The sound of Latin music echoed down the stairs of Lakeside Dining Hall on May 4 as El Centro de Español hosted its first Nuestra Galería — an art gallery displaying different forms of art from six Latinx student artists at Elon. 

The art on display included paintings, pottery, videography, photography, digital art, drawings and even beach towels. One featured artist, sophomore Manu Cornick-Fernández, not only displayed her art on beach towels, but also on bags, blankets, T-shirts, mugs, notebooks, puzzles, sweaters and hats. Her designs are of animals from Costa Rica, her home country, which she draws using Procreate.

Cornick-Fernández’s art comes from a collection called “manusazules,” which she put together when quarantine began in March 2020. She said it was inspired by the biodiversity of Costa Rica and her desire to share her appreciation of the country with others. 

“​​It’s just something fun for people to take back and remember their trip to Costa Rica, or for me to remember home,” Cornick-Fernández said. “Or I sometimes like to give it to my friends like, ‘Hey, this is a part of me. Keep it.’” 

Cornick-Fernández hopes to turn her collection into a brand and own a shop in Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica.

Senior Shelly Freund displayed her paintings at Nuestra Galería, a ribcage, a toilet and an abstract, childlike painting. Freund majors in studio art and paints regularly, but she said she is very critical of the art form, specifically the notion that paintings should be beautiful and delicate.

“I hated that, so I started literally slapping paint onto a canvas, and mixing paint into a bucket, and throwing it on there, and exploring new ways of application but also different ways of how painting should look like,” Freund said. “To someone who's not very natured in the art world, that looks really messy, childlike or immature. Good. Because that's the point.”

Freund said her art focuses on the human body, identity and self concept. After she graduates from Elon, she will pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in studio art at Tufts University in Boston. Freund hopes to become a teacher and open her own art practice and studio in the future.

Junior Brian Aimerich, another featured artist, said he is a content creator. He practices photography and videography, with the latter being his main focus. At Nuestra Galería, he displayed three of his videos, which consisted of promotional material for The Burlington School’s basketball team, which won a state championship this year for the second year in a row. One video was shot using his iPhone. 

“I'll hear a song, and I'll see the video in my head, and I'll edit it. I know exactly what I'm going to want. I know exactly what I see, so I just do it,” Aimerich said.

Senior Nico Gaspar, who put together Nuestra Galería, said he estimated 20 to 30 people showed up to the event. He was very pleased with how it went.

“I think that we were able to do what we set out to do, which was to show Latino art on campus,” Gaspar said. “We have artists on campus, and they want to show their art.”

Cornick-Fernández said she had a lot of fun at Nuestra Galería, especially since she was able to check out other students’ art and feel a connection to them.

“I think it's great to showcase all of this because it's really cool to see the other side of people — lots of people can be so artistic,” Cornick-Fernandez said. “Art brings people together, which I love.”

Gaspar said his favorite part of Nuestra Galería was seeing the artists and visiting students interacting with each other, as well as students falling in love with the pieces of art.

While this was El Centro’s first time hosting Nuestra Galería, Gaspar hopes it continues as an annual event.

“I'm going to make sure that it continues, even though I'm graduating,” Gaspar said. “Somebody at El Centro is going to have to keep this one going.”

This article was originally published on May 3, 2022, and has since been republished to reflect the event that took place on May 4, 2022.