Design students’ concept for Hispanic Cultural Site earns them scholarships

Pictured above, from left: Luis Aguilar, Yessenia Perez, Professor Holly Sowles, Dean Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Olga Perez, Crystal Gonzalez and Dulce Rodriguez. (Not pictured: Marcos Contreras)

Several months of hard work by six design students in the Department of Art and Design culminated with the students receiving scholarships for their work on a proposed design for a Hispanic Cultural Site for the Fresno Fairgrounds.

“We began this project over the Christmas break,” said Professor Holly Sowles, who teaches interior design at Fresno State. “I asked six first-generation Latino college students to participate. Five were from interior design – two seniors and three juniors. The sixth student was a senior in graphic design.”

The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation requested that the students create a Hispanic Cultural Site for the Fresno Fairgrounds honoring the culture, traditions and historical heritage of the Latino population in the Central Valley. The students completed and presented their design to the Fresno Fairground’s Board of Directors the week before spring break.

The following students worked on the project: Crystal Gonzalez, Yessenia Perez, Luis Aguilar, Dulce Rodriguez, Olga Perez and Marcos Contreras (graphic design). Dora Westerlund, CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, sponsored the project.

At the Hispanic Foundation Gala on May 12, each of the students received a $1,000 scholarship. The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation also announced that the site will be built and ready for exhibition for the opening of the 2018 Fresno Fair.

“This project endeavors to visually represent a place in which the Latino population of Fresno may ponder on their heritage by bringing together the traditions of the past, and educate the generations of tomorrow through the aid of new technologies,” the students wrote in their description of the design concept.



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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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