What started as a passing conversation between an arts enthusiast and a police chief has become an 11-year tradition of celebrating area Latino artists at the Lenexa City Hall.
This year 19 artists submitted some 46 works in all types of media for the Latino Art Bravisimo show, which runs until July 15.
Bernadette Espranza Torres won best of show with her clay sculpture, “Holding on to Fading Memories.” Her award was announced at a reception Friday at City Hall, which included a visit from dignitaries of the Kansas City Mexican consulate and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. After the Lenexa showing, the exhibit will be shown at the Mexican consulate in Kansas City in September.
This year’s show included photography, oil and acrylic paintings, jewelry and 3-D art in clay, steel, fabric and other media. “The judges have been just amazed at the quality of work,” said Karen Poe, co-chair of the event. “It is just some very, very good art.”
Latino Art Bravisimo got its start in a chance conversation between Poe and now retired Lenexa police chief Ellen Hanson. At the time, Poe was putting up artwork from students at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence when Hanson remarked that it would be nice to celebrate some of the talent from the area’s Latino population.
Since then, the exhibit has become a staple at City Hall, which regularly is home to various local art.
The artists in this year’s show are a mix of established professionals, some of whom teach, and artists who are just beginning to show their work, Poe said. About half are from Kansas City on the Missouri side, and the rest come from Kansas City, Kan. and Johnson County, she said. One artist is from Manhattan, Kan.
First-place winners were Robert Bustamante, for drawing/painting with “Totem Skulls,” Amy Denisse Tiscareno, photography for “Untitled,” and Eugenia Ortiz, 3-D for “Hope.”
The show is hosted by the city and the Lenexa Arts Council in the main lobby and council chambers at City Hall, 12350 W. 87th St. Parkway. Viewing is possible during regular hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and also from 7-8 p.m. July 2. Admission is free.