On Tuesday, April 14, California State University, Northridge President Dianne Harrison visited UCLA Professor Judy Baca at the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab on Tuesday with Mario Ontiveros, CSUN Assistant Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art, Jay Kvapil, Dean of the CSUN Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, and Michael Ryan, Director of Development, CSUN Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication. SPARC Executive Director Debra Padilla and SPARC Project Manager/UCLA Doctoral Student in Chicana/o Studies Carlos Rogel joined the conversation of the impact of Judy’s CSUN arts education, how her practice has developed since graduation, her teaching pedagogy at the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab and what Judy and the SPARC team are doing now.
CSUN President Dianne Harrison will be awarding Judy with the CSUN 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award on April 18, 2015 in recognition of her career and service as a “muralist and community arts pioneer.”
To learn more about the award ceremony, read The San Fernando Sun’s article, Alumni Innovators to Be Honored for Their Contributions to Their Fields.
Picture (Left to Right): Debra Padilla, Mario Ontiveros, Judy Baca, Dianne Harrison, Jay Kvapil, Michael Ryan and Carlos Rogel.
The Judy Baca Arts Academy represents the tremendous potential for creative learning endeavors within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). We believe that academic pre- paredness means placing art, creativity and self-exploration at the center of the scholastic journey. The Emancipation Project, a collaboration between University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Judy Baca Arts Academy (JBAA), reflects this ideology. The four-week workshop pairs members of a 6th grade class with university students enrolled in the Beyond the Mexican Mural studio course through the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab.
Under the direction of Professor Judy Baca, undergraduates assist and mentor JBAA stu- dents as they create life-sized self-portraits. Beginning as photographs, these images transform into hand painted portraits reflecting memory, identity and aspirations. The individual portraits will be installed together in the school’s outdoor eating-area as a unified image of “emancipation,” commemorating the students’ graduation from elementary school, while celebrating their future achievements within academia and beyond.
On February 4, 2015, the UCLA Daily Bruin published the article,”Beyond Mexican Mural: Scenes of LA” featuring a video of the Winter 2015 Beyond the Mexican Mural students painting the mural LA Tropical at the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab in Venice, CA. LA Tropical culminates over 3 months of research, reflection and re-imaging of the relationship between one’s identity and Los Angeles.
UCLA@SPARC: today, students in Professor Judy Baca’s Chicana/o Studies course, Beyond the Mexican Mural, are engaging in a mural production at SPARC… entitled, “LA Tropical”, the production offers students insight on how to facilitate collaborative community projects. Based on student research, the mural reflects the lives of ordinary Angelinos in a meaningful visual narrative. Stay tuned for the final product next week!
(April 16, 2014), Venice, CA On Saturday, April 26, 2014, 2pm-5pm at 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291 (Old Venice Police Station), SPARC’s historic headquarters since 1977 – SPARC presents the dedication of the Esperanza mural, in honor of the Harbor City Workers featuring live music, D.J. and food vendors from the Los Angeles Workers Centers.
Since 1976, SPARC has engaged audiences in the most critical social and political issues of our time by providing empowerment through collaborative creative processes to communities excluded from civic debate; in this spirit, on March 22, 2014, SPARC began working with the Harbor City Workers Center (HCWC) to produce a portable mural that would bring public awareness to the struggles of the workers centers; the HCWC faces possible closure and is actively seeking funds to sustain their centers before their 3-month emergency grant from City of LA runs out; the workers center services 120 men and women from all skill sets and ethnicities and provides job training, English proficiently training, and writing courses, much of which is done by volunteer university students from LA Harbor College.
For more than two decades, Los Angeles has led the nation in developing models for people looking for work and homeowners and employers looking for workers to connect in an orderly, reliable, and safe environment. Worker Centers connect workers to jobs and communities to the labor needed to thrive; keeping gardens green, homes in good shape, and businesses with the open sign turned on. At a time where more people are looking for work or in-between jobs and immigrants are being farther marginalized, we need more worker centers not less. Los Angeles should increase its investment in the job opportunities, training, and work placement that Los Angeles’ Worker Centers are nationally known for but the centers are being threatened and could face closure within 3 months .
For every worker present at HCWC, there is one family that will be affected by its closure; the workers center has been active for over 25 years and has been a shining example of how public and non-profit partnerships can improve the wellness of our working populations. The mural being produced at SPARC, painted with support from workers at the HCWC, will not only represent the plight of their struggle but also uplift their spirits in the attempt to save their center. We hope that the work will become a beacon for the surrounding community to join in their struggle and support them in extending their contract.
The lead day-worker and organizer of the HCWC, Luis Valentan, is a rare find; he’s put his heart and soul into impactful and meaningful organizing and found a voice for his community at SPARC. Closing the Centers will have a adverse effect on thousands of businesses and home owners who depend on this workforce in the city.
For more information about the closure of Workers Centers and how you can support the movement, visit the Central American Resource & Education Center (CARECEN) at www.carecen-la.org, Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) at www.idepsca.org or the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) at www.ndlon.org.
About SPARC: SPARC is a LA-based non-profit arts organization committed to Art, Community, Education and Social Justice. Founded in 1976 by UCLA Professor and muralist Judith F. Baca, filmmaker Donna Deitch, and artist Christina Schlesinger. For more info: http://www.SPARCinLA.org or call 310.822-9560 x15.