The Rising Sun:  A Celebration of Hispanic/Latino Culture

The Parade:  October 24, 2020| Sat 11:00-12:00pm
The Festival: October 24, 2020|Sat 12:00-5:00pm

The Rising Sun: A Park East Neighborhood and Hispanic/Latino Heritage Project
The Rising Sun is an ongoing socially engaged arts project created with the Park East Neighborhood Association, the Hispanic/Latino community and diverse partners in the Sarasota/Bradenton area of southwest Florida. The project calls attention to gentrification, displacement and discrimination in Sarasota, Florida and the Park East neighborhood. Within this framework, The Rising Sun celebrates the Hispanic/Latino culture in the face of racism in America. The project takes place in Park East, a downtown neighborhood where 45% of Sarasota’s Hispanic/Latino community live.


A Community Effort: Partners and Grants

  • The Park East Neighborhood Association is leading reach out teams to walk the neighborhood explaining and encouraging participation. The first neighborhood walk will be November 2019 and will continue bimonthly through 2020.
  • Unidosnow and Booker Middle School have been meeting with The Rising Sun and working with students in their classrooms to create Family Tree drawings. Booker Middle School has a stock of Hispanic/Latino costumes and volunteered middle school students to dress up and march on parade day.
  • The Church of the Redeemer has a youth organization and we have met many times with their organizer. They have volunteered to make floats with the Hispanic/Latino community. The Rising Sun has visited the English and Spanish speaking congregation at services and has received ample support from parishioners, who have volunteered pickup trucks and floats to represent Mexico and Colombia. A disk jockey from the church has offered to bring his equipment and play music during the festival.
  • The local Spanish newspaper has offered to run free advertising leading up to the event and the owner has volunteered to be the announcer or MC during the festival.
  • The Puffin Foundation has given The Rising Sun a grant to help with the creation of The Rising Sun Sculpture to be permanently installed in Shenandoah Park.
  • The Rising Sun is a collaborative mission between myself, Sarasota artist, Karen Arango and a group of six Sarasota artists. 
  • The Rising Sun has been contacting Sarasota/Bradenton organizations, explaining the project and asking for support. We continue to look for advisors, management, art makers, and volunteer committees and coordinators for our social media efforts.

A Celebration: The Grassroots Parade
The parade is a grassroots endeavor, taking place October 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM. The parade is an abstraction of traditional parade form. It has many units, with most units derived from different Hispanic/Latino Nations, but it also has units of schools, groups and organizations; groups of people who would not typically be invited to walk in a parade. We are approaching the parade as a participatory arts project, emphasizing the interaction and process and de-emphasizing the end “look.” The parade fosters equality, and inclusivity, encouraging participants to feel an attachment both to what they made, and to the Park East neighborhood. It is anticipated that some will arrive unexpected, engaging in the parade wherever possible. Our main parade route is East Avenue and it’s end destination is in Shenandoah Park. All parade documentation and permitting is acquired through the appropriate and lawful channels in the city of Sarasota.  

Unity and Belonging: The Festival
The parade’s end destination is in Shenandoah Park, with the festival beginning as the parade arrives. It takes place October 17, 2020 at approximately 12:00 and goes to 5:00PM. There is no entrance fee and we estimate 200 people in attendance. The festival is to unify, celebrate Hispanic/Latino cultures, the Park East neighborhood and call attention to current neighborhood issues. The booths at the festival showcase the Park East neighborhood association, zoning procedures and a booth to discuss and hear complaints concerning the community. There will also be booths for voter registration, sponsors and supporters. There will be music, dancing, and food from different countries, tables and chairs for the public, a dessert table, and children’s games. Logistically, the permit includes closing one street, space for six porta-potties, four food trucks, five garbage cans, one large dumpster, and one water tent.    

A Diverse Local Presence: The Rising Sun Sculpture
The Rising Sun public sculpture is in process due to a grant from the Puffin Foundation. It is created by local artists and any who wish to participate. This is a site specific art project made for Shenandoah Park to be viewed by cars passing through Park East on East Avenue. While the techniques of creating a weather resistant public sculpture are technically art oriented, the goal is to remain open ended in process and have many authors, so that the “artist” is autonomous. The premise of The Rising Sun sculpture is derived from Mexican Sun God symbols and is in the shape of a large sun, with sun rays and a bold, colorfully painted body. It has the words, “Park East Celebrates Diversity” and is coated with a shiny resin. The rising sun is nine feet tall by three feet wide sculpture made from Styrofoam, fiberglass and resin. The Rising Sun sculpture fills Shenandoah Park with a cheerful presence and injects the neighborhood with a recognizable Hispanic/Latino identity.

Shenandoah Park 
Shenandoah Park is the focal point location for The Rising Sun project. It is in the center of the community, located on East Avenue, one of the major thoroughfares in Park East. Shenandoah Park is in need of revitalization and we are focusing on it as a place for people to connect with the Park East neighborhood location. It is a place to contribute to the neighborhood in a creative and engaging way, to learn and understand it better, and to renew the area with a positive and soulful energy.

Parque de Arte/ Art Parks: Pop-Up Gathering Places
The Pop-Up Gathering Places are for the Park East Neighborhood Association, residents, the Hispanic/Latino community, artists, and diverse partners to get to know each other, organize, make art, and unify. The Rising Sun has been meeting in Shenandoah Park, my art studio (five blocks from Shenandoah Park) and various locations in the Sarasota/Bradenton area since August 2018 and will continue approximately every other month. Meetings will become more frequent starting May 2020, as the parade and festival day get closer. This project dissolves the notion of artist/non-artist, amateurs and professionals, creating a situation for all collaborators to meet on equal ground without any hierarchies. Therefore, the appearance of the objects created in these spaces are secondary to the unification of the neighborhood. The collaborative creation of the artwork is a bonding agent to bring the community together, creating feelings of belonging, and a vibrant Park East neighborhood. The social interaction leads the artistic practice.

Touching the Heart with Storytelling and Family Trees: The Exhibition
The artwork displayed for the exhibition are images of family trees created by the Sarasota/Bradenton Hispanic/Latino communities to research and embrace their culture. A 8 1/2“ x 14” poster/template of family trees has been made and given to English as a Second Language programs, schools, and art organizations, to be filled out, copied, or used as a reference. The family trees are also made by the Park East neighborhood in Gathering Places. The top of the poster reads” My Heritage is: “or in Spanish, “Mi Herencia Es:” Under each name on the family tree is the question, “From What Country?” For example, on one leaf of the tree is the name of a person’s grandmother, or “abuelo” and then underneath, “De Quais Pais?” These prompt meaningful discussions concerning an individual’s family’s past and their journey to America.  While discussing this project with families, we have found that there is a great deal of emotion as people share the memories of parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Some people sadly do not know where their grandparents are from, or even what their names are. The stories are emotionally moving, powerful, and touch the heart.

The gallery exhibition takes place in SPAACES, an experimental and community art space in the Park East neighborhood. At the end of the summer 2020, all the family trees will be collected and displayed salon style at SPAACES. The exhibition will be open on the day of the parade/festival and will remain open for one week after. The purpose of this exhibition is to celebrate the large, diverse cultural backgrounds of our Hispanic/Latino populations, to connect with them personally, and to celebrate the significant and important ideal behind immigration.