Encouraging Young Artists on to Higher Education: The Latino Art Beat Story

Infocus Lecture: Encouraging Young Artists on to Higher Education: The Latino Art Beat Story


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Don presents a comprehensive background of youth in the visual arts and how Latino Art Beat encourages higher education through the award of college scholarships, which enables young aspiring artists and filmmakers on from education to careers. Don co-founded and established Latino Art Beat in 1998, a not-for profit arts organization that encourages the artistic talents of young high school artists, photographers and filmmakers. Latino Art Beat holds an annual art competition, themed "What Hispanic Heritage & Culture Means to Me", which awards college scholarships and monetary prizes to its winners. The organization also celebrates these award-winning artists by holding various art gallery showings of their winning artwork throughout the year. Don has diligently performed his duties as President of Latino Art Beat now for over twenty-five years.

One of Latino Art Beats former art competition winners, VIVIAN ZAPATA, who won the Latin Grammy Poster Competition and was recognized internationally for her incredible accomplishment, participates in this lecture. Both Don and Vivian will give their respective views on youth in the arts and how Latino Art Beat has made a tremendous difference to young aspiring visual artists.

Don Rossi Nuccio worked in the entertainment industry with such luminaries as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Prince and others. Further after having spent many successful years living overseas representing American business interests in Europe and the Middle East, collaborating with the White House, returned to Chicago and to the Little Village neighborhood on Chicago's near Southwest side where he grew up. He decided to devote himself to working with talented young inner-city high school visual artists, including filmmakers, and affording them opportunities at higher education through the award of college scholarships that they might not have otherwise had thus, preparing them for future employment opportunities. Don attended DePaul University in Chicago and the University of London.


Vivian Zapata  is an artist and art instructor currently teaching at North Park University and the Evanston Art Center. In 2005, she became the first student to design a poster for the Latin Grammys after she participated in an art competition sponsored by Latino Art Beat in collaboration with the Latin Grammys. More recently, Vivian has created observational drawings and paintings of still life subjects. She is drawn to producing works of art that promote respect and consideration for the natural world—the animal and plant sphere to which we all belong.

Art has the capacity to ascribe metaphorical or symbolic meaning to nature that can speak to the anthropocentrism of humans.

The environmental crisis of our time requires us to think about the natural realm with renewed amazement through the medium of art. Vivian’s artwork is informed by nature-endorsing philosophies such as deep ecology and romanticism. Chicago-born Vivian Zapata holds an MFA in visual art from Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA in painting and sculpture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.