Edén Rendros, 9, dresses as Frida Kahlo as she takes part in the Frida for All event at the Allen County Public Library downtown Saturday.
Amanda Rios, a 3rd grade student at Cedarville Elementary, is shown with the results of Collaborative Painting, one of the activities during the Frida for All event at the Allen County Public library downtown on Saturday. The event was put together by Mexica-Arts and Sophia’s Portico, and celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Linda Burns, left, and Micki Kepes, right, make paper flowers as Terri Duclos looks on during the Frida for All event Saturday at the library downtown.

Edén Rendros, 9, dresses as Frida Kahlo as she takes part in the Frida for All event at the Allen County Public Library downtown Saturday.
Amanda Rios, a 3rd grade student at Cedarville Elementary, is shown with the results of Collaborative Painting, one of the activities during the Frida for All event at the Allen County Public library downtown on Saturday. The event was put together by Mexica-Arts and Sophia’s Portico, and celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Linda Burns, left, and Micki Kepes, right, make paper flowers as Terri Duclos looks on during the Frida for All event Saturday at the library downtown.
The atrium of the Allen County Public Library downtown was decked out in bright, floral colors Saturday as guests crowded in to experience the life and art of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Saturday’s Frida for All event was hosted by Mexica-Arts and Sophia’s Portico, a local art and spirituality center founded in 1992, and focused on Kahlo as a celebration of Latinas in history, women in the arts and artists with physical disabilities.
September is also National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“We want to introduce different aspects of Mexican heritage and Mexican tradition and famous Mexican nationals,” Mexica-Arts’ Emily Guerrero said. “Frida is our icon because we wanted Hispanic Heritage to have an emphasis on ‘All.’ ”
Great care was taken, Guerro said, to ensure the afternoon’s activities were “sensitive and caring to people who are hearing impaired, visually impaired or physically challenged.”
“We want people to understand that we have a lot to give each other and we have a lot of similarities,” she added.
When Kahlo was 6, she contracted polio, which left her with a limp. When she was a teenager, a car crash left her with significant injuries to her pelvis and spine. Kahlo, who many consider a feminist, Latina and LGBTQ+ icon, taught herself to paint while recovering. Her artwork often showcased her disabilities.
“Our community is becoming so diverse, the more that we learn about one another, the more accepting we’re going to be,” said Terri Duclos, president of Sophia’s Portico. “And we’re all so gifted in so many ways and we all have a lot to share.”
An artist herself, Amarra Nester said she’s enjoyed learning about art through history and Kahlo’s unique style. Nester, who volunteered to help run the Kahlo selfie station Saturday, is also Miss Fort Wayne’s Outstanding Teen.
“I did not know how much of an inspiration she was to people from modern day. I knew she was a talented artist and stuff, but I didn’t realize how much of a cultural example she was,” Nester said, adding that she spoke to a woman Saturday afternoon who told her Kahlo was her inspiration to dress up every day.
“Just seeing how much she inspires people today, from so many different communities, is really cool,” she said.
In addition to learning about and experiencing the artwork of Frida Kahlo, guests were also invited to participate in activities involving Hispanic pottery and textiles, and to learn about the Marigold, which originated in Mexico and traveled through Africa and into Europe. Other activities helped explain the importance of the monarch butterfly to Hispanic culture. Visitors were also able to participate in a collective painting activity involving examples of Kahlo’s artwork.
Saturday was also an opportunity for various local agencies to meet members of the community that they might not normally connect with.
Organizations present Saturday included the Fort Wayne Center for Nonviolence, The League for the Blind & Disabled and Bienestar Sin Fronteras or Wellness Without Borders, an initiative that focuses on mental health and wellness for Allen County’s Latino residents. The League of Women Voters was also on hand to raise awareness of its Vote411 website ahead of the 2022 Midterm elections.
The Center for Nonviolence chose to participate in Saturday’s event to promote awareness of support services the organization offers that cater to the Latino community, said Rebecca Parker, who was operating the group’s booth.
“While domestic violence affects everybody, in the Latinx community it’s often underreported because of cultural issues,” Parker said. “So we want to make sure we’re out here in the community as much as we can. And it’s a fun event. We love seeing the kiddos and handing out coloring sheets and bringing a little joy to someone’s day.”

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