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Exhibitions, Film Screening Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

La Casita Cultural Center presents Latin music exhibit; Point of Contact, solo show by artist Pedro Roth

Sep 13, 2017 — Article by: Kevin Morrow

Photo of La Casita Video Installation

The Office of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community in the College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with various campus and local organizations, is gearing up for Hispanic Heritage Month 2017 (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) with several events.

“Fusión Caribe: The History of Our Music” at La Casita Cultural Center is an exhibition of historic photos, videos and memorabilia of the artists who propelled Latin music around the globe, along with dozens of traditional instruments used in this musical genre. The displays highlight the musical heritage of Latin music and its fusion of Spanish, African and Taíno roots. Guided tours are available in dual language (English and Spanish) by appointment (315.443.2151) Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at La Casita, 109 Otisco St., Syracuse.

An opening reception will take place Friday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at La Casita. The event features salsa music and dance performances, as well as classic recordings of son montuno, guaracha, guaguancó, cha cha chá, mambo, bolero, merengue, bomba and plena, and reguetón.

During the reception, the Hispanic Syracuse coalition will recognize a dozen artists and scholars for their contributions to the enrichment of Syracuse’s Hispanic community: Victor Antonetti and Jorge Colón (Orquesta Antonetti); Brian Bromka and Roberto Pérez (La Familia de la Salsa); Elisa and Joshua Dekaney (Samba Laranja); José Mora (Pleneros d’ Borikén); Edgar Pagán (Grupo Pagán); Sammy Avila; Edgar Paiewonsky; Henry González Rosado; and Setnor School of Music alumna Sara Silva G’07 (Symphoria).

Free transportation will be provided—courtesy of Coming Back Together 2017—from campus to the reception and back via the Connective Corridor bus and the CBT Shuttle Bus, with departure from the Waverly Avenue entrance of the Schine Student Center at 5:55 p.m. and return from La Casita at 7:45 p.m.

Partnering with La Casita on the “Fusión Caribe” exhibition are Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) and the Department of Art & Music Histories in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The project includes music from the Bell Brothers Collection of Latin American and Caribbean Recordings, a massive repository of 15,000 recordings—primarily 45-rpm discs—acquired by the University in 1963 from the Bell Music Box, a New York City record store. The collection includes examples of bolero, bomba, chachachá, charanga, danzón, guaguancó, guajira, guaracha, mambo, merecumbé, merengue, música jíbara, pachanga, plena, seis fajardeño and son montuno. This past spring, the SCRC began a major digitization project to preserve and make accessible this unique collection. To date, more than 900 discs have been digitized and 500 have been made available for streaming.

Photo of Sydney Hutchinson

Sydney Hutchinson

Co-curators of the show are Sydney Hutchinson, associate professor of music history and cultures in the Department of Art & Music Histories, and local artists Liamna Pestana and Daniel Yost, with assistance from faculty and staff from Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College and Hobart & William Smith Colleges.

Photo of Musical Instruments

Musical instruments on display at La Casita

Cuban-born Pestana is a string instrumentalist and singer who has been a member of performance groups in Argentina, Cuba and Mexico; she also formed and directed for 10 years the early music group Cantiga Armonica, with which she participated in national and international festivals and concerts in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Sweden. Yost, from Argentina, is a multidisciplinary musician experienced in choral conducting and pedagogy and stringed-instrument making; he is the founder of Cultural Bridges—a space in which vocal and instrumental groups from various countries have the opportunity to communicate and interact—and he has directed choirs and opera choruses for more than 20 years.

Hutchinson has loaned 40 pieces from her private collection; many are antiques, and most are handcrafted musical instruments. Pestana and Yost also have loaned instruments from their collection, including instruments they have built, such as a Spanish guitar in the traditional style for baroque Latin American guitar music and a mayohuacán, a beautiful slit drum handcrafted in the native Taino (Indo-Caribbean) tradition. Other items have been provided by alumna Damaris Mercado ’92 and her family, including historic photos and documents from the famous RMM Records, founded by Ralph Mercado.

For more information on La Casita Cultural Center, visit

Illustration from "ALEPH" Show

The exhibition “ALEPH” by Argentine artist Pedro Roth is open through Oct. 6 at the Point of Contact Gallery in the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse. An artist talk and reception will be held Thursday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery; the event is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.

Roth was born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he currently lives. He holds a degree in filmmaking from National University of La Plata in Buenos Aires; he also studied photography, specializing in portraits, and is a self-taught plastics artist. His work can be found in collections of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Latinoamericano, La Plata; Jewish Museum of Prague; Museo de Bellas Artes de Azul, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Museo Contemporaneo de Santa Fe; and the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires.

The film “Icaros: A Journey Through the Peruvian Amazon,” presented in collaboration with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), will be shown Friday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. in the Gateway Center on the SUNY-ESF campus. The presentation will include a photography exhibit, plus a discussion and reception with the director of photography and co-producer of the film, Matías Roth, will follow the screening. Admission to this event is free.

“Icaros” explores the spiritual universe of the Shipibo indigenous people who live by the Ucayali River, one of the main tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon.

For more information on Point of Contact events, call 315.443.2169 or visit

Contact Information

Kevin Morrow