Holyoke’s Beyond Walls Tour Celebrates La Noche de San Juan

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Holyoke hosted a variety of festivities, including an arts tour for La Noche de San Juan.

Puerto Ricans around the world celebrated La Noche de San Juan, the eve of the feast of the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Nueva Esperanza kicked off the festivities of the year with Holyoke’s Beyond Walls Tour.

“The intention here is to really put the newly designated Puerto Rican neighborhood on the map in a bit of a colorful way with really Puerto Rican rock stars,” said Al Wilson, Founder and CEO of Beyond Walls.

Beyond the Walls brings great art to communities around the world and this week they traveled to Holyoke. Seven artists from Puerto Rico and Portugal create a curated experience through various works of art throughout the city.

“We brought in artists who reflect that cultural identity of the community,” Wilson explained. “They’ve put in pieces that reflect that culture, so really the community here can be seen in the art.”

The art series is especially special because Holyoke is the second in the country to be designated as a Puerto Rican Cultural District. And in honor of La Noche de San Juan, artists from Puerto Rico and Portugal added color and life throughout the city by showing images of Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean culture.

“It’s called Iguana Bona. It’s a reinterpretation of a Taino myth,” David Zayas Ponce told 22News.

Many artists like Rafique hope these images will resonate and show the Holyoke community a piece of home while representing a beacon of hope and resilience.

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