Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hispanic Art Walk Goes out on Its Own; Rapidly Growing Annual Event Set for Saturday at Jacksonville Landing

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hispanic Art Walk Goes out on Its Own; Rapidly Growing Annual Event Set for Saturday at Jacksonville Landing

Article excerpt

Byline: David Crumpler

Jacksonville's annual Hispanic Art Walk is celebrating its growing success by stepping out on its own.

You can experience the results on Saturday.

For its first five years, it was part of the Downtown Art Walk. On the first Wednesday of each October, from 5 to 9 p.m., Latin music, dance, art and food would dominate the evening.

By the fourth year, the event had become so popular that it spread from Hemming Plaza to surrounding streets.

This year, the festival is moving a few blocks away - to The Jacksonville Landing - to accommodate the expected crowds.

The Hispanic Art Walk is presented by Eco Latino, a monthly Spanish-language publication of Morris Communications Co., parent company of Times-Union Media. Eco Latino is also extending the length of party.

Saturday's event is scheduled from 4 p.m. to midnight. Admission is free.

Millie Colon is founder of Renacer Borincano (which loosely translates to "rebirth of Puerto Rico"), a music and dance group that has been participating in the Hispanic Art Walk since the beginning.

A native of Puerto Rico, she formed Renacer Borincano after she moved to Jacksonville from San Diego eight years ago.

She was still living in San Diego when she was introduced to bomba, a traditional genre of Puerto Rican music.

The music, which goes back to the 1800s, reflects influences from several cultures in the island's history and relies on a strong creative connection between the dancers, singers and musicians, Colon said. It's played with two drums, cuas - two wooden sticks played on a wooden surface - and a maraca.

A component of bomba that helps make it unique, she said, is that one of the drummers will follow rhythms established by the dancer, rather than the other way around.

Most of the songs are simple, and though their messages are occasionally tinged with sadness, "It's the kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance," Colon said. …

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