The Columbia Museum of Art presents a new exhibition of local artists, ¡FUERZA! Artistas Latin@s in South Carolina, on view in the Caroline Guignard Community Gallery September 23 through November 30, 2014. An opening celebration with live music by DJ Alejandro, tango, and cash bar takes place at the Museum on Tuesday, September 23, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event is free to the public.

As part of the Latin@ Month celebration, the CMA, in partnership with Palmetto LUNA Arts, a non-profit organization promoting Latin@ arts and culture in South Carolina, exhibits the group’s second art show, ¡FUERZA! (Spanish for strength, force, and power), featuring graphic novel-style panels. ¡FUERZA! visually explores the connections between domestic violence and the underrepresented minorities in the United States through the lenses of a cadre of Latin@ artists based in South Carolina. (The “@” in Latin@ denotes an inclusive, gender-neutral description of persons of Latin descent).

“Domestic violence is a serious and complicated issue that, sadly, is mostly kept secret and unattended,” says Alejandro García Lemos, a member of the board of directors of Palmetto Luna Arts. “It is a multifaceted taboo issue that directly affects all the communities in South Carolina, especially our ever- growing Latin@ population in the state. Therefore, this show is personal for most of us. ¡FUERZA! makes a call to the strength within the soul of Latin@ culture. We need to understand that the role of art goes well beyond commercialization, decoration, and beauty. Art should also have a commitment to the communities that it represents. We are using art to bring awareness to this issue because we truly believe we can have a positive impact in society through the arts.”

The exhibition includes collaborative work by Piensa Art Company’s artists Dre López, Sammy López, and Robert Chambers in association with artists Ashley Berendzen, Mariángeles Borghini, and Alejandro García Lemos. The show is made possible through a partnership with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA), a statewide coalition made up of the 22 domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy programs in South Carolina.

“We are excited to be a part of this exhibition,” says Sara Barber, executive director of SCCADVASA, “that increases our community’s awareness of the complex issues facing families dealing with domestic violence, and of the resources that are available for those who need help.”

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