Blog Center

SPARC initiates campaign to save its mural heritage (From The Argonaut)


The mural community received what many feel was a bittersweet victory on
February 19th, when the Los Angeles Planning Commission voted to view
murals and signs as separate objects, a position that artists have been
arguing for nearly a decade.

But their hopes that these artistic expressions would be incorporated into a new sign ordinance were
deflated when the commission voted to include murals in the new law
only after a number of other concerns about the proposed ordinance were

“The distinction between murals and signs is simple;
it’s the intent,” said Judith Baca of the Social Art and Public
Resource Center (SPARC), a Venice-based nonprofit arts center that
produces and preserves public art. “If it’s about beauty or social
interaction, it’s a mural. If it’s designed to sell a product, then
it’s advertising, pure and simple.”

The proliferation of super graphics and outdoor advertisements have far
outpaced murals over the last ten years, a fact that causes artists like Baca great distress.

“Large parts of our city’s legacy are being forgotten or damaged by graffiti,
and as we lose these murals, we lose a part of ourselves,” said Baca,
SPARC’s founder.

The arts center has launched an initiative called the Mural Rescue
Program that began in February to drawattention to how murals have
become an afterthought to city officials and to resurrect the public’s
interest in the importance of these social art pieces.

According to Baca, each year, several murals
are painted over by city agencies or defaced by graffiti artists.
Contractors hired by the city government to remove “tagging” from city
property often damage murals, due to the chemicals that are used, and
the protective coating on murals is often damaged. In other cases,
SPARC representatives say that many murals are being painted over to
make room for super graphics and commercial art, which generates large
sums of revenue for municipal coffers.

“We are witnessing a massive corporatization of the public space,” said Baca.

Ava Porter, a photographer at SPARC, has a large role in the arts center’s
quest to preserve the remaining murals throughout the city, including
those in Venice, long considered a haven for artistic expression.

“The county and the city spend almost $70 million a year on graffiti
abatement and almost nothing on arts education,” Porter, a former
student of Baca’s at UCLA, pointed out. “The two things are not
mutually exclusive, and what we want to do is create a program to save
our remaining murals.”

The campaign’s Web site,, gives an overview of its
plan to save the 105 murals that have been painted in Los Angeles over
the last three decades, many of them by disciples of Baca.

“Now is the time to turn hope into action by encouraging city officials
to reallocate a percentage of graffiti abatement monies to a Mural Rescue
Program and to save Los Angeles’ legacy of public murals,” the Web site states.

Porter says that this initiative can bring an added bonus.

“This is another way to employ youth as well and to educate them about the
importance of murals, and redirect youth that might be tagging,” she

The Web site has had nearly 1,000 hits thus far, say SPARC
officials, and Baca says that the campaign has progressed better than
she had hoped.

“I think that it has been incredibly successful,
given the comments that we’ve received,” she said. “It really speaks to
the relationship between murals and the city.”

The plan to rescue artwork with social, historical and political content is being
conducted against the backdrop of another campaign being waged by
artists at City Hall.

Following a unanimous vote in December by the Los Angeles City Council
to place a three-month ban on commercial billboards and graphics,
the Planning Commission was instructed to review the city policy that
not only has disallowed murals nearly a decade, but views the distinct
art form the same as commercial signage.

“At the moment, there is no process for the permitting of murals,” Pat
Gomez, murals manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs, confirmed.

Muralists who feel that their unique artistic expressions have long been
suppressed in favor of commercial advertising are planning a full-court
press to influence the commissioners following the council’s moratorium
on billboards, and many see the consideration of a new sign ordinance
as an opportunity to resuscitate an artform that they feel has been
muted by city officials for far too long.

Supporters of public art came away pleased that the commission agreed
to acknowledge the distinction between murals and signs, but lamented
the decision to delay action on incorporating this provision into a
new ordinance until other matters are fully discussed.

“This means that we will have to wait that much longer to get an
ordinance that will allow for any form of a legal mural,” said Stash Maleski,
the director for In Creative Unity Art, a Venice-based art production
company specializing in murals.

Maleski was heartened by the commission’s decision to
work with the Cultural Affairs Commission and the Department of
Cultural Affairs to craft a future plan for murals.

“These are the appropriate city agencies to deal with issues of art and culture,” Maleski said.

William Caperton y Montoya, the director of marketing and development for the
Department of Cultural Affairs, indicated in a previous interview that
his agency has artists’ best interests in mind and looks forward to
working on the mural plan.

“We view murals as an artistic asset and we consider Los Angeles
to be the mural capital of the world,” Caperton y Montoya said.
“The department has the interests of the artists first and foremost,
and we want to do all that we can to make sure that these fine arts
murals do not disappear.”

While she believes that drawing the important difference between
commercial signs and murals is critical, Baca feels that the debate
is largely a distraction from what is really more pressing, which is the
preservation of these visual social commentaries.

“I don’t want to be distracted from the important issue, which
is the restoration of public art,” said SPARC’s founder.
“Public art is disappearing at an alarming rate and a generation
of young people will soon have not had the opportunity to work
on or see these murals.”

The commission will revisit incorporating murals into the new sign ordinance over the next several weeks.

Gail Goldberg, the director of the Planning Department, did not return calls for comment at Argonaut press time.

Judy Baca takes the D/ML show on the road: Mural Workshop at Georgia College and State University

The art department of GCSU invited Judy Baca to hold a day-long workshop for Advanced Painting Students on March 5, 2009 to learn the techniques, practice and theory that she has cultivated over her 30+ years as an artist and teaches her UCLA class, Beyond the Mexican Mural. Though it would be impossible for a one-day workshop to cover as much material as a full ten- to twenty-week course, Baca’s workshops are in depth and rigorous. In only 5 hours, she was able to turn twenty individual art students into one mural team moving from “Affinity Groups” to sketches to full composition and finally blue-line on the wall. Their professors will see them through paint application.

The Process

1. Judy Baca introduces herself and her mural process which follows the theory of Paolo Freire in which content is derived from the overlapping stories of participants.


2. Students are given ten index cards each. They are asked to write on each card a life-defining epiphany and what they learned from the experience, then place the cards on the wall.


3. Students organize cards based on subject matter and create categories (i.e. substance abuse, advice from elders, love, communication, creativity.)


4. Once all the cards are categorized, students are instructed to stand in front of the category with which they most identify, creating “Affinity Groups.”


5. Affinity Groups break off the conceptualize their subjects. Each group will have 2-4 students who will begin by discussing the topic. Often times, each member will produce their own individual sketch but each group will ultimately complete one collaborative drawing.


6. As groups complete their drawings, Judy begins to determine composition and assigns each group to a portion of the gridded wall.


7. Students transfer their drawings onto the wall with charcoal following both their grids and the musical ratio of space division that Judy determines using the Punto system of David A. Siqueiros


8. Once charcoal drawings are complete, outlines are painted on with diluted aquamarine paint.

To complete a mural from start to finish requires a minimum of a two- to three-day workshop. In only one 5-hour day, Judy was able to orchestrate the conceptualization and drawing of a mural that will be colorized by the painting students over the rest of their semester with instruction from Professor Valerie Aranda (far right).

Stay tuned for updates as the students finish their work in Georgia . . .


Students of the GCSU Mural Workshop (at the end of a very long and productive day with Judy Baca). March 5, 2009.

Progress is made: The students continue to lay in blue-line for outlines and underpainting (images sent in by GCSU professors).




Students paint over the blue-line with acrylic paint

Students bring mural to elementary school (from the Daily Bruin)

To Alba Chacon, murals are a way to send a unifying message to a
community in need, but as a public health student with no artistic
experience, she said she felt nervous about contributing to one.

However, Chacon, a UCLA student working on her master’s in public
health and Latin American studies, said the technology used to create
murals in the César Chávez Digital/Mural Lab, located in Venice, levels
the playing field between artists and those who simply have ideas and

Chacon and five other students in Professor Judy Baca’s “Beyond the
Mexican Mural” course are currently working on a mural for University
Elementary School, located on campus. The sixth grade class requested
that Baca and her students collaborate with them to create a mural as
its graduation present to the school, Baca said.

Baca, a longtime artist and activist, said her class allows her to work with communities that can’t afford to commission her.

Much of Baca’s curriculum is focused on muralist theory derived from
David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and José Orozco, said Ava Porter, the
Social and Public Art Resource Center communications representative and

The UCLA alumna and former student of Baca said the three muralists
are widely known as “Los Tres Grandes,” the three great Mexican
muralists of the 20th century.

Baca said she studied in Mexico under Siqueiros prior to creating the mural programs in Los Angeles.

“It’s really exciting that our school is going to have a mural that
is part of this tradition of muralism that goes back to these three
great artists in Mexico,” said Scott Smith, a sixth-grade social
studies and visual arts teacher at the elementary school.

The theme of the mural, submitted by the sixth graders, is “We are
one, we are many.” The mural features a history of dance, from a
painted circle of indigenous dancers to an energetic James Brown.

Painted photos of the elementary school students from the hip-hop
class that inspired Baca’s students were also incorporated into the

The mural illustrates the UCLA students’ vision of how all humans
are interconnected, represented with ciphers, the Earth and Pangea, a
unified continent, as well as DNA emerging from a fire surrounded by

“It’s set in space to give it a fantasy, whimsical thing and to
represent the macrocosm and how we all come together in the large
scale,” said Bree Hemingway, a fourth-year history student.

“The smoke coming out of the fire is actually DNA, which shows how
we come together on a smaller scale. We’re all from the same stuff.”

After Baca’s students visited the elementary school, they came up
with their own ideas for the piece and then decided which ideas they
liked best, she added.

“It’s a beautiful thing because it came from the children and came
from everyone’s interpretation of that one theme,” said Shonowa
Villalobos, fifth-year sociology student enrolled in the class.

The Digital/Mural Lab, created in 1996 and sponsored by SPARC,
contains computers on mobile drafting tables and large printers that
enable artists to print full-size murals.

“I haven’t taken a lot of art classes at UCLA, and so I felt like
this is a way I could get involved where I didn’t feel intimidated
because I hadn’t been doing art,” Hemingway said. “(The technology)
brought my strengths to the table and didn’t exclude me because I
didn’t have the artistic skills.”

Once drafted, the mural was printed to a half size for the UCLA
students to paint and then was scanned back into a computer and blown
up to full size for the sixth graders to finish painting.

The advantage to this technology, Baca said, is that murals can be
easily maintained, replaced and archived. She added that they are still
creating hand-crafted works in the lab by physically painting the
murals, which differentiates the works from billboards.

In addition to the mural, Baca’s students are creating a report on
the condition of all the murals throughout Los Angeles to submit to
legislators in hopes of receiving funding for the restoration and
preservation of those murals.

Baca said there has not been funding for mural programs for many
years, so the murals created by SPARC and other programs are not being

SPARC focuses on at-risk community. Villalobos said she feels public
works are most important to at-risk communities, especially when there
is territorial violence.

“This is stuff that people kill over, for this little piece of land
that isn’t really theirs. So to have that sense of pride instilled in
this way, it does make a difference,” Villalobos said.

After working with Baca, Chacon said she hopes to use murals to get
messages about public health out to at-risk communities in a meaningful
and permanent way.

“The arts seems to be really unifying,” Chacon said. “It can
actually get a really controversial message across in a way that is so

Judy Baca Speaks at USC's 2008 National "Imagining America" Conference

About Imagining America

Imagining America is a national consortium of colleges and universities
committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design.
Public scholarship joins serious intellectual endeavor with a
commitment to public practice and public consequence. It includes:

•Scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners;

•Intellectual work that produces a public good;

•Artistic, critical, and historical work that contributes to public debates;

Efforts to expand the place of public scholarship in higher education itself,
including the development of new programs and research on the successes
of such efforts.

Imagining America (IA) recognizes the reciprocal
benefits of community-based scholarship and practice. Communities
benefit from the engagement of faculty and students whose research and
participation support their efforts.

Annual conferences are crucial to the work that Imagining
America does. These events allow public scholars in the cultural
disciplines to form a network, to share best practices, to visit
project sites, and to gain inspiration and motivation for their work.
The conferences take place in a workshop format.

These conferences are also the site where the network outside IA’s consortium comes to gather and work.

 Judy Baca’s Keynote Address

On Friday, October 3rd 2008 Judy Baca delivered the Imagining America Keynote Address, entitled “La Memoria de Nuestra Tierra:  Creating Sites of Public Memory.”  In it she discussed her legacy; the half-mile Great Wall of Los Angeles, “the tattoo on the scar where the river once ran,” as well as SPARC’s additional plethora of projects both past and future.  The video of her address is available below.

Questions and Answers from the Conference: 

Planet Siqueiros Peña Featured on Argonaut

Finding musical common ground



What’s in a name?

In the case of Planet Siqueiros Pe“a — an evening of socially conscious traditional world music, contemporary musical styles and spoken word at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice — a name tells a whole lot.

Planet Siqueiros Pe“a is itself the derivative of two other names: the revolutionary Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros combined with traditional South American musical venues called “Pe“as.”

“The Pe“a phenomena emerged during the 1950s in South America, especially Chile and Argentina,” says Marta Ramirez, one of the founders of the evening and a former student of Siqueiros. “These popular gatherings of rural folk musicians would come together in mountain villages playing their traditional rhythms and singing about their everyday life.

“Later, in times of repressive governments, poets and artists were not allowed to assemble. The Pe“as moved into private homes where musicians discreetly shared with family and friends, their food and wine, interweaving their songs of despair and hope for change.”

It is in that spirit, and the spirit of Siqueiros himself, that Planet Siqueiros Pe“a began.

“David Alfaro Siqueiros’s commitment to change through monumental art inspired many young Chicanas and Chicanos of the 1970s,” continues Ramirez. “In the traditional downtown Placita Olvera, one of Siqueiros’s murals, America Tropical re-appeared under the whitewash that censored the mural, painted in 1930. It was like an apparition that symbolized for many muralists, the renaissance of art for social change.”

One of these young muralists was Judith F. Baca, who co-founded SPARC in 1976 and is now its artistic director. In the center’s “Backspace,” Baca directs a creative digital mural lab where she oversees the UCLA/ SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab community partnership, which she also founded.

The lab serves as an inspirational backdrop to the Planet Siqueiros Pe“a, which kicks off its second season from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, January 24th, at SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd.

The opening act calls itself, appropriately, the Santa Monica College Guitar Ensemble. Louise Quevedo, who has been going to Pe“as since she was a teenager, helped organize the trio of students from the Music Department.

“It’s interesting because Edgar [Zaragoza] has a classical background, and then on the other hand we have Javier [Kistte], whose background is flamenco,” says Quevedo. “And then myself, I have a background with Latin American folk styles. Together, we’re learning to speak to each other in our different genres, through our instruments. We’re learning the strengths of all the different styles. They’re all beautiful but have different flavors. We’re trying to find common ground musically.”

Sounds like an emerging theme, no?

The headliners of the evening are The Lefteous Sisters, featuring Angi Neff, Ann Polhemus, Ericka Verba and Lisa Hornung, four friends who sing songs with meaning.

“The style of music that we enjoy singing and playing comes out of the folk tradition of purposeful songs that tell great stories, take us out of ourselves for a moment, ask questions of conscience and, hopefully, sound beautiful,” says Angi Neff.

For the Planet Siqueiros Pe“a, the Sisters have come up with a special set list.

“We’ve come up with a set list of original and traditional songs (sung mostly in English) that not only reflect our current challenges as a people, but also revisit challenges and struggles of the past,” says Neff. “We hope that the word ‘folk’ doesn’t scare anyone away as it is a time-honored style that continues to tug at music lovers’ hearts, generation after generation.”

But when pressed as to why their music is inspirational, Neff deflects.

“I think the question is ‘How has SPARC been inspirational to our music?'” she says. “This is a wonderful venue, created by lovers of rich, diverse cultures, and we have been inspired to come up with songs that beg to be sung in an art space and environment committed to social justice and human rights.”

It sounds like an evening that is true to its name.

Information, (310) 822-9560,

The Great Wall of Los Angeles is Featured on Vista LA

Taken from ABC 7 website:


The Great Wall of Los Angeles is a cultural landmark and the longest mural in the world at 2,754 feet long. It is located in the San Fernando Valley, north of the Ventura Freeway, between the 405 and 170. It was produced under the direction of Professor Judith F Baca and is currently being restored by the Social Public Art and Resource Center. Plans include the expansion of the Great Wall of Los Angeles to add new decades of history to the giant narrative work. UCLA students of the Beyond the Mexican Mural course taught by Professor Baca and the Digital Mural Lab have been researching and designing new segments for the mural which will extend into the 6o’s 70’s, 80’s and 90’s of California History.

The mural, located in the Tujunga Wash Flood Control Channel, was begun in 1974 and was continued, decade-by-decade, over five summers.  It brought together 400 youth and their families as well as artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members from the many, diverse enclaves of Los Angeles.  At half a mile long, it is one of the country’s largest monuments to inter-racial harmony and a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s.

This summer, alumni of the Great Wall youth teams (now parents with children the age they were when they first participated) will come together once again to lead the next generation in its restoration and continuation of the historical narrative, which highlights the contributions made by immigrants to the building of our country and state.  The California Cultural and Historical Endowment has designated 1.2 million dollars for the Great Wall of Los Angeles’ restoration efforts.  SPARC  and Professor Baca are also collaborating with wHY Architecture to build a new, green, interpretive bridge over the Wall designed as an artist and architect collaboration.  This green bridge is built, in part, from the debris and detritus of the LA River and will reconnect east to west, school to neighborhood.  It both memorializes and reestablishes the relationship between the history of the Los Angeles River and the history of the people of Los Angeles.

The Digital Mural Lab Hosts International Visitors

Artistic Representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco Visit the Digital Mural Lab



A Regional Project for North Africa

These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Primary Program Contact: Ms. Kim Ngoc Le, Senior Program Officer, International Visitors
Council of Los Angeles, 3540 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 910, Los Angeles, CA 90010;
Telephone – (213) 388-1428 ext. 22; Fax – (213) 388-5879; Email –

Department of State Program Contacts: Ms. Colleen Fleming and Ms. Ericka Moten, Office of International Visitors; Telephone – (202) 453-8608 or (202) 453-8609; Email or

Accompanied By: Mr. Wael Abdelsattar, U.S. Interpreter; Ms. Rana Raad, U.S. Interpreter; Mr.
Nabil Tohme, U.S. Interpreter
January 12 – 30, 2009



•The Department of State has outlined the following specific objectives for the project:

•Examine freedom of speech as a constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right in the United States;

•Explore the role of art as an expression of freedom of speech;

•Illustrate the power and potential of art in shaping contemporary issues and values, and in building civil society;

•Examine various sociopolitical art forms and their conceptual inspirations and effects and;

•Demonstrate the diversity of American artistic and cultural traditions and how this diversity contributes to a dynamic political system.


Mr. Alaa Ahmed Abou Zeid ABDEL AAL

Radio Broadcaster
Dr. (Mrs.) Mariam Gaid FORHAM BOTTROS

Lecturer, Sculpture Department
Faculty of Fine Arts, South Valley University
Iraq Mr. Mohammed Rasim KASIM AL-KHAFAJI

Chairman Tawasin Cultural Society
Libya Dr. (Mr.) Suleiman Ali BEN KAFU

Head, Mass Media Department
Al-Fattah University
Morocco Mr. Omar LEBBATE

Hakim Hip Hop Group


Name: Mr. Alaa Ahmed Abou Zeid ABDEL AAL
Present Position: Radio Broadcaster
Concurrent Position: Correspondent, Arab News Agency
Education/Training: B.A., Media and Press, Souhag University, 1991
Memberships: Egyptian Writer’s Syndicate; Cairo Atelier.

Publications: Short Stories:
“The Edge”;
“The River”.

Address: 61 Hamada Ajami Street
Off Queen Street
Haram, Giza

Telephone: (202) 012-4241-149
Languages: Arabic (primary)
U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel
Other Travel: Kuwait

Professional Interests: Mr. Alaa Abu Abdelaal is both a news reporter and a writer whose publications explore the issues and challenges faced by the people in Upper Egypt.  As a news journalist, he reports on many different issues, including cultural life and the condition of human rights in Egypt, the coverage of which has earned him a creativity award.

In his novels and short stories, Mr. Abdelaal discusses the two biggest challenges that face Upper Egypt: economic underdevelopment and religious strife between Muslims and Copts.  Mr. Abdelaal has won a number of literary awards including the Al Sawy Wheel Award for best short story and the Sawiris Foundation Literary Award for best creative novel.  He continues to write in the hopes that policy makers who read his pieces will be moved to convey his thoughts to the public and begin working to solve their problems.


Name: Dr. (Mrs.) Mariam Gaid FORHAM BOTTROS
Present Position: Lecturer, Sculpture Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, South
Valley University

Previous Positions: Instructor
Education/Training: Ph.D., Helwan University, 2006

Memberships: Artists Syndicate in Egypt;
Asala Syndicate for Arts.

Publications: Artistic Sculpture Works

Address: 20 Khidr Street
Hadaek Helwan
Telephone: (202) 012-109-4668

Languages: Arabic (primary)
U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel
Other Travel: Italy
Professional Interests: Dr. Mariam Forham Bottros is an instructor and sculptor at South Valley University.  She is very interested in using art as a means to illustrate the social situation in the Luxor and Qena areas of Egypt. She instructs approximately 100 students – many of whom come from underserved areas.  She hopes to explore the ways in which art influences and reflects contemporary situations.


Name: Mr. Mohammed Rasim KASIM AL-KHAFAJI
Present Position: Chairman, Tawasin Cultural Society

Education/Training: B.A., Fine Arts, Baghdad University;
Course Certificate, Cultural Management, Goethe Institute, Germany.

Memberships: Iraqi Plastic Art Association;
Union of Iraqi Journalists.

Publications: Poems and articles about critiquing art published in Arabic and Iraqi newspapers

Address: 2nd Floor, Building 77, Street 13
Quarter 102, Abu Nwas Street
Baghdad, Iraq
Telephone: 07901-282-518

Languages: Arabic (primary), English
U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel
Other Travel: Austria, Germany, Jordan, Syria, Turkey

Professional Interests: Mr. Mohammed Rasim Kasim Al-Khafiaji is the chairman of the Tawasin Cultural Society, an arts and cultural organization
established in 2004 in Baghdad.  Mr. Kasim leads an organization that is one of the cultural forces in the rebuilding of Iraq’s civil society.  With hundreds of members, the Tawasin Society continues to promote equal rights between the genders, encourage free speech and dissenting opinion, and advance peace through the arts despite societal pressures and security threats.  He hopes to examine best practices in running effective cultural organizations.


Name: Dr. Suleiman Ali BEN KAFU
Present Position: Head, Mass Media Department, Al-Fattah University
Concurrent Position: Head, Academic Exams Department, Al-Fattah University;
Lecturer, Al-Fattah University.

Previous Positions: Committee Head, Short Films Festival, Tripoli;
Committee Head, 17th Theatre Festival; Head, Evaluating Exhibition Association, 2000 – 2007;
Supervised more than 20 graduation projects.

Education/Training: Ph.D. and M.S., Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1998;
B.S., Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, U.S., 1985;
Winner, Gold Medal, Salaam Festival, Morocco;
Winner of more than 10 local and regional prizes.

Memberships: Artists Union of Tripoli and Libya; National Association of Youth Care;
Andalusia Association of Youth Care; Aljeel Alsaaed Band for Theatrical Acting;
Libya Cinema Association; North African Artists Union.

Publications: Published many articles in local newspapers and Albohooth Al-elamya (Mass Media Research) regarding cinematography; Co-authored, Interior Design (Part I) and Interior Design (Part II), academic books for art high schools published at the national level, 2001; Animation Techniques (book to be released).

Address: Hay Al-Andalus
Behin Alarousy Mosque
Telephone: +218913755610
Languages: Arabic (primary), English

U.S. Travel: Flagstaff and Washington, DC
Other Travel: Bulgaria, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey.

Professional Interests: Dr. Suleiman Ali Ben Kafu is the Head of the Mass Media Department at Al-Fattah University.  In addition to teaching at the University, he has lectured on animation and cinema at various seminars and workshops.  Having performed in 16 plays, Dr. Ben Kafu also has a long history of performing on Libyan television, including the documentary, Abdullah Wa Algaba.  He has taken a behind-the-scenes role as Art Director for Libyan and Greek television programs.  Dr. Ben Kafu has participated in more than 13 art exhibitions, representing Libya in Morocco, Bulgaria and Egypt.  Additionally, he has exhibited his artwork in Washington, DC and Flagstaff, Arizona.  His diverse background in Fine Arts enables him to train the next generation of Libyan artists in social and political expression.


Name: Mr. Omar LEBBATE
Present Position: Manager, Hakim Hip Hop Group
Concurrent Position: Artistic Advisor, Festivals in Meknes;
President, Bab Mansour Youth.

Previous Positions: Soccer Player (first division, amateur), 2004 – 2006
Education/Training: Degree, Computer Science, ELITE 3000, Meknes, 2002;
English Study, Moulay Ismail University, Meknes, 2003 – 2004;
Certificate, NGO Management, Cinema and Audiovisual Institute,
Rabat, 2004.

Memberships: Development Advisor, Reseau Maillage Maroc (Network Morocco)

Publications: Press article ready for publication, “When I Was Your Age”

Address: No. 4571 Rue 42 Oujah Arous
Telephone: (212-64) 31-25-27

Languages: Arabic (primary), French

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel

Professional Interests: Mr. Omar Lebbate is the President of Bab Mansour Youth Association in Meknes.  In his role at this neighborhood association, he is very active in civil society, generating activities for the youth in the area debilitated by poverty and unemployment. Past association activities have included participating in and organizing music festivals, travel, exchange forums and community service projects.  Bab Mansour Youth Association joined the nationwide Maillage network of youth NGOs, and Mr. Lebbate has become the network’s development advisor.  He has also organized break dance competitions and hip hop concerts in Meknes.

Digital Graphics – Denver International Airport




Prof. Baca Assists Selection of 25 New Public Artworks for 9th Ward of New Orleans


December 23, 2008

acno logo bw 


For Immediate Release
Morgana King, Public Art Manager
Arts Council of New Orleans

Mary Len Costa, Interim President/CEO
Arts Council of New Orleans

"Art in Public Places"

Start your new year with a HUMs!

New Orleans, LA-


Make this the first special event in your new 2009 calendar! 
Join the Arts Council Sunday, Jan. 4th from 3-5:30pm in Washington Square Park to play Marcus Brown’s "Human Universal Musical sculpture: HUMs" (pictured above).  Marcus personally developed the electronic system that creates a humming sound derived from your touch, on top of building the larger than life saxophone sculpture. 


Special thanks to the City of New Orleans Parks and Parkways Department and the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association for hosting the sculpture in Washington Square Park. For more pictures and a map to park click here:

Save the Date for more upcoming receptions:

  • Saturday January 17th: Christopher Saucedo’s monumental granite block of water, "Floodmarker", is a nomadic monolith at rest.

Art in Public Places" link to all the projects:


About "Art in Public Places":
In collaboration with the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and an independent jury, the Arts Council selected twenty public art projects designed specifically by local artists for the City of New Orleans.  Artists received $25,000 to create artwork to be placed in the public venue and help with rebuilding their artistic careers. The commissions provide the opportunity for local and regional artists to showcase their work parallel to the international exhibits: Prospect.1 Biennial and Sculpture for New Orleans.
Artists from Louisiana and Mississippi who were affected by Katrina or Rita were eligible to apply through a Call to Artists advertised by the Arts Council of New Orleans.  The Call to Artists was initially for ten commissions, but due to the extraordinary response, the artistic diversity and the high quality of the proposals, twenty commissions funded by the Joan Mitchell Foundation were awarded. 
About the Arts Council of New Orleans:
The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated by the City of New Orleans as its official arts agency. Now in its 33rd year, the Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services. The Arts Council serves as one of nine regional distributing agencies for Louisiana Division of the Arts funds and administers the Community Arts Grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. 
About the Joan Mitchell Foundation:
The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in April 1993 as a not-for-profit corporation following the death of Joan Mitchell in October 1992. The Foundation strives to fulfill the ambitions of artist Joan Mitchell to aid and assist the needs of contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.

Scape Martinez Piece Installed in San Jose Roosevelt Community Center

On December 13, 2008, the City of San Jose celebrated the grand opening of the renovated Roosevelt Community Center. The center commissioned artist Scape Martinez to create the majority of its interior and exterior artwork. Over the one and one-half years it took Martinez to complete the project, he was assisted by the UCLA SPARC César Chavez Digital/Mural Lab. Judy Baca and staff helped to conceptualize the framework of the process, oversaw overall production of the digital aspect and provided support for installation.


1 17 18 19 20