African American artist featured in Latino Art Show highlighting Hispanic heritage and culture


By Jennifer Coburn – Contributing Writer


Jonelle Crowder is an African American artist who feels it’s vital to her growth to study her cultural roots – and those of other groups who have been historically disenfranchised. “In examining the Latino experience, I learned about myself as an artist and as an African American,” explains the 19-year-old San Diegan. “Each culture is unique and beautiful in its own way, but it is also interesting to see how some of the same tools of oppression have been used against Latinos and African Ameri
cans. We have each had our struggles and continue to work toward social and economic justice. Art is a wonderful way to start that conversation and public dialog.”

Crowder is a student at Platt College San Diego School of Digital Media Design, which is proud to present La Vida De Colores, a vibrant art show that explores the rich history, diversity, and spirit of Latino culture. Comprised of 18 fine art and graphic design pieces created by Platt College students and alumni, the show will run through November at the Spring Valley public library, located at 836 Kempton Street. The show is free to the public and can be viewed during regular library hours.

Crowders pieces are graphic designs that aim to express “the colorful, fun side, but also the history of the Latino culture,” she says. “Selena” celebrates the Latina entertainment legend Selena Quintanilla and “Esperanza Rising” is selena-1a reimagining of a book cover of the young adult novel by Pam Munoz Ryan. “I want to incorporate my art into this powerful culture,” says Crowder.

“Celebrating the diversity and cultural richness of both our region and student body is a core value at Platt College and we are delighted with the quality of work students have created,” says Bob Leiker, Chairman of the college, which has been in San Diego for more than 30 years. “The process of developing artwork for this show has been revelatory for students not only as they hone their technical skills, but also as they examine issues of Latino heritage, culture, and social justice.”

Curators Nicole Lewis and Bianca Reyes agree. “We created an artistic landscape of work from students from varying backgrounds and asked them to express their understanding and appreciation of Latino heritage,” says Lewis, head librarian and writing instructor at Platt College. “What we got was nothing short of spectacular, with pieces that are heartfelt explorations of universal experiences.” Platt College invites the community to share in this celebration of Latino heritage. To learn more about future art shows and exhibitions, please visit