By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4)– The Biennial of the Americas is back in town with a bang! The festival, which aims to connect us with our South American neighbors, begins in Denver Wednesday morning.

Biennial of the Americas

The Jaguara on display as part of the Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

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CEO and Executive Director Erin Trapp has been counting down the days until it arrived. “It’s the most extraordinary party in the western hemisphere,” Trapp told CBS4’s Mekialaya White.

Biennial of the Americas Erin Trapp

Erin Trapp (credit: CBS)

She says it’s a celebration of art, culture, and ideas, that assembles leaders to identify solutions to shared issues across the Americas. The overarching goal is to increase empathy.

Biennial of the Americas

The Jaguara on display as part of the Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

“We built the Biennial so people from North and South America could really get to know one another better, understand each other, and hopefully work together more productively than the divisive moment that we’re in,” said Trapp. “When you bring people together, and you share those messages, magic happens.”

Biennial of the Americas

The Jaguara on display as part of the Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

One way the Biennial hopes to bridge the gap is by bringing a massive metal sculpture to the heart of Denver. It’s called “Jaguara.”

Leonardo Vilar Biennial of the Americas

Leonardo Vilar (credit: CBS)

“The jaguar is the king of the jungle and we are using all this beauty and power to bring an important message,” explained co-director and creator Leonardo Vilar.

Vilar and his partner, Catalina Pulido, say the installation began with a dream and realization.

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Catalina Pulido Biennial of the Americas

Catalina Pulido (credit: CBS)

“When we started having children, we started realizing that if things keep going the way they are, they will probably not know the rainforest or the rivers or the animals. All this richness that is the foundation of life,” explained Pulido.

Jaguara is a platform to bring awareness to preserving our earth and ecosystem, especially in South America. Trapp says she excitedly partnered with the artists upon learning their vision.

Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

“We were really struck by their story. The Amazon is more threatened than ever and it really needs our help and protection.”

They’re hoping to spark a change, propelling people to protect our environment.

“We wish to provide a connection where people can say, ‘This is beautiful. How can I help? Where can I connect with someone who’s doing something on the ground?’” Pulido said.

Biennial of the Americas

The Jaguara on display as part of the Biennial of the Americas (credit: Biennial of the Americas)

Denver, for them, was the perfect place to bring their message.

“We really look up to Denver. It’s a very smart community. We hope that there are more Denvers and more Colorados across America,” added Vilar.

Jaguara will be the stage for a live concert, Cósmico Americas, on Saturday night. It’s just one of the pieces of art being featured at this year’s Biennial.

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LINK: Biennial of the Americas

Mekialaya White