As a child living in Florida, Manuela Guillén would often lie in the prairie grass and watch the clouds high above. In her mind, she’d imagine them transforming into wondrous shapes. Those daydreams became the inspiration for her first series of paintings, and the beginning of her artistic career. In college, she began to tell the story of her parents’ journey to the United States from Cuba and El Salvador through her art.
“I know the story of these places, and they became my stories,” she said. “It’s a feeling of nostalgia, but also of longing.”
Now an artist, muralist, painter, illustrator and educator in Philadelphia, Guillén has collaborated with Starbucks for a new merchandise collection that honors Latin American culture, available in participating U.S. Starbucks stores this fall. Her designs are the latest of the Starbucks Artist Collaboration Series, which celebrates the unique stories of artists from all over the world.
“I think community comes first for me,” Guillén said. “When I want to put my art in the world, I try to put everyone in my mind. My art is connecting with people and the earth.”
‘Manuela Dream’ Stainless Steel Tumbler
The stainless steel tumbler, “Manuela Dream,” is a fanciful self-portrait in profile, her long hair adorned with colorful nature-inspired motifs against a white canvas.
“It’s like a burst, a party, a piñata in the hair. I wanted it to feel like a celebration.”
‘Buenas Vibras’ Cold Cup
The words “buenas vibras,” (which means “good vibes”) describe the joyful mood of this design, which features doodle-style drawings with an array of colorful plants, butterflies, birds and a friendly jaguar. Both sunshine and rain are represented on the cup.
“When you think about Latin America – we’re a very diverse group. People may ski in the south or live near the beach in the Caribbean. I am hoping it’s a beautiful little collection where people can see themselves.”
‘Manuela Heart’ Cold Cup
The design for the 24-ounce cold cup features a playful and bilingual design capped off with a heart-shaped straw. A central figure reaches toward the sky, with the sun’s rays forming a bridge between two hands. The scene is framed with agave plants and two little palm trees that recall her early paintings.
“I wanted to play with text. On one part of the arm it says ‘hola,’ and on the other it says ‘hi.’ I wanted to show duality that a lot of first-generation people feel, you can live both these things. It’s part of who I am.”
Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Starbucks is honoring the rich culture, contributions and achievements of Hispanic and Latin American communities alongside its partner (employee) network Hora Del Café, local communities and in our stores. Starbucks has always been inspired by what matters most to our partners and is committed to leading meaningful partner programing and community initiatives year-around. The company also supports Hispanic and Latin American communities through partnerships and collaborations with Unidos U.S., the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). Starbucks also supports El Centro de la Raza who recently received a grant from The Starbucks Foundation to help support after school programs, financial literacy, and healthcare navigation for Hispanic and Latin American communities in the Seattle-area.
Building a culture of inclusion
The Starbucks Foundation uplifts communities from around the world. With more than $20 million invested globally this past year, The Starbucks Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in partnership with Starbucks partners and others with shared commitment and belief in stronger, more equitable communities.