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A Street of Photos Pays Tribute to the Biblioteca’s Founder

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By Jesús Aguado

Since January, an area of calle San Francisco has held larger-than-life posters of Sanmiguelenses who have impacted the city’s culture, traditions, philanthropy, architecture, or education.

The exhibit, called Rostros (Faces), is the brainchild of Paulina Cadena, director of the city’s Culture and Tradition department. Cadena is one of a cadre of people the new local government appointed last year as “guardians of culture,” appointees in charge of spreading awareness of the city’s ancestral heritage.

Rostros‘ third installment went up April 26. To remain on display for 20 days, it pays tribute to 28 people who had an impact on the city’s cultural life, including La Biblioteca founder, the late Helen Wale, and Lucha Maxwell, founder of the children’s rehabilitation center, Centro de Crecimiento.

The exhibit features a wide variety of Sanmiguelenses. Actor, singer, friar, and founder of Casa Hogar Mexiquito José Guadalupe Mojica is on display, as is Stirling Dickinson protégé, artist Leonard Brooks. Some people featured in the exhibit are still alive, including José “El Negro” Ortiz Moya, a journalist for the last 30 years, and Jesús Mercadillo, founder of the local Red Cross and the city’s fire department. Jesús Espinosa and José Luis Malagón are included for their contribution to the annual Locos Parade; both have been designing and constructing hundreds of masks for the event, which goes back decades.

Biblioteca Board of Directors President Ali Zerriffi said that the exhibit is important because it recognizes people with the vision to contribute to San Miguel society, adding that he is sure many other people were behind their projects as well. He invited people to ask themselves if we have the San Miguel that those people wanted to create.

On the tribute to Helen Wale, Zerriffi noted, “We preserve her legacy. As the Biblioteca, we work with many organizations to continue with the tradition of sharing, giving back, and trying to help. Some work altruistically, other with politic objectives, but those go and come. The good people remain.”


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