If you've read one book in Spanish, chances are it's Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The classic account of delusional heroism is taught in high schools around the country, and it’s many a Spanish-as-a-second-language student's gateway into literary art set to a foreign tongue.
So it’s poetic justice that the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque’s newly founded Festival Cervantes, Writing Art, is aiming to spread the Spanish language through a variety of artists and mediums. "Our mission is promoting the Spanish language, and then the Hispanic culture—whether from Spain or Latin America," says ICA Cultural Events Coordinator Milly Ledwith.
Festival Cervantes begins on Thursday with an exhibit by Mexico City graffiti artist Miguel Mejía, aka Neuzz. The work Mejía will be exhibiting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UNM’s Latin American and Iberian Institute (801 Yale NE) is based on storytelling from his grandfather and draws from Aztecan iconography.
One of several events Friday is a talk by celebrated Venezuelan author Israel Centeno. He'll speak on the direction and effect of Latin American writing in the 20th century. That one’s slated for noon at the Latin American and Iberian Institute.
Friday night's activity is more informal, with a mixer boasting performances by Burque Sonidero and Felix y Los Gatos at Marble Brewery (111 Marble NW) from 8 to 11 p.m.
Bringing the festival full-circle on International Book Day—Monday, April 23—is an open mic that also includes readings of Cervantes' poems by UNM students and faculty. This will be held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Wells Fargo Auditorium (1701 Fourth Street SW) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There are a handful of other events involved with the fest, including poetry readings by and for kids and teens, concerts, and literary awards ceremonies.
Ledwith encourages practitioners of all languages to come. "When you are speaking of doing art, it doesn't matter what language you speak."