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Art exhibits become interactive at Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival

DES MOINES, IA – Artists will create live pieces of work at Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival, which begins this weekend in downtown Des Moines.

The traditional outdoor festival gallery display will be reinvigorated with a focus on live interaction with artists. Highlights include:

  • Emerging graffiti artist Anthony Desantiago will paint the word “LIFE” to represent his journey of the ups and downs of life through a connection with graffiti.

  • Jose Marentes-Gonzalez is a familiar face at the festival and will return this year with his energy and cultural history. His paintings will be on display, but he will demonstrate his print-making skills and how he uses them to communicate with today’s youth through mentorship programs.

  • Youth from Al Exito mentoring program will work with Marentes-Gonzalez on a large mural during the two days of the festival.

  • Aaron Martinez will paint the third piece from his “Liberty” series, which concentrates on cultural impacts and the conceptual symbolism of diversity in westernized thinking.

“This gives me a chance to show the process that artists usually keep behind closed doors,” Martinez said. “I start with a minimal concept but submerge myself within the overall surrounding energies to create my final piece.”

There also will be a small gift show of artwork for sell by local Latin artisans. These will include oil and acrylic paintings, prints and crafts.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in Western Gateway Park near the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. There is free parking in Nationwide Insurance’s public parking ramp.

Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival includes various musical entertainment, dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more. There also will be a health village and a civic engagement booth, where attendees can register to vote and learn about candidates.

Cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. For more information, visit, or contact Melissa Walker at 515-681-7731 or Visit Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook and #ialatinoheritagefestival on Instagram.

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