Students celebrate Hispanic heritage at Mount Saint Mary Academy

Photo Courtesy of MSMA
Plainfield resident Olivia Encarnacion, left, standing with Maplewood resident Amelia Benjamin, right, standing and Warren resident Hillary Machuca, seated, participate in Mount Saint Mary Academy’s paint-and-sip event on Oct. 18.

WATCHUNG, NJ — On Oct. 18, members of the Students of Color Affinity Group and Art Club at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung co-hosted a paint-and-sip event to celebrate

Latinx art and culture, and the culmination of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Amelia Benjamin provided students with art by Hispanic and Latinx artists as sources of inspiration,” said Madeline Albrittain, world languages department chairperson. “Students sipped lemonade and de-stressed using watercolors and colored pencils. Students also listened to the SOCA Spotify playlist.”

“During the event, we provided pictures from Hispanic artists like Cesar Carbajal and Norma Garcia Torres for the students to use for inspiration and to recognize the styles implemented in the artist’s work,” said Benjamin, a resident of Maplewood and co-leader of SOCA with Zoe Daly, of Piscataway. Olivia Encarnacion, of Plainfield, is the president of SOCA. 

“It’s so important to learn all aspects of Hispanic heritage because it allows us to honor the history, culture and influence from past generations that reflect in our world today,” Benjamin continued. “Hispanic artists have been trailblazers in the art world for centuries, creating diverse visuals and incorporating symbols and techniques that recall their meaningful as well as beautiful native culture.

“I feel that this event gave the students a greater understanding of Hispanic art and how to follow their methods, like using warm colors and making patterns in their work. It also introduced them to a new kind of art that can be explored and shared to all,” Benjamin concluded.

Annabelle Johnson, of South Plainfield, a member of the Art Club, said, “I appreciate the Students of Color Affinity Group coming to teach us about Hispanic artists and the work they did. I had a lot of fun participating in the activity and was inspired by the use of vibrant colors to create my own.” 

“We had a fantastic turnout and hope we will be able to collaborate again soon,” Albrittain said.