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Con A de Arte/ “A” is for Art

June 8, 2016 @ 2:00 PM

Con A de Arte (“A” is for Art)

Con A de Arte is an annual event that seeks to showcase the work of local artists from the Latin American community in the Charlotte area through presentations modeled after the TED Conferences which include visual art presentations, and performances by musicians, dancers, poets, and actors.

A reception will follow the artists’ presentations and awards. Appetizers will be served. Cash bar available.

Image credits: ArtSi Charlotte – Con A de Arte Logo


Project: Skin of the Natives: The Meaning of Life

Skin of the Natives, a 12 assignment excursion to highlight Mexico’s isolated indigenous people, will use photography, documentary footage, poetry, and music, to foster community, cultural awareness, appreciation, and support around the Mexican communities. From the civic resistance of the Zapatistas, to the traditional dances of Oaxaca, Skin of the Natives will help surface the current themes of the country as they relate to their inhabitants.

On the most recent assignment, Saul Flores and Herrison Chicas traveled all the way to Michoacán, Mexico to figure out the meaning of life from the Purépecha indigenous tribe. The Purepecha people are known for their Dia De Los Muertos [Day Of The Dead] Celebration – a spiritual festival that honors family members who have passed and celebrates the beauty of life.

Together, they bring back photos, stories, and answers.


  • Herrison Chicas – Spoken word
  • Maria Elena Ferran – Visual arts
  • Saul Flores – Photography/Documentary
  • Everdith Landrau – Dance
  • Lucas Torres – Music


  • Banu Valladares – Sara Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Latin American Women’s Association (LAWA) – Lifetime Achievement Community Award
  • Rocio Llusca – Emerging Artist



Herrison Chicas

Herrison Chicas is a renowned spoken word artist invited around the world to share his storytelling gift and his inspirational poetry to entertain, empower, and enlighten audiences. His work has been featured on major platforms such as National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and various TED talks, reaching more than 1.5 million people worldwide. As a slam poet, Chicas is the current Champion of the TEDxUNC Spoken Word Slam, a Finalist in Slam Charlotte and Bull City Slam, and a Semi-Finalist to YouthSpeaks Brave New Voices Poetry Slam, the world’s biggest youth poetry competition.

Currently, Chicas is contracted by Fortune 500 companies and prominent universities across the country to motivate staff and students, coach sales and management teams, and enhance performance through the art of storytelling!


Maria Elena Ferran

Maria Elena Ferran, an artist and writer was born in Massachusetts in 1962, and raised in Northport, Long Island. She is considered one of New York’s early 80’s artists; studying painting, photography and design at Sweet Briar College and New York’s School of Visual Arts where she entered the New York art scene on the heels of Keith Haring and Jean-Michael Basquiat’s brute contemporary / abstract graffiti style explosion. Her early works on paper and canvas demonstrate clear influences of Warhol, Nicholson, Braque, Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh.

While attending art school in New York Maria Elena studied drawing under Andy Gerndt, and painting under Janice Provisor, Steve Smulka and Frank Roth. She personally showed her first New York canvases in a personal conference with Andy Warhol when she was 19 and was photographed with Mr. Warhol by his Velvet Underground and Factory documentary photographer Gerard Malanga.

Maria Elena lives and works in Charlotte, NC and is currently showing her work globally.


Saul Flores

Saul Flores is a humanitarian, photojournalist, and activist who is nationally recognized for his 5,328 mile walk from Ecuador to the United States known as “The Walk of the Immigrants.” Through this project, Saul documents the amazing lives of thousands of Latin American immigrants who travel hundreds of miles away from their countries to seek better living conditions. Saul’s photo storytelling project sparked a national awareness discussion of the human struggle related to immigration, social equity, human potential, and public consciousness. His talks on this journey have been featured on Univision, TedxTalks, and National Public Radio. Additionally, Saul has been featured as a keynote speaker for dozens of universities, inspiring audiences through the Walk of the Immigrant’s narrative presentation, in which he helps people realize the capacity of their immense human potential given times of extreme adversity.

Currently, Saul is continuing to travel through Latin America, documenting more amazing stories through his camera lens, and providing the American public with additional narratives and inspirational stories. Saul’s most recent projects include a 12 assignment excursion to Mexico known as “Skin of the Natives”, where he is documenting the diverse indigenous groups of the various Mexican isolated regions.


Everdith Landrau

Everdith Landrau, AKA Evie, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Evie is co-founder of Xpressions Dance Company & Y.A.P.R.E Dance (Yo Amo Puerto Rico Eternamente). These dance and artistic groups seek to educate, nurture and share the vast expressions, rhythms & movements of the Caribbean cultures & dance fusions.  YAPRE is a folkloric cultural group that fosters and shares Puerto Rican heritage through music, arts & traditional dances.

Everdith was educated in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and New York City, where Harlem was her home. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and holds a B.A. in Communication & Sociology from American International College, Springfield, MA and is a 2018 candidate for a Doctorate in Ministry degree.


Lucas Torres

A native of Boquerón, Puerto Rico, Lucas’ love of percussion began at the tender age of five. Upon his arrival to New York, he studied at the Harbor Conservatory for performing Arts. Over the last twenty years he has played with various Latin bands in New York including Fascinacion, Santiago Ceron, Paquito Guzman, Viti Ruiz, Danny Rivera and others.  His strong commitment to promoting cultural awareness, particularly in Latino youth, has led him into organizations such as La Fiesta Folklorica Puertoriqueña; a non profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Puerto Rican Culture in New York City. Lucas was the stage director for the Show 10 years, which is put on every summer at Central Park Summer Stage, featuring many Latino performers from Puerto Rico, such as Danny Rivera, Sophie, Andres Jimenez and many others.  He was also elected Vice President of this organization; a position he served for one year.

Lucas founded a group of musicians called Y.A.P.R.E., who played typical folkloric music from Puerto Rico, called Bomba and Plena. This group has performed on many stages in New York. He won an award in 1995 for this effort. In addition to his commitment to the Folklore of Puerto Rico,Lucas has also been involved with Jazz, Rock and Pop bands through his career. His latest projects are a new Latin Jazz Band called RHYTHM+ and BORINQUEN SUBLIME. These bands pay tribute to the Latin Jazz, Pop and Salsa pioneers by adding modern arrangements to the standards that created these musical categories.



Banu Valladares

Banu Valladares serves as Program and Grants Administrator at the North Carolina Humanities Council. She specializes in forming strategic partnerships and collaborations with national, state, and local agencies to develop programs that advance collaborators’ missions, community needs, and revenue goals.

Banu is a native of Venezuela and has a Master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A seasoned educator, Banu has taught writing, English as a Second Language, and Spanish K-16; and has conducted long-term residencies integrating creative writing and culture into the curriculum in public and private schools in North Carolina and abroad.

Before joining the Council, Banu served as Executive Director of SonEdna, an organization that supports the literary arts and artists in Charleston, Mississippi. She also worked at the North Carolina Arts Council for seven years, where she served as outreach coordinator, literature director, and arts in education director. Throughout her sixteen year career, Banu has focused on bringing light to Latino arts and culture in North Carolina, cultivating new Latino artists and arts organizations, and mentoring established ones to excel at the local and state level.

She is happy to be back in North Carolina and specifically in Charlotte, to continue to advance Latino arts and culture and the work of the Council in the state.


Latin American Women’s Association (LAWA)

The Latin American Women’s Association is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1992 by a group of local Latinas in order to support college education for Latino students in Charlotte, North Carolina. LAWA offers mentoring and tutoring programs for students in the Charlotte NC area to enhance academic and social development and increase high school graduation rates.

Over the last two decades, LAWA has evolved and has been reshaped to respond to the needs of the growing Latino community. In collaboration with corporate, community partners and volunteers, LAWA has successfully raised funds to award financial scholarships to 200 college students.


Rocio Llusca

Rocio Llusca is a mixed media artist that expresses her deep feelings through her beautiful art. She is originally from Ecuador and has lived in the U.S. for the last nine years. She relocated to Charlotte, N.C., the city that has been inspired many of her paintings. She is known for her vivid colors and her expressionistic pieces. She uses recycled materials such as egg shell, paper, T-Shirt rags and many more. She believes in give second opportunities to materials that we don’t use. Rocio states that her art is a revelation of her inner thoughts and emotions expressed through unique design and color.

This event is sponsored by:
Image   Image Image    Image

  The Latino Initiative is kindly sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation.



Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202 United States
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+1 704-337-2100