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Aetna Plays Host To Esperanza Academy Art Students


Latino students will tour Frida Kahlo exhibition as company’s guests

Some 63 students from Philadelphia’s Esperanza Academy will tour the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art March 31 as guests of Aetna (NYSE: ΑET), which is the exhibition’s local sponsor.

Aetna also will host a tour for 40 supporters, employees and volunteers of Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a nationally recognized, community-based, non-profit organization that has been strengthening Latino communities in Philadelphia for over 30 years.

Founded in 1977 as a grassroots agency, Congreso has grown to be a leading provider of employment, education, and supportive services to Latinos in the Philadelphia region. Through these services, Congreso transforms people’s lives by providing individuals with the tools to move up the economic ladder and out of poverty.

“As a major insurer and employer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Aetna is proud to help make the Frida Kahlo exhibition available to the people of Philadelphia,” said Patrick Young, president of Aetna’s Mid-Atlantic Region. “In particular, we’re delighted that the students of Esperanza Academy will get to see the works of a renowned Latina artist.”

While most school districts are experiencing massive cuts in funding for arts education, Esperanza Academy recently invested $2 million in a new facility specifically designed to teach the arts. The new arts wing offers students opportunities to major in dance, drama, film, instrumental music, voice and visual arts. The curriculum also offers career tracks in information technology, journalism, entrepreneurship, and teacher education.

Esperanza was founded in 1987 by Rev. Luis Cortés Jr. and the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia in direct response to the challenges and opportunities in the Hispanic community. It has since become the largest national, Hispanic faith-based development corporation in the nation.

Aetna has worked closely with Esperanza on several community programs. In 2007, the company donated $10,000 to support “Tu Eres La Respuesta” (“You Are the Answer”), an HIV/AIDS awareness program.

In both 2006 and 2007, Aetna donated $10,000 to support the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference. Rev. Cortés and Esperanza organized the first National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in 2002 as an opportunity for Hispanic clergy to gather together in prayer for the nation and its Hispanic community. Today, it has evolved into an event that annually attracts more than 750 participants to the nation’s capital for prayer, advocacy and celebration.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the only East Coast venue for Frida Kahlo, the first major exhibition in 15 years to be devoted to the immensely influential Mexican artist in the United States. The exhibition includes more than 40 paintings, including some works not previously shown before in this country, and is drawn from more than 30 collections in Mexico, France, Japan and the United States.

Paintings are complemented by more than 100 photographs from Kahlo’s personal collection. They include images by pre-eminent photographers, as well as personal images of Kahlo with family and friends, including her husband Diego Rivera and cultural and political figures such as Leon Trotsky and surrealist Andre Breton.

“The museum is delighted with Aetna’s support, which has not only contributed to bringing the Frida Kahlo exhibition to Philadelphia but also helped to complement and extend the museum’s mission of serving all communities in the region,” said Marla Shoemaker, senior curator of education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


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