Hispanic Heritage Art Contest Comes to a Close

Two participants of the contest share their art and views.


Leesburg, VA- “They were doing a fun part of their dance, where the man tips his head so the sombrero covers the woman, so it’s kind of flirtatious and cute,” Natalie Tikalsky says, recalling her painting that she submitted to the Hispanic heritage art contest. Tikalsky, a Sophomore at Tuscarora High School, was the winner of the contest, in which there were two submissions: hers and Maria Arevalo Alvarado’s.

The Hispanic heritage contest was directed by Señora Paz, a Spanish Teacher at Tuscarora High School. “I decided to participate in the contest because I have personal roots within the culture… I lived for three years in Mexico. So I feel like I have a personal connection with it, and it’s also something that I love,” Tikalsky states. The art pieces were displayed outside the cafeteria where students could vote.

The winning piece was “…of the traditional Mexican dance with a woman and a man in a sombrero.” Tikalsky says her inspiration was because, “I actually had a chance to go and watch a traditional Mexican dance while I was living there.”

The previous year’s art contest had only a few participants – four to be exact – similar to this year’s low participation. Although her painting won, Tikalsky recognized that the victory this year was bittersweet. “It was… a little bit sad because I feel like that is such a unique opportunity and something that I would personally love to see more of. So the fact that only two people submitted was… disappointing for me.”

Speaking from experience of the Hispanic culture, Tikalsky puts forth, “I 100% suggest that you would participate in this… I think it’s just awesome because it gives you an opportunity to… research and find images and representations of that culture.” Not only does it represent their culture, but it helps the participants to recognize the influences from Hispanic culture that helped shape our culture today.

The second contestant was Maria Arevalo Alvarado, who is a Senior at Tuscarora High School. “I decided to participate because it is… a way to contribute about your origins,” she says. “I was inspired by the old memories of my childhood, in nature, and in the way people live in the countryside.”

Her painting represented a town in her old home El Salvador, showing how being far from the city enabled her to have more freedom with the environment. “For my Hispanic heritage, it means feeling proud of your roots, feeling that you can still have the opportunity to remember the great contributions you make to a country as important as the United States,” Arevalo Alvarado resonates, “and thus being able to recollect the cultures and customs that have been passed on for generations.”

As to whether or not students should participate in events like the Hispanic Heritage Art Contest, Arevalo Alvarado is in absolute agreement with Tikalsky that more people should take part in these events. Adding on, she says, “I would like more students to participate in these activities, perhaps not for the purpose of winning, but to show their talents and how important culture is to them.”

Furthermore, she explains that she felt nervous with there only being two participants. It was a this-or-that dilemma, and she had a 50-50 chance. In actuality, the overall scores for the two submissions were extremely close, with more than 100 students partaking in the voting.