The Hope is in the Arts: Esperanza’s Youth Art Exhibit
By Antonio Barrios, La Prensa Correspondent
The rain was pouring down on Detroit road this past Friday,
August 2, 2013, as people and students made their way to the
Bruno Casiano Art Gallery at 5304 Detroit Ave, at the edge
of Ohio City and the new Gordon Square Theater District in
Cleveland. Local acclaimed artist Bruno Casiano was
hosting the artwork of the Youth Leadership Team of
Esperanza, Inc. in a project lead by mentor and local artist
Martínez “EB” Garcias.
Executive Director Victor Ruiz met Mr. Garcias at an art
directors home and invited Garcias to come to Esperanza, Inc. to
volunteer as a mentor. Director Ruiz first discovered “ EB” from
his artwork that was later transformed into a play at Karamu
House in Cleveland.
With his background in art and obvious willingness to help
youth, he became one of the Program Coordinators at Esperanza,
helping the students express their life and stories into various
art forms, from sculpture to canvas. The students used the arts
to bring out their feelings and emotions. Mr. Casiano was also
donating 20 percent of his gallery sales to Esperanza.
The program started with trips to the senior citizens residences
to interview them and bring their experience and life adventures
to the canvas through the eyes of the students. He originally
was to use his skills as an artist to help mentor the youth but
the idea quickly transformed into a full-fledged program at
“EB”—a native of Cleveland—grew up near the East side of
Cleveland around E. 105 and St Clair Streets; he attended
Lincoln West and Glenville High Schools, but finally opted out
with his GED and went to work in a factory.
The adventure enlightened him to change his future and attended
art studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art and
concentrate his work on paintings and installations. “EB’ also
worked on writing and illustrating comic books. “EB’s” work has
also been exhibited at the Beck Center for the Arts in
Lakewood, Ohio for the Hispanic Month celebrations (Sept. 15-
October 15). His father was also an artist.
In collaboration with Susan Gallagher, Associate Director
of Visual Arts Education at the Beck Center, the Esperanza youth
of the Leadership Team envisioned and created a massive 3-panel
mural of their culture, history, and education. This panel is a
ceramic mural with each panel weighing approximately 60 –
Bruno Casiano and wife Edna Fuentes-Casiano created a
warm and inviting atmosphere in their newly reopened Gallery.
Edna Fuentes also has an amazing jewelry and gift shop on the
lower level where Chef Saúl Serrano was cooking up some
incredibly delicious “Cubanitos,” roast-pork sandwiches,
mixing wonderfully with a little red wine.
It was an amazing evening of discourse with the students and
enjoying the love of art on an evening where art was the
foundation to the development of young Latino students.
Chief Saul Serrano