Reviving the Magic: Bilingual Book & Art Fair Returns to Providence 

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In a celebration that echoes through the corridors of culture and creativity, Providence Latino Book & Arts Fair/ Feria del Libro y las Artes de Providence 2023 is set to make a triumphant return this year—a fully in-person event for the first time since the onset of COVID-19.

Raices Colombian Folk Dance Group

 

This marks the seventh installment of Feria del Libro, a tradition that took root in Providence in 2014, recognizing the widespread popularity of book festivals within the Spanish-speaking world. This year the Feria will be honoring the late Jorge Cardenas. Recognized for his unwavering commitment to community building and his founding of the “Back to School Celebration of Rhode Island,” Jorge’s legacy resonates as a testament to the transformative power of community engagement.

Spanish is spoken by an estimated 123,763 individuals in Rhode Island and 42.9% of the population in Providence, or approximately 81,000 individuals identify as Hispanic. The vibrant tapestry of the Hispanic community is an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric, and the prevalence of Spanish as a primary language further underscores the need for a dedicated Latino Arts and Book Fair.  It not only bridges language barriers, stands as a testament to the linguistic diversity of the city, but also acts as a communal space that honors and elevates the contributions of the Spanish-speaking population.

Shey ‘Rí Acu’ Rivera Ríos

At the heart of Feria del Libro is the visionary force, Carolina Briones, who has been at the Community Libraries of Providence (CLPVD)for twenty-three years. As its Latino Programs Coordinator, Carolina embarked on a mission to create a cultural event that not only embraced the richness of Latino culture but also celebrated its traditions.

The book and art fair is supported by Community Libraries of Providence and Providence College, in collaboration with Pawtucket Public Library and Rhode Island Latino Book Award. The festivities run from 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., Saturday, November 4, at Providence College, Moore Hall.

Notable creative figures at the fair include:

  • Victor Piñeiro, author of Time Villains, International Latino Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book 2021
  • Juana Martinez-Neal, children’s author of Zonia’s Rain Forest & Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • artists Shey ‘Rí Acu’ Rivera Ríos and Jesús de la Torre
  • poets Sussy Santana and Maggie Picot.
  • exhibitions by painters Carolina Briones and Nilton Cárdenas, and photographer Alex Hornstein, creator of the Bibliodiversity program

The fair begins with arts and crafts stations and free book giveaways for children—a fitting initiation into the world of literature and creativity for the next generation.

Sussy Santana

Feria del Libro y las Artes de Providence 2023 is more than an event; it is a celebration of diversity, a testament to the enduring magic of stories, and a gathering of kindred spirits who appreciate the transformative power of art. .

Alicia Pratt is the Coalition Coordinator for Multilingual Rhode Island. She serves on the board of PVD Things, a local tool lending library cooperative, and is a member of PVD Poetry, a group of poets specializing in on-demand poetry.