Even if you haven’t met Luisa Talamás, you’ve surely encountered her work. As art director assistant for ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State?, Talamás crafts the layout and design of the magazine. She continues to explore connections between art and function as a student of industrial design at Ohio State University. We met in her campus haunt (Hayes Hall) where she spoke of her passion for industrial design and decision to move to Columbus, Ohio from San Marcos, Texas.
Darsy Amaya is “all of it:” an immigrant, single mother, interpreter, entrepreneur, and artist. Seeking greater economic opportunity in the United States, Amaya’s mother moved her young family from Honduras to New York City when Amaya was only thirteen. Identifying as both an immigrant and an American helps Amaya serve as a cultural bridge for the Latinx community in her work as an interpreter and artist here in Columbus.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Andrea Magaña Lewis serves as Public Policy Officer for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission (OCHLA). In this position, she develops programming that promotes community engagement and civic education while introducing Hispanic leadership in the state to government and elected officials. She bridges the state government and Ohio’s Latin American community to advocate for the state’s New American community.
Rubén Castilla Herrera was the first interview conducted for ¡Dímelo, Columbus! We met in September, the week following the Tyre King shooting. He has long been involved with many social justice issues in Columbus, Ohio – advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement, for migrant workers, immigrant rights, and refugees. Our conversation focused on the importance of recognition and understanding as well as the power of difference.
The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) is one of longest-standing Latino serving organizations in the state. Founded in 1977, OCHLA seeks to advise, to connect, and to build the Latino community throughout Ohio. As OCHLA’s Community Liaison, Lair Marin-Marcum is making lasting connections between entrepreneurs, community, and institutions to improve Latino lives locally and state-wide.
Your typical visitor to the U.S. art museum is more often than not affluent, white, and academically well-educated. As a Latina interested in and inspired by art, Verónica Betancourt often visits encyclopedic art museums – these are museums that claim a comprehensive representation of art history. Her experiences in these spaces are often rife with feelings of alienation and questions of her acceptance as a Latina in the museum’s narrative. Through her dissertation, Betancourt seeks to open these spaces to a more diverse population.
The conversation with Kevin Bilapka Arbelaez in the noisy Cup O’ Joe Clintonville lasted longer than the usual 30-minutes. There was just too much to talk about: his work at St. Vincent Family Center, musical solo projects, and writing with the band didi. We also mulled over issues of alienation in the community and the complexity of identifying as half one thing and half something else… something we both think a lot about.
Augusto Saenz, clutching a camera, weaved expertly through the crowded room snapping photographs for the Distinguished Hispanic Awards Gala. He kindly introduced himself to me during a moment of respite. His business, Augusto Saenz Photography, provides portraits for Who’s Who Latino Columbus and professional photographs for quinceañeras, weddings, and other social events throughout the Latino community. He also founded Canal Hispano TV, an online station dedicated to the Spanish-Speaking population of Columbus. This is the only locally-based Spanish-Speaking station in the city; and is both a testament to Saenz’s perseverance and representative of an actual need for a media outlet in the Latino community.
Ever since she was young, Jasmine Rosario’s dreamed of being “a badass female musician.” Based on our conversation at Lineage Brewery near her home in Clintonville, it’s safe to say she’s reached this goal. Rosario is a songwriter and guitarist for the Columbus, Ohio-based band The Original Soundtrack. The music she plays and writes for this project is inspired by her love of rhythm – a musical influence she attributes to her family and Puerto Rican culture.
Virginia Nunes Gutierrez beams at me from behind the counter of Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op where she is now a budding barista and community advocate. The shop – which opened this past March of 2016 – is the realized product of Virginia and sister, Victoria Calderón Nunes’s, dream to revitalize and empower Franklinton. Proceeds from each cup of coffee combat the infant mortality rate in Columbus, Ohio (which are among the worst in the country), while the building gives start-ups and entrepreneurs space to work and collaborate.