Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center Exposes Venezuelan Crisis

By Syd Bastos

The Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center created the Destination Series in 2016 to expose residents and visitors of Vicksburg to other cultures, using combinations of art, music, dance, storytelling, traditions, literature and, of course, food to bring these cultures to life. In the past, the center has featured Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, Latvia, even rural America.

Where would the VCAC go next? Natalya Critchley provided the answer! Although Natalya is English-born, she had been a resident of Venezuela for over 40 years before she and Venezuelan-born husband Claudio Mendoza moved to Kalamazoo under political and economic duress in 2016. She has been creating her art in Vicksburg in the last year or so. After a few brainstorming sessions with this inspiring and well-connected duo, five unique events were created and scheduled between March 20 and March 28. They include an art exhibit, poetry reading, cooking workshop, panel discussion and concert.

While each of the events provides a sampling of the culture of Venezuela, the panel discussion is perhaps the most significant. The Tragedy of the Venezuelan Crisis includes a panel of Venezuelan journalists and scholars who will discuss the political and humanitarian crisis along with their perspectives of international involvement and support of the resolution of the crisis. The free event will be held at the VCAC at 105 S. Main Street in Vicksburg on Friday, March 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Journalist Marielba Núñez and scientist Dr. Vladimiro Mujica will be at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center for the event and sociologist-journalist Tulio Hernández and scientist Dr. Luis A. Núñez will be attending by videoconference.

These panelists will provide personal accounts of not only how the lives of Venezuelans have been impacted by the crisis, but also what each of these ardent Venezuelans are doing today to contribute to solutions, answer questions and offer suggestions for how audience members can help. VCAC Director Brian Berheide, explains, “We are fortunate to have internationally recognized panelists who can share current and thoughtful insight of the Venezuelan crisis and provide an opportunity for dialog as we seek to understand what role the United States may play in the resolution and potential aftermath of this crisis.”

This event is sure to capture the urgency of the Venezuelan crisis and demonstrate how a nation under siege continues to fight for its survival, unified in one purpose, for a united and free Venezuela, Berheide said.

For more information about The Tragedy of the Venezuelan Crisis panel discussion and others in the Destination Venezuela program, go to or call (269) 200-2223.

Art Exhibit: The Long Walk   

Fri, Mar 20, 6-8 pm at VCAC. Free event

An Evening of Venezuelan & American Poetry

Sat, Mar 21, 5-8 pm at VCAC. Free event

Cooking Class:  Venezuelan Cuisine—Hallacas USA

Sun, Mar 22, 2-5 pm at Main Street Pub, $15

Panel Discussion: Tragedy of the Venezuelan Crisis

Fri, Mar 27, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at VCAC. Free event

Concert: Cuatro Meets Banjolectric

Sat, Mar 28, 7-10 pm at 107 S. Main Vicksburg, $10, Cash bar

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