MFSM celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Mariachi singers perform in the sculpture garden for the kick-off to Hispanic heritage month. Vanguard Photo Editor | Brooke Elward

Sunday Sept. 18, The Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum hosted its kickoff event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

The free event took place from 1-4 p.m. at the museum’s garden. Both students and local residents joined in the festivities.

Joannah L. Lodico, the museum’s community engagement catalyst said she was most excited to see the Great Lakes Bay Region community come together to learn and grow.

The event took place in partnership with NEA Big Read Great Lakes Bay Region for the Community Read Project.

The Community Read Project comes from the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program which is done in partnership with the Hemlock Semiconductor Community and Regional Empowerment Fund, the Bay Area Community Foundation, the Saginaw Community Foundation and the Midland Area Community Foundation.

“This is the first time we are hosting a Big Read Program in the Great Lakes Bay Region,” Lodico said.

The organizations involved selected the book “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros. Free copies of the book were available to attendees at the event.

Throughout the coming year, the museum will be hosting book discussions on this story and encouraging attendees to take a copy of the book so that they can be a part of those discussions.

More book distribution sites can be found at,

The event was themed for Hispanic Heritage Month and included a Mariachi band. David Chantaca and Rosanne M. Chantaca, a father-daughter duo, played music for the event and discussed the history of Mariachi to the event guests.

The food, catered by SVSU’s Conference and Events Center, prepared a menu of Elote en Vaso (Mexican street corn cups),

Mini Tamale Torta and Skewers Al Pastor. Additionally, there were all kinds of other activities happening at the event, including decor and sand sculpture activities, as well as a station for attendees to record their stories of “Mi casa, Su casa,” telling both the good and bad stories of their neighborhoods. An important part of the Big Read Project is to build a portrait of the region with these recorded stories of neighborhoods.

“The grant period will occur from September 2021 to June 2022,” Andrea Ondish, the curator of education for The Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum said. “All three counties will coordinate their own programming that will include a kickoff event, book distributions for ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra

Cisneros, book discussions, children’s book reads and art activities, a public art project and the collection and sharing of stories of community members in various formats.”

If you were unable to attend and are interested in similar events, The NEA Big Read: Great Lakes Bay Region is hosting their Midland Kickoff at Creative 360 from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25.

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