September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month: a celebration of American citizens whose ancestors come from Hispanic America. Check out the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Heritage Month and how you can celebrate in Orlando!
History of the Celebration
According to History.com, Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to September 17, 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Congress passed Public Law 90-48, declaring September 15 and 16 as the start of Hispanic Heritage Week, which coincided with the Independence Day celebrations of many Hispanic countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and more.
In 1987, U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres proposed expanding Hispanic Heritage Week to a month-long celebration to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.” On September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush declared the first 31-day Hispanic Heritage Month to take place between September 15 to October 15.
Hispanic Heritage Month in Today’s U.S.
People have participated in Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States in various ways since its commencement 42 years ago. Some throw parties, others hold fundraisers, but in Orlando, there’s a group that gets together and appreciates the unique traits everyone brings to the table.
The 2023 Hispanic Heritage Month Art Exhibition is a haven for Hispanic artists of Orlando to celebrate their talents. One participant looks forward to this year’s exhibition as she looks to return “stronger, with more ideas, and with a better portfolio than last year.”
Andrea Castaneda, a Hondurian-American artist who now resides in Central Florida, says she uses the struggles she faced while in Honduras as motivation for her artwork. “Honduras is a very poor country where there is a lot of suffering,” Castaneda said, “so my artwork is… a little bit intense.” Nevertheless, Castaneda’s work typically balances the fire of her painful past with her fruitful breath of hope for the future. Referring to said balance, Castaneda said her artwork “has a lot of tension because of the power I put in the painting, but I always try to put peace in the artwork.”
Considering the trials within the art industry, Castaneda has proven her worth as she continues to grow as an artist despite her battles against mental illness. “Because many people who struggle with mental illness think they can’t make it, I want to be an example for people with mental illness. To tell them that you can do it.” , Castaneda said.
Despite the pressure of mental illness, struggles in Honduras, and the demands of the art industry, Castaneda’s priorities remain on helping those around her. “I want to inspire people… to help people with my art, with my story.”
For more information about the 2023 Hispanic Heritage Month Art Exhibition, visit the Orange County Government’s Release.
To sign up for the 2023 Hispanic Heritage Month Art Exhibition, complete this Google Form.
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