Ms. Lydia Cotton has been actively involved with the Hispanic Community in the Charleston area for more than a decade. She has advocated on behalf of so many families ensuring that they are aware of their rights and that they are aware of resources available to them. Understanding the many challenges faced by Hispanics in our state and in the Charleston area, Lydia has never wavered in her advocacy and work with agencies, businesses and the community. In addition, Lydia along with Maribel Acosta are the founders of what is the Multicultural Center in Hanahan, SC. Art Pot Multicultural Group is the first Hispanic center of its kind in South Carolina. Having the vision to open a center where kids can express themselves through theatre, arts and so much more. Maribel and Lydia went to work and the community followed. A center was built by the people for the people. AWESOME. As Hispanic coordinator from South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs, I have seen the wonderful work that they have completed and the numerous people they are serving. Lydia serves as North Charleston-Hispanic Liaison, City Of Charleston-Latino Ambassador, Mayors' Commission on Homelessness, and on the Commission on Women's City of Charleston.
Maribel Acosta Gonzalez, an artist and arts educator, is the visionary for this project along with Lydia Cotton. Born and raised in Cuba, Acosta is a painter, a playwright, and the host of two radio shows. Her paintings have been exhibited at West Ashley's now-defunct 827 and the Charleston County Public Library's Saul Alexander galleries. Her play, Aramos en el Mar? (Shall We Plough Through the Sea?), was inspired by stories of the Hispanic experience; it was performed by North Charleston's Olla de Arte theater group in May. And you can hear her weekly on Radio El Sol (980 and 1480 AM) during her "Comunidad a Las 3" talk show. Maribel understood that the Hispanic community needed a place that they would be able to feel at home and at the same time learn about the arts and provide a place in which kids, as well as adults, could express their talents. Maribel Acosta’s vision is to build a more diverse and accepting community through art. The reason she works through so many channels is she wants to reach more people, in whatever way might appeal to them the most. "When you take your job seriously as an artist, as a teacher, or even as a parent, you have to do many tasks at the same time," she says. "You have to be immensely creative so that what you want to teach or transmit stays in the memory."
Another example of their work is the training and graduation of 30 Art Pot members who received the 10-week course to be trained in law enforcement, firefighting, code enforcement, and building inspection.