Latinx Presente! Festival of the Arts exhibit Oct. 15 & 16

John Gascot, local Latin pop and abstract artist. Photo courtesy of Frontproof Media.

PINEDA, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – The Latinx Presente! Virtual Festival of the Arts exhibit opens to visitors at 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Ekeko Gallery, 290 Dr. MLK Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. The works by Latinx artists pay tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month.

This event is sponsored by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg in partnership with Ekeko Gallery, John, Gascot, Candido Consulting and Estrategia Group.

John Gascot, local Latin Pop and abstract artist, is the curator of the exhibit.  According to Gascot, the theme explores the current Latinx experience in America as envisioned by each artist.

Gascot, who also manages 5663 Studio, said the public could expect: “A very broad and inclusive collection of Latinx expressions.

“Visitors can look forward to lots of different points of views from different genders, life experiences, a lot of different mediums, not just painting.”

Gascot added, “One artist will be doing 3D printing, and another one will be doing an interactive virtual reality piece.”

Originally from Puerto Rico, Gascot put out a call for Latinx artists to submit entries. The exhibit will showcase visual art as well as performance art by local Hispanic/Latinx artists, musicians, dancers, poets, writers, and actors.

Featured artists include Van Der Luc, Carlos Pons, Skylar Suarez, Gabriela Valencia, Pedro Hernandez, Ro Martinez, Sketzii, M.V. Essick, Javier T. Dones, M’ria Mezzanine and Wilmer Vergara-Homez.

The performance art will be streamed online by Candido Consulting.

This event coincides with Gascot’s solo exhibit, “Americano,” which opens at 6 p.m, Friday, Oct. 16 at Graphi-ko Gallery, 669 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Ekeko and Graphi-ko are sister-galleries owned by Latinx artist Wilmer Vergara. Both exhibits run until Nov. 15 and are open to the public during gallery business hours.

Gascot has been called upon to curate the exhibit based on his expertise and community involvement. He shared how he explores social issues and promotes diversity through his work, painting murals full time.

“I see my art as a conversation starter as a vehicle for social change.”

The art festival is part of the first Latinx Virtual Convening of the Latinx, Latino, Latina, Hispanic community, LatinX inVISIBLE ¿y dónde está mi gente?, set for Oct. 24, 10-1 p.m., by Estrategia Group. Both events aim to open the growing Latinx community in pursuit of unity and equity.

Gascot ends with an open invitation: “I encourage everyone to go out to the two galleries in person and enjoy the work.”

Masks are required, and social distancing and safety protocols will apply.

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