Festival showcases Latino art, culture

Musicarte, a three-day visual and performing arts festival, will celebrate the multiple facets of Latin culture this weekend in downtown Fort Worth.

Veronica Villegas, spokeswoman for the festival, said she hopes Musicarte will create awareness about diversity within the Latino culture – differences one might not normally think about.

Musicarte will feature the artwork of Fort Worth native Manuel Pulido.

Pulido also did the artwork for the posters advertising the event. He said he is always happy to create art, especially for the Latino cause. He doesn’t just want to give back, he feels he owes it to the Latin artists who are still struggling for recognition.

“I drew my inspiration for this piece (the design) from a relationship, from situations and understandings,” Pulido said. “No matter what your nationality, you should want to learn about everything around you. Musicarte is like a paella of Latin arts – it has a little bit of everything from Latin culture, and not just Mexican culture.”

The festival will also feature performances from Emilio, Fanny Lu and reggaeton artist NOTCH.

Emilio will take the stage Friday night, according to the event’s Web site. The site describes Emilio as a San Antonio native who mixes country with Latin-influenced rock.

Fanny Lu, who was recently nominated for a Grammy, will perform Saturday evening, and NOTCH will round out the entertainment Sunday night with his distinctive sound incorporating meringue, cumbia, urban pop and hip hop, according to the Web site.

One artist who will be selling some of his work at the festival is Fort Worth sculptor Victor Manuel. Manuel said a lot of his pieces are inspired by Latino music, though they are not themselves musical in nature.

“When I hear a song, I express the feeling I get,” Manuel said. “Though I have only been sculpting for seven years, my ultimate goal is always excellence.”

Associate professor of history Peter Szok said he is offering the event as an extra credit opportunity for his Latin civilizations course. He said he hopes his students will be broadened intellectually by attending the concerts.

Sophomore political science major Lauren Randle, a student in Szok’s class, said she is interested in going.

“It is always interesting to step outside of what is familiar to me, to learn about different cultures and heritages and to broaden my horizons as a student,” Randle said.

Villegas said Musicarte will appeal to the entire community, not just the Latin community.

“It will be an experience and an opportunity to learn and to be exposed to new and different things,” she said.

The event is a joint project of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and LComm Marketing and Public Relations.

It will benefit both the Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund, as well as a new foundation that is in the process of being established, which will give grants to small Latin, grassroots organizations, Villegas said.

She said Musicarte will have something for everyone to enjoy, from food, to shopping, to live entertainment.