University of Southern California: Paint night puts artistic spin on Latinx Heritage Month celebration

About 75 students, faculty, staff and community members put their painting skills to work last week to commemorate Latinx Heritage Month’s 2021 theme: esperanza (hope).

Lead artist Jesse Jaramillo said the use of a single twisting red rose backlit by golden rays represented hope and Latinx heritage.

“I choose the rose for its resilience, and the rays of the Virgin de Guadalupe as it symbolizes hope throughout Latin America,” said Jaramillo, who led the painting session. “And the little brick planter is a personal touch from my grandma’s own garden.”

Participants painted along on their own canvases in the USC Fisher Museum of Art courtyard as well as online via Zoom.

“Our students have come off of exams, and this is so relaxing and therapeutic,” said Leticia Delgado of the USC Latinx Chicanx Center for Advocacy and Student Affairs, which co-sponsored the paint night. “It’s a fantastic way to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month in a creative way with others in the community.”

Among the 50-plus in-person painters were first-year students Lizbeth Bonilla and Danielle Santiago.

“We live on the Latinx floor, so I’m looking forward to hanging mine on my dorm door or displaying it somewhere in our hall,” Bonilla said. “It’s nice to know that USC is investing in our well-being and promoting diversity through different mediums like art.”

As Santiago put the finishing touches on her rose petals, she noted that the event meant much more to her than a creative outlet or a post-midterms stress release: “Given that USC is predominantly white, it is a really nice break to attend an event where you have a shared identity and sense of community with others.”

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