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Distinguished UCLA Chicana/o Studies/World Arts and Cultures Professor and Artistic Director of SPARC, Judith Baca, issued her challenge to LAUSD students from over 17 high schools at the second annual Aspen Challenge this last Saturday, February 8th, 2014. Each school contributed eight students, one teacher, and one principal. The 17 teams are expected toto choose and address one of the six challenges issued by leading scholars, artists, environmentalists, and humanitarians. The challenge was held at the Cesear Chavez Learning Center located in Pacomia, a neighborhood familiar to Judy from her childhood. In light of recent trends where more and more murals are in danger of being tagged, vandalized, or completely destroyed due to various factors including the desire for young graffiti artists to write over public art in the name of “coverage” and the desire to “brand” walls with their personal logos, Judy issued the following challenge:

“I challenge you to create a mural which beautifies and addresses an unheard voice, story, or issue in your community. I then challenge you to launch a campaign which engage your peers in the preservation and understanding the art work.”

For more information, videos of the challenges, and the proposals led by LAUSD students, visit:


SPARC Hosts International Guest Artist from Scotland: Welcome Richie Cumming

SPARC Hosts International Guest Artist from Scotland:

Welcome Richie Cumming


Sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, National Galleries of Scotland, the British Council, and Creative Stirling

A Message from our International Guest:

“I applied to the Cultural Exchange International programme to fund a period of study/work at SPARC as I wanted to learn about the impressive history of an organisation who have been producing public artworks in complicated social and political contexts for over 30 years.

As an artist and as Outreach Officer for the National Galleries of Scotland, I work with communities across Scotland to produce work which is of social interest and relevance, work that gives people a public platform to express their thoughts and concerns about issues that affect them. I felt SPARC could provide me with evidence and a renewed confidence and conviction of the importance of artworks presented and produced by and for communities outwith the confines of galleries and art markets. I was also interested in learning production methods utilised by the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab in order to apply them to future productions I am involved in with the Blameless collective.

I am blogging about my LA experience here and there is information, films and images of the National Galleries of Scotland’s Outreach project, The Nation//Live currently on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery here.” – Richie Cumming