Leonardo Illianov De La Cruz, HRM Gala Honoree

We’re just a few days away from Making Waves: A Hudson River Museum Gala. This year, we are ushering in a new era for the Hudson River Museum and celebrating our outstanding honorees who have strengthened our community and the HRM: actress Donna Murphy, HRM trustee Mary Calvi, the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, and artist Leonardo Ilianov De La Cruz.

Leonardo Ilianov De La Cruz was born in the Dominican Republic and currently lives and works in Yonkers. His work addresses inner-city experiences and culture, touching on class, identity, and the beauty within the struggle of marginalized communities. De La Cruz has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Hudson River Museum; he played an active part of the genesis of the HRM Contemporaries Council and was an important leader of many HRM programs, including drawing workshops and most recently the Corner Store Community art workshop, presented in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

De La Cruz’s painting Charlie’s Bodega (pictured above) is currently on view at the HRM in Order / Reorder: Experiments with Collections. This work is part of a series the artist calls Los Minas, which is where the artist grew up, east of the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo. The painting draws on childhood memories of “the love for the neighborhood and the little moments of beauty within the struggle,” he explains. “The idea of what the local corner store meant and still means in our communities on the island.”

De La Cruz received his BA in Studio Art from Hunter College. His work has been featured as a part of Yonkers Arts Weekend, the Superfine Art Fair in Washington D.C., and the Alumni Showcase in the Hall of Fame Gallery, Bronx Community College – CUNY. One of his paintings is also currently featured in the exhibition We Still Around: HERE from The Gallery Walk, which highlights eight artists who were based in New York City for the duration and peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please join us in congratulating Leo on this honor and for bringing new perspectives and helping others see themselves in art and in our community.


Photo: Leonardo Ilianov De La Cruz with his artwork El colmado de Charlie, punto de encuentro (Charlie’s bodega, a meeting point), from the Los Minas series, 2022. Oil and pastel on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.