(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.
Winter 2014 classes have begun for Professor Judith Baca’s Chicano Studies and World Arts and Culture Classes.
Beyond the Mexican Mural Winter 2014
Students attending the Winter 2014 Beyond the Mexican Mural studio class will continue to expand upon the theories and histories they learned in their fall semester course work. Professor Baca’s Beyond the Mexican Mural classroom exercises and workshops encourage students to find their inner creativity and shared histories. The following exercise was conducted on the second week of class. By visually representing the common struggles and memorable events in their lives, the students were able to create groups based on common themes. These common themes such as Art, Identity, Gender, etc, were then presented back to the class in uniquely engaging and creative ways formulated by the students. Future course work will involve artistic projects located both in the digital mural lab and off site, as in the case of the “Emancipation Portrait Project” at the Judy Baca Arts Academy.
New Social Media and Activist Art
Advanced telecommunications and the worldwide expansion of popular media usage have created an emerging “global media culture.” Simultaneously, accessibility and an expanding capacity for non-artists to generate films, graphic designs, and artworks which can be communicated widely and instantly has also created a cross-pollination of national and international cultural traditions. A capacity now exists for a local issue to become viral and global in very short period of time fueling a new international activism through the internet.
This class focuses on hands-on learning and production experience as essential to a full understanding of modern media. We encourage students to apply their theoretical knowledge by helping to build usable products in the lab that support their graduate research interests, then to evaluate and challenge these tangible projects through critical inquiry.
This class promotes a pragmatic style of humanistic and social scientific scholarship that prepares students to think critically and productively about media form, content, and context while learning to effectively use social media.