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Dreams really DO come true…

By Sienna Miller



If you were to pass by the nursery at Southwest Drive United Methodist Church, you might have a cause to pause. Reason being…the artwork displayed on the wall, by Mr. Luis Quintana. Luis is originally from Santiago Cuba and at the age of ten, he began expressing himself through art by painting letters. While Quintana has lived in {{more}} America for over 20 years now, he has only recently become an American Citizen. All of that changed two years ago. When explaining his feelings about this, he doesn’t delay in his expression. “It’s an honor to be an American!” Says Quintana. He goes on to state that he feels in America, that he has a complete family here and that he considers everyone his brother no matter what race they are. When you look into his past and see what it’s been like in his homeland, there is no confusion on why one would feel this way. “There are a lot of things in Cuba that are difficult to cope with. I’ve seen a lot of murders and communism.” adds Quintana. He explained seeing 6 or 7 people getting on a boat in Cuba because they wanted to leave, and the communists came and Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow, killed all of them. Some were 20 years old; some were 2 years old and various other ages. He would not like to return until there is more of a democracy he says. In 1984, Quintana left Cuba and went to Venezuela. He resided there for 2 and a half years and then in 1987 he arrived here in America. “I have 135 family members here in America. They are all over.” These family members all come from three brothers, one sister and their spouses. Once a year at the end of July, all of his family gets together for a reunion in Dana Point California. “Culture is a big thing for us and even the little ones learn to speak Spanish”, says Quintana’s daughter Andie. “All of the family speaks English and Spanish, Me? Spanish” he says with a laugh. Daughter Andie mentions that it is a requirement from the family, that they all speak Spanish.Quintana likes to express himself through different mediums of art. And that is what brought me to him and his family on this day! When asked what his favorite thing to paint was, he mentioned nature. Quintana likes a lot of outdoor scenes and connects it back to Venezuela where there are a lot of beautiful beaches and landscapes. This is primary where he gets his inspiration from. “I consider anyone who works with their hands, to be an artist, no matter if they paint if they sculpt or make jewelry.” says Quintana. He feels that the world or art and its artists are broad. “As long as you put your heart into it, you can work with anything as far as whether you had schooling or even if you didn’t have schooling. The talent is still there.” He adds.Quintana has hand painted two beautiful murals on the wall of the Southwest Drive Methodist Church Nursery. The first one is of a cross and has three angels at the bottom, one over each crib. He gives special attention to this section because he believes that all infants are angels. He pinned three angels at the bottom of his painted cross to show their protection by each angel. The cross, he says is to signify that the Lord is watching over them all! The second and biggest mural is the story of Noah’s Ark, broken down in segments. When asked how all of this came about he says, “Ten years ago, I had a dream about painting an Ark, but I didn’t think anything of it. Just like I didn’t think I was going to end up here in Texas” he says with a smile. Back then he and his family were living in Las Vegas. “I then came to Southwest Drive United Methodist where my daughter and wife were already working. They approached my wife and daughter and had expressed that they wanted to have some type of mural with Noah’s Ark. My wife and daughter happened to ask me if I knew how to paint Noah’s Ark, because usually I paint beaches, palm trees and various other landscapes.” Says Quintana. “Then I started painting it and remembered that I had this dream ten years ago.” He adds. So dreams really do come true! Ofelia, Quintana’s wife explains the unfolding of this dream. She says that after coming from California to moving to Las Vegas ; they lived there for some time. Their daughter Andie then met her boyfriend and moved here to Abilene to be with him and to go to school. Since Andie is the baby of the family, Momma wanted to follow and Papa too! While their daughter is finishing up her Early Childhood Degree at McMurry they all attend the Southwest Drive United Methodist Church. All of that led them here to Abilene. Interesting how, had one event not occurred, then the other would not have either. And at the end of all this, a beautiful painting that was dreamt about long ago by Quintana. Luis talks about how much he likes Abilene. “We like how people here are so humble. It’s very different from the city life.” Says daughter Andie. People are very attentive and always worried about can I do anything to help, not like in the city.” He says. Ofelia says, “There it’s next, next, next!” she says with a giggle. Daughter Andie says “Yeah, it just came from a dream and they needed someone to paint it…so ten years later he paints what is in his dream!”In addition to expressing himself through the artistic medium of painting, Quintana also writes poetry and has even written a book entitled Compartiendo mis suenos. This book full of his own poetry, means…Sharing My Dreams. It was published in 2005. He was written about in the Las Vegas Newspaper El Mundo meaning The World. On May 13, 2006 his poem La Madre, My Mother, this was featured there for Mother’s Day. Quintanas shares that while he was in Las Vegas Nevada, he won a radio contest for his poetry on 1340 AM. Because of his winning, he was invited to host a one-hour radio broadcast every Saturday evening , where he was able to read his poetry and to share with others who would call in. The radio spot was entitled Music, Love and Poetry. While a part of that, people would call in and request that he write poetry for occasions like Mother’s day and such. Quintanas does not hesitate to write about all sorts of different things. “I talk about love. I have tremendous respect for mothers. I write about children, victims of abuse , about people who have problems with drugs and addiction.” Says Quintana. “I also write about pregnant women and the blessing that they hold within their wombs!” he adds.He wrote another poem that is dear to his heart. The name of it is “La Amistad” meaning “My Friend”. “Sometimes you have family, and sometimes you have friends that you consider them family. They are so close to you that they are actually family. I believe in friendship. Anyone can have an acquaintance, but it takes a lot for that person to actually become a friend, and not just somebody that you know.” Says Quintana. Quintana’s daughter Andie adds, “That’s what he tells me all the time. You know people, but they are not considered a true friend until unless you trust them.” Andie adds . If you would like to read this poem in Spanish you can go to . .

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