The festival showcases the richness of the Hispanic culture in South Florida’s art scene. The Hispanic Art Expressions Exhibit was created in the year 2000 when the advisory board held its yearly annual retreat. Former Board Member Amy Godoy recommended that the board implement a project reflecting diversity through arts to be hosted during the Hispanic Heritage month. A committee was created which included Ms. Godoy as the Chairwoman and two members of MDCHAAB; Ms. Josie Lorenzo and Ms. Roymi Membiela as well as HAAB Director Ms. Maria Lazo. Soon the committee worked compiling a list of local Hispanic artists to be invited to participate. The event was hosted for the first time on November 10th, 2000 at the Miami Dade College InterAmerican Campus. Due to the event’s success, the board decided to keep it as its signature event to be hosted at different sectors of the Miami-Dade County Hispanic Community every year during the month of October . The exhibit celebrates Hispanic Heritage month and contributes to the education of economically disadvantaged Hispanic College Art and Science students by providing them scholarships every year through the HAAB scholarship fund. The proceeds from the sale of the artworks, as well as a percentage of the event’s sponsors support are donated to the HAAB Scholarship Fund that is managed by the Miami Dade College Foundation. As part of this year’s celebrations, there will be three art exhibitions at different venues around Miami and Coral Gables. Hispanic Art Expressions 2006 Exhibit will open on October 6th, at 7:30 pm at the Regions Bank located at 2800 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables, featuring the works of this year’s selected artists. A few days later, on October 20th, another show will open at the landmark Freedom Tower including over one hundred artists that have participated in prior editions, and whose works reflect many aspects of Hispanic immigration. The third part of the exhibit will be on display throughout the month of October at the Latin Quarter Cultural Center of Miami located at 1501 SW 8th Street. This year’s participating artists will be Emilio Rodríguez, Dominica Alcántara, José M. Abraham, Aldo Amador, Raymond Campos, César Caracas, Ramón Carulla, Héctor Catá, Ronald and Nelson Currás, Vicente Fabré, Pablo Hernández, Jorge Martell, Annie Maxwell, Silvia Modica, Jesús Montes Tourón, Antonio Núñez, Roberto Páramo, Elizabeth E. Báez, Luis Breso, Bernardo Cueto, Juan B. Elesgaray, Francisco Fernández, Rigoberto García Linares, Alejandra Goldberg, Edin Gutiérrez, Eduardo R. Lacayo, Mirta López, Victor Madero, Mirna Marín, Rafael Marín, Luis Matos (Patiri), Tony Mendoza, Beatriz Ramírez, Mari M. Sánchez, Pilar Serrano, Marc Andries Smit, Sandra Suárez and Oshka Tarazona. The board also features the Hispanic Role Model and Future Leader of the Year Award luncheon, where the Hispanic Role model and Future Leader of the Year Awards are granted. The Role Model Award was created in order to recognize a Hispanic who has contributed to the enhancement and development of business, culture, education, or the arts in our community. The Future Leader Award was created in order to recognize a young Hispanic who has made a difference in his or her community, either volunteering, helping others, mentoring, building or creating a meaningful project to benefit others. At the award luncheon, scheduled for September 29th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Coconut Grove, the board will honor businessman and art collector Jorge Perez as the recipient of this year’s Hispanic Role Model Award, recognizing his contributions to the artistic development of South Florida. The luncheon keynote speaker will be Helen Aguirre Ferre, a journalist who has worked in print and television for nearly twenty years and who is the Opinion Page Editor of Diario Las Americas. The Miami-Dade County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board was established in May, 1992 at the request of Commissioner Alex Penelas. Its thirteen members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to serve in an advisory capacity to them, to the community and to all agencies and persons in Miami-Dade County Florida, “with respect to matters pertaining to the Hispanic community of Miami-Dade County.” The membership of the HAAB reflects the diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds represented in Miami-Dade County so that the concerns of the Hispanic community are addressed by the HAAB. The HAAB among other duties is responsible for promoting positive images of Hispanics and their many contributions to society; and to serve as a medium for responsible persons to utilize and consult with in attempting to understand and solve the many complex problems involved with the Hispanic community in Dade County. The board’s mission – as established by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners to improve the quality of life of Hispanic citizens – is to identify and monitor the needs and interests of Hispanic citizens, develop programs addressing such issues, encourage involvement of Hispanics in matters of community concerns, support the development of Hispanics in leadership roles, and recommend to the Board of County Commissioners legislation supporting Hispanic issues.