General Motors Corp. and Latino Art Beat announced that Jose Rojas, a 2006 graduate of Venice High School, won the national ?What Hispanic/Latino Heritage and Culture Mean to Me!? art contest. As the national winner, Jose takes home a $10,000 scholarship and will have his artwork appear in GM?s Hispanic Heritage Month print advertising during the months of September and October.
At a ceremony in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa along with Felipe Herrera, GM director of Hispanic sales and marketing, unveiled Jose?s winning artwork and the new GM ad that features the painting entitled, ?The Spirit of Sharing.?
"Developing an expression of heritage through art is one of the best ways to show the world Latino culture through different eyes,? Villaraigosa said. ?I am thrilled to be honoring the winners of Latino Art Beat, and I hope this encourages future students to explore art as a means to express themselves."
Jose was one of five students in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami and Washington D.C. who won $3,000 scholarships by taking top place in local competitions organized by Latino Art Beat, a nonprofit organization promoting Hispanic youth involvement in the arts. The five local winners went on to compete for the national top prize.
?Jose is a shining example of the talent we have within the Hispanic community,? Herrera said. ?We?re proud to be part of a contest that gives students the opportunity to succeed in the arts and to inspire other talented young Latinos.?
The winning oil on canvas painting is a reflection of the rich and colorful history and traditions of Jose?s native Oaxaca, Mexico. Jose, who started painting at the age of five, describes the painting as an attempt to represent ancient and modern Mexico, while giving voice to his hope for a better future for all.
?This scholarship will help me fulfill a long time dream of studying art,?? Jose said. ?I believe in hard work and being positive to reach our goals, but having a helping hand makes a big difference. I am grateful to GM and Latino Art Beat for giving me this opportunity and for supporting other young people.?
This is the third year GM has sponsored the Latino Art Beat competition and has featured winners of the contest in Hispanic Heritage month advertising. The new ad that features Jose and his painting will run in magazines across the country in September and October. For more than two decades, GM has been a dedicated contributor to the education of Hispanic students. In 2004 alone, GM provided Latino students with scholarships worth more than $700,000.
Latino Art Beat is a Chicago non-profit that encourages the artistic talents of Latino high school students through annual art competitions. Since its formation in 1998, Latino Art Beat has run eight successful art competitions and annual open-air exhibitions. Questions about the organization or the competition should be directed to Latino Art Beat at 773-291-6901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.