Seniors Shaina Coronel and Sacharja Cunningham introduce a Hispanic Studies poetry slam at the Tramontane Cafe in Utica, N.Y.

Poets and performers Sacharja Cunningham ’17 and Shaina Coronel ’17, along with Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Jessica Gordon-Burroughs, facilitated a bilingual spoken word project during the fall semester.

Cunningham used his experience both as a poet and as a teacher of spoken word during a summer internship to coordinate the poetry workshop series. After introducing the craft, he helped attendees create their own pieces as they discussed sample spoken word performances, the Latin American art objects and photos.

Coronel drew from her experience as a camp counselor as she worked with young girls from the Mohawk Valley Latino Association (MVLA) to promote a discussion about their interaction with spoken word.

Participants wrote ekphrastic poetry from Latin American art objects at Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute (MWPAI) in Utica, N.Y., and Hamilton’s Wellin Museum, as well as from family photos and photos of Utica.

The creativity and exuberance of the students and the community were highlighted when the project culminated in a poetry slam at Tramontane Café in downtown Utica.

Spanish Club officers Grace Ward ’17, Rebecca DeTurk ’17, Amanda Hernández ’17 and Eddie Brennan ’19 also helped organize and support the semester-long project.

Throughout the process, the students collaborated with Katherine Alcauskas, collections and exhibitions specialist at the Wellin; Sonia Martínez, president of the MVLA; Mary Murray, curator of modern and contemporary art at MWPAI; and Robin Raabe of the Tramontane Café.

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