District celebrates Hispanic heritage
District celebrates Hispanic heritage
Posted on 10/24/2018
District celebrates Hispanic heritage

If you are seeking a cultural experience, the Puyallup School District’s Karshner Center is the place to be. On Saturday, October 20 the place was filled with performers and visitors celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the district’s first Culture & Arts Festival of the school year – Dia de la Raza.


Dia de la RazaPart of the mission of the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts is to create exhibitions and learning experiences which will help visitors make connections between themselves and the world in which we live. Since the Puyallup community is rich with diversity, and since October is Hispanic Heritage Month, the school district has sponsored events to enhance cultural awareness, promote cultural competency, and honor students, families, and community members who celebrate a Hispanic heritage.

Washington’s premier company of Mexican dance, Bailadores de Bronce, brought colorful costumes and professional dancers and left the audience wishing for more. The intricate footwork and refined choreography represented many different regions of Mexico helping visitors better understand the diversity of Mexico’s people.

Karshner CenterMembers of the folkloric dance troupe from Seattle taught visitors traditional dance moves and performed marvelous dances to the delight of the audience.

Dance lessons were also taught by one of the best Salsa couples in competition, Vanessa Villalobos and Eduardo. Originally from Lima, Peru, Villalobos has earned dance and theatre degrees from the University of Washington and Seattle University. Eduardo is a world Salsa Champion, and together the they teach Salsa all over Washington.

Visitors learned the new moves, then joined the party. Young and old, festival-goers celebrated life on the dance floor. Everyone was smiling!

Arriving on a school bus from eastern Washington, students from Wenatchee High School made their way to the Karshner Center for their live performance. Mariachi Azteca is an award-winning student Mariachi band and has been featured on FOX, ABC, Despierta America, and CBS Evening News. The sounds of Mariachi confirmed the authenticity of the festival. Add the aroma of freshly made tacos and burritos purchased from the on-site food vendor, and the place became a sensory-filled experienced.

Student performers also got in on the action. Drummers and dancers from Carson Elementary and Spinning Elementary brought a positive response from the many festival visitors. General music teachers Stephanie Magnusson (Carson) and Laurie Haakons (Spinning) taught special dance and music with Latino roots in preparation for the day.

Karshner CenterAs a museum, the Karshner Center maintains a collection of over 10,000 artifacts – many representing Latino and Hispanic cultures. Exhibits designed especially for Dia de la Raza were on display, along with flags from many countries around the world. Visitors marked the nations representing their families’ heritage and went home with a small national flag to celebrate.

At the Karshner Center, educators believe cultural artifacts, arts performances, and learning opportunities help students and adults become creators and contributors to our society. We feel through our efforts our community can gain a deeper understanding of others’ cultures, heritage and the common human experience.

Karshner CenterDon’t miss out on the next Culture & Art Festival! On November 17 the Puyallup School District will host the Ukrainian Folk Art Festival at the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts. Bring families to this FREE event from noon until 5 pm. Visitors will make Motanka (cloth dolls), Pysanka Eggs, see a Bandura (ancient instrument) player and maker, listen to Ukrainian Children's Choir, learn Ukrainian dance – and more! Read Karshner Center's Winter Newsletter.