the cover of International Opulence magazine in 2014, said he wanted to help his fellow artists. “I’ve been living in the Coral Gables community for so long, and I would always come to a little restaurant that was there across from this place,” he said. “I sat in my car looking towards here and said, ‘Oh my God, this is such a good place to start an event.’”

Sauma said it’s a great opportunity for artists to show their work. “We open our doors and our stage,” he said. “You never know who will see you and then you can have your career. So that’s the idea of this event.”

Jennifer Aristizabal, who was at the event with her husband Julian, said it was their first time. “We were just walking by and we had to stop when I saw the dancing and the children dressed up in vibrant colors at the center,” she said.

Aristizabal said she loved how the festival reminded them of their hometown’s annual festival in May, La Ceiba Carnival, in La Ceiba, Honduras.

“Seeing all of this, the dances, the children enjoying themselves and being proud of the cultures, makes me happy to be from the Hispanic community,” she said.

And Blanca Lopez, who said she heard about this event through Facebook, came to check out the dances.

“I love to dance, and my daughter Jacqueline is a dancer. I had to come to check out this event,” she said. “When I saw on Facebook that there were going to be folkloric dances, I said, ‘Oh yes, I am definitely going to that, I love those!’” said Lopez.

Lopez said it reminded her of her hometown in Peru, when she used to dance folklore as a little girl.

“I’m happy that I saw those girls dancing and representing some of our cultural dances of Peru,” she said.

Vanessa Maldonado is a senior broadcast journalism student at FIU. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her passion for broadcast journalism began at the age of 10, when she realized she enjoyed writing and expressing herself. Vanessa looks forward to graduating and continuing her education into grad school.