Born in Peru and a Californian for much of his adult life, Nayo Ulloa has only called Goshen his home for a few years.

But he’s loving this place more and more every day. The feeling is mutual.

Ulloa, a musician and professor at Goshen College, was eating out with family and friends one day last summer when they were interrupted by a man bearing balloons.

That was the day Steve Gruber, chair of the Little Big Idea Grant committee, presented Nayo with a check for his Encuentro in the Alley arts festival.

“For me, this was gratifying and reinforced my feeling that this is a special community where interest in and respect for other cultures is genuine and activities are generously supported,” Nayo says.

The Latino arts festival brought artists of all genres for a colorful afternoon in a cozy downtown Goshen alley. The impact of that could be felt for years to come.

“Home is a complicated concept for me,” Nayo says, explaining that he was born in Peru and moved to Oakland, Calif., when he was 21. Nayo made California his home for some 30 years before life brought he and his family to Goshen.

“Honestly I feel like I can’t quite call this my home yet. But I feel very comfortable here, and my family’s original 5-to-8-year plan seems to have been extended indefinitely. Every day, I feel more comfortable and I find myself describing our area in very positive terms to family and friends from far away,” he says.

We’re grateful Nayo came up with Encuentro in the Alley for everyone in Elkhart County to enjoy!

Thanks, Nayo, for loving where you live!

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