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Califas Legacy Project: Documenting our region’s Chicano/a cultural treasures

In 1982, as a professor of art at UC Santa Cruz, Eduardo Carrillo with Philip Brookman brought together innovative Chicano artists, intellectuals and visionaries at the  UC sponsored conference, “Califas: Chicano art and culture in California.” Drawing inspiration from the spirit of the conference, The Califas Legacy Project is a multi-year, multi-medium, collaborative endeavor launched by Museo Eduardo Carrillo to document the legacy of our region’s Chicano/a cultural treasures: Guillermo (Yermo) Aranda, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Ralph D’Oliveira,  and Carmen León. One medium is not enough to represent them and so the project includes a remarkable handprinted accordion book, a documentary film about the artists, web presence through Museo’s legacy section and a traveling exhibition of the featured artists’ work. 

Califas: The Ancestral Journey/El Viaje Ancestral

In recognition of this need to focus on the art of the Central Coast Califas: The Ancestral Journey/El Viaje Ancestral is being produced jointly by Museo and Moving Parts Press as an integral part of the Califas Legacy Project. Working with book artist, typographer, and publisher Felicia Rice of Moving Parts Press, the first phase of the project to be completed is a hand-painted, hand-printed, and hand-bound 18” x 18” x 18′ accordion-fold book that intertwines the Mexican-American, Chican/a/x, Peruvian, and Indigenous heritages of five central coast artists. The cover will be a shadowbox assemblage by Amalia. The expressive mural within by Ralph, Carmen and Yermo takes us on a mythic journey. An essay by Watsonville native, Gabriela Rodriguez-Gomez will be included. The book will roll out in a phased schedule between June and September 2020. What has been so gratifying to us all is that the Santa Cruz and Watsonville public libraries have developed a suite of programming for the community around the launch of the book this Summer and Fall. More updates will follow.

Do you already love this book? We plan to print a run of 750 trade edition books that will be distributed free to libraries, schools, universities and colleges and other cultural and social service agencies in our region. And beyond. We recognize the need to bring visibility to the vacant places in our culture’s art history through sharing the work of our region’s leading Chicano/a/x artists.  Books need to be in people’s hands and the art needs to be part of people’s social consciousness.

Califas Legacy Project Documentary

Integral to the Califas Legacy Project is a documentary film by Wallace Boss. He records the artists in their own words and films them in their studio settings. It will complement and enhance the programming this coming summer and fall.

Collaboration with Young Writers’ Program

The sixth book in Hablamos Juntos series will come out this Spring. It will feature the Califas Legacy artists. The annual reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz offered by our long-time collaborator, the Young Writers Program, will feature some of the young authors reading their narratives inspired by the artists’ images. Join us.

Traveling exhibition

Our project continues in 2021, through extended web presence in Museo’s Califas Legacy section. Would you like to see the work in person? A traveling exhibition of the featured artists Amalia Mesa-Bains, Carmen León, Ralph D’Oliveira and Yermo Aranda will be mounted at the Santa Cruz Art League in January and travel to the Monterey Museum of Art in the Spring, uniting our Central Coast communities. Be sure to come see the monographic exhibition of Eduardo’s work at the Sesnon Gallery at UC, Santa Cruz, curated by Shelby Graham, showing concurrently in Winter of 2021.


Thanks to the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz City Arts, and hit & run press for their support for this project.


Share your thoughts

Would you like to know more? Please contact us with your questions and thoughts, or post a comment below. We welcome your input.


A New Chapter: Art by Recent University and College Graduates

The time post graduation after earning a Bachelor’s degree in visual arts often is followed with the question, “What Next?”

How do we blend studio practice with practical needs like making a living supporting oneself and maybe a family.

This work reflects the time of transition right before or just after leaving school.

The artists are Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez, Jennifer Ortiz, Natalie Jauregui Ortiz and Karina Tavares Perez from University of California, Santa Cruz,  Narsiso Martinez from California State University, Long Beach, and Ysabel Martinez from the Cafritz Art Center at Montgomery College, Silver Springs, Maryland.

We have also featured these artists in our Hablamos Juntos series of broadsides. The 11 x 17 posters are available for downloads, along with text of interviews with each artist.

Keep an eye out for the work by these artists- you will see more of it in the ensuing years- I’m sure of it.

Catalog for Testament of the Spirit Wins Design Award

Museo gives a standing ovation for the amazing work of Wilted & Taylor Publishing Services, who have just received recognition for producing the Carrillo catalogue.

Testament of the Spirit has won a design and production award!  AND Testament of the Spirit has been selected to compete at the awards show in January for the “Best of Show” designation.

This award is through Publishing Professionals Network which is an organization for book publishers west of the Mississippi.

Congratulations to the Crocker team, our curators Susan Leask and Kristina Perea Gilmore, and to our writers for all the work in making the catalog so worthy of this honor.

Viva Eduardo!


Hablamos Juntos Exhibit at Pajaro Valley Arts

I recently made my first visit to the Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) in Watsonville, it’s a quick drive from Santa Cruz. The first thing you might notice heading into the gallery is that PVA’s logo is designed with the richly warm color scheme of teal, orange, and yellow. I make a comment to Betsy Andersen, Executive Director of Museo Eduardo Carrillo, on how good it looks. A really great first impression!

Once inside PVA Betsy gives Eduardo Carrillo’s oil painting, Value King, to them for their upcoming collaborative exhibit Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak, Un Diálogo Visual/A Visual Dialog. This represents an ongoing collaboration between PVA, Young Writers Program (YWP) and Museo Eduardo Carrillo (MEC).

Later I was informed that a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant has funded this exhibition which is based on the Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak project. The collaboration was spearheaded by Museo Eduardo Carrillo, Pajaro Valley Arts and Young Writers Program. In its fifth year the collaboration between the MEC and YWP put works of contemporary Latinx artists in front of middle and high school students as inspiration for personal narratives which are published in full color hard bound books. The Hablamos Juntos exhibition draws from artists in the first two years of the project and will feature the artwork of 20 artists from across California. Curator and artists’ stipends for workshops and panel discussions will be offered in conjunction with the exhibit.

The exhibit’s purpose was inspired by a comment made about “seeing original artwork” during Watsonville’s first Art Walk. The Art Walk contained banners of the Hablamos Juntos artwork and teen writing hung in the outward facing business windows in the downtown corridor. It was an open exhibit to bring Latinx art and the Watsonville community together.

Judy Stabile is officially PVA’s Treasurer but is also known to be a wearer of many hats and talents. Judy was motivated when she heard about the Art Walk comment and mobilized a team  to schedule an exhibit at the Pajaro Valley Arts from August 8 – October 7, 2018 centered on original artworks that participated in the Hablamos Juntos project. Judy also made a point to give credit to the teamwork involved in making the exhibit a reality. I could tell Judy was effectively thorough when planning the exhibit because she spoke about the time limitations that a physical exhibit has and then followed up with a way to combat the issue. Judy Stabile and her team use a certain software to create really outstanding virtual tours that can be viewed online on the PVA’s website long after the physical exhibits have gone.

PVA represents to me what agency looks like under strong leadership and commodiere with community. Judy’s tenure with PVA makes her the heart and pulse of the gallery while running with a vibrant team built on grit and determination. I got a chance to interview Judy and learn her story within the organization as we walked around the pre-installed exhibit space. She is energetic, passionate, effective, and driven; qualities that make for a vanguard in Watsonville’s creative community. Judy started showing her work at PVA in the 1990’s and then decided in 2010 to enter the board during hard times for the organization. Most people weren’t aware of PVA’s risk of closure due to prior lacking leadership. After Judy stepped in to help, PVA overcame its obstacles by looking to grants for funding, building a strong board/committee, and fundraising. All with an attitude committed to creating quality exhibits and shows relevant to the community.

I left Pajaro Valley Arts in good heart and energy and I can honestly attribute it to the work Judy Stabile and the rest of the PVA family. The organization runs mostly through volunteer work which speaks volumes to the level of community engagement and heart they have. Come out and check out this truly inspirational show opening on August 8th.


Pajaro Valley Arts Website:

Hablamos Juntos Collaboration with PVA Info:

Hablamos Juntos 3D Gallery Tour:  


Behind the Scenes at Museo Eduardo Carrillo with Vicki Winters

I spend a lot of my time around downtown Santa Cruz and have always wondered what or who occupies the mezzanine on Pacific Avenue. In the past month I got to meet Vicki Winters, Museo’s website developer and creator of their online persona, whose office is housed there. Museo Eduardo Carrillo is an online museum which means Vicki’s role is central to manifesting the organizations visions.

I sat in a meeting between Vicki and Betsy Andersen discussing the Museo’s website updates. Her workplace had a homey personality complete with a tea set, art covering walls , and a foot massager. I payed attention to the way each communicated to the other. Throughout the meeting I sensed an air of relaxed professionalism. After many years of working together Vicki and Betsy easily share ideas to improve and expand the online museum and its offerings. When Vicki is not developing for Museo and others she works at sharing her knowledge and teaches web design skills to students at the UC Extension.

During the meeting I was given the chance to ask Museo’s web developer some questions. I was intrigued to know if there where any challenges designing for an art museum versus other platforms? Vicki answered that image quality and especially that of 3D type art were some of the more challenging aspects in her work. For instance, with sculptures, there is a higher degree of difficulty in capturing the works essence versus that of 2D art. I was also interested in finding out some of Vicki’s everyday encounters in her line of work. Vicki responded with challenges including organizing oneself, prioritizing projects, and creating a work life balance. However, the pros of working with art organizations and other groups included holding and creating their visions making work worth while.

Web developer’s are often taken for granted by the user as we just search for what we want and have it appear instantly to us. These developers are sometimes the unsung heroes which is why it is important to acknowledge people like Vicki Winters’ for all their hard work and time invested.

To find out more information about Vicki and her work:

Vicki’s Website:


El Chinaco

What I know about El Chinaco is what Ed told me.

Who is El Chinaco?  After the Chinese had finished working on the Central Pacific Railroad some of them, having had enough of Gringolandia, headed South to Mexico. Some of them became cowboys, and, take a look, pretty spectacular ones at that! Having adapted to the hardships of railroad work they already had the skills to deal with the rough physical life out of doors. So there you see a monumental horse beneath a monumental horseman with a decided Mexican aspect, and also a Chinese aspect, poised to be absorbed into multi-cultural Mexico. Ed saw connections, he was a uniter.

Josselyne Morales reflects on the work of Victor Cartagena

“Burrocracia,” Victor Cartagena

Currently on display at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art History (SC MAH) the exhibit “We Feed You: Works by Victor Cartagena” is available to visit until July 22, 2018. I would highly recommend going to see this exhibit if you have interests in food production injustices, sculptural installations, migrant worker issues, or social art in general. This show has it all!

“We Feed You” made me think about the ongoing labor struggles that still plague the US and the migrant’s stories within. Cartagena’s ideas on the systemic injustice of food production translated well with the materials used and the narratives contextualizing his art works. I was especially drawn to the decomposing “Cara de azúcar (Sugar Face)” for their nature with time but, the “Burrocracia” was my favorite art piece because it made me want to stay and absorb all it had to offer spanning the walls it covered. I thought “Labor Tea” was clever in its conceptual execution and pretty funny (pun-funny) from its title, of which I am a fan! 

The placement of “La Santa Cena (The Last Supper)” inside the exhibit made me feel like it demanded attention.  The instillation used a long table set with silverware and shiny China plates with blurred portraits burned into their centers,  staring out at us the plate bound images contrasted with the mundane cement floored setting. The placement worked for me because the artwork emphasizes important and urgent issues plaguing migrant workers in our agricultural sectors including: unsafe working conditions, disappeared migrants and unhelpful bureaucratic systems. As a consumer of the food production industry in the States I realize I am not fully educated on the issues within that industry. 

I feel it is important we have artists reminding us of the workers that oft-times don’t get our recognition, although they provide a nourishing necessity to us every single day. 

May we open our eyes and hearts so we do not forget those working hard and in most cases within terrible conditions to feed our surrounding communities and our nation. These are the faces and stories behind the food we eat. We must not overlook them but fight alongside them for their wellbeing and justice. Stay engaged!

I got in contact with Victor to ask him a few questions about his art and the exhibit. Read his response below:

JM: A lot of your artwork deals with identity and in your current exhibit you talk about the identity of migrants working in food production. Do you have any advice for young artists tackling their own issues of identity?

VC: I would tell them to search and recognize what is key in the representation of the times we are living, to consider the political, cultural and social class where we are.The everyday life that we face when we are young are putting in images the abstract ideas that associate us: The idealists, fighters, revolutionaries.

Each generation has to live different events and we go hand in hand with the course of history, so what a young person has to live in the USA is different to other youth around the world. So, when  considering one’s identity through artistic expression it is essential to recognize that each one of us is different from the others, based on beliefs, values, norms, attitudes yet we still inhabit the same world, time and space and this contributes to our cultural development.

JM: Your show currently at the Santa Cruz MAH is very evocative while touching on deep issues within the labor workforce here in the U.S. Were there any artists that inspired your creative process?

VC: I believe that I consciously and unconsciously am influenced by many artists in history, in terms of aesthetics. I think that in this project you can see a little influence of many, I would say. For instance,  in the mural Burrocracia you can clearly see that Guernica of Picasso was an inspiration. It’s like saying, not only one atrocity is unique; the world we live in has many “Guernicas,” so to speak. You can also see traces of Francisco Goya and his engravings.

In what’s going on the sculptures made of sugar, I do not have a unique artist to identify as an influence. There are so many artists who are my guides, mentors and inspiration. Sugar, iron, metal in general are materials with so much information. In fact, sugar was the inspiration of the Mexican culture, the “calacas” (skulls/skeletons) from Dia de los Muertos was very fundamental in my decision to make these faces of sugar.

JM: Is there anything you want the viewer to take away and reflect upon after viewing this exhibit?

VC: I would like people to be able to step into the shoes of the disadvantaged, and to thank immigrants for their contribution to this society, to understand that we do the most difficult work for the benefit of many and with little reward.  I also want them, when they thank Jesus, to thank JOSE too.

SC MAH Website:

More info about the SCMAH exhibition:

Good Times article on “We Feed You” exhibit:

KQED post on Cartagena:

Julia Chiapella & Young Writers’ Project

by Josselyne Morales

On a slightly overcast Tuesday afternoon, Betsy Andersen, Director of the Museo Eduardo Carrillo, and I walked into the Santa Cruz MAH (Museum Art History) to meet up with Julia Chiapella, Director of the Young Writers Program (YWP). Our meeting with Julia took place in the imaginarium, “The Chamber of Heart and Mystery,” on the first floor of the SC MAH at 705 Front Street. The imaginarium is a magically immersive installation that serves as a portal to the Word Lab, an after-school writing project Young Writers Program. It is a place that inspires creative thinking and, imagination in conjunction with writing.

Julia greets Betsy with the warmth of an old friend. There is something special about the camaraderie of female entrepreneurs. When I first interacted with Julia I got a sense of composure and elegance in her movements and how she presents herself. We sat inside the Chamber and discussed her inspiration and drive for starting the YWP, which I learned was inspired from San Francisco’s very own non-profit “826 Valencia” created by Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari. There’s energy and purpose in Julia’s voice when she spoke about the mission of the YWP, which is dedicated to building students’ writing skills and confidence. Volunteer writing mentors are trained by the Young Writers Program to bring one-on-one mentoring to the classroom in their work with students! Community is built between the students and mentors.

Hablamos Juntos (Together We Speak) is the ongoing collaborative projects between YWP and Museo. Students use artwork created by Chicanx/Latinx artists to stimulate lateral thinking through associations or connections with their own lived experience. The student’s writing is paired with the art and published in full color, hard-bound books that are sold through the local Santa Cruz Bookshop. Each student also receives a free copy.

I find this collaboration so important because it enables young thinkers and writers to find a place and platform for representations of themselves. This was missing from my own public-school education. There is so much history unveiled and emotions stimulated in these artist’s works. They are evocative and thus relatable for even the youngest of generations. The Hablamos Juntos project is a beacon of support not only for writing but also for an education in history that I thought to be lost. It isn’t.

Toward the end of our conversation, I was struck by an interesting assertion Julia made. We’re on the topic of the many reasons adult creativity shuts off. I brought up the notion that kids grow up too fast based on our online or offline social environment. There is a predominance of a “follower culture” on social media. STUDIES HAVE YET TO SHOW THE effect this has on the amount of time young people spend fostering independent creative and critical skills. This is when Julia mused that growing up fast isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She went on to explain that it could be beneficial because, through programs, like the YWP, youth can identify their experiences through writing and communicate their ideas, potentially leading to a greater sense of agency and responsibility. Programs like the YWP are important to support because they help build a sense of power and justice in communities that might not otherwise find it!

The meeting ended and I left the museum space, mulling over what I just learned about the type of organizations the Museo Eduardo Carrillo works with and supports. I couldn’t help but feel full of love and wonder for both the Museo and the Young Writers Program with their drive to create a brighter future.

Museo Welcomes Josselyne Morales

Museo welcomes Josselyne Morales, one of the inaugural group of UCSC’s Creative Entrepreneurship Internship (CEI) ProgramThis blog represents her passion for the arts & artists in community.

She says of working with Museo,

“I am looking forward to learning about the history of the Chicano art movement in California through the legacy work of influential Chicano artist, Eduardo Carrillo. After being exposed to his paintings in real life and the amount of effort he put into his craft I am really inspired. It is as if I am finding pieces of a puzzle about a hidden history that I never knew was missing. Also, I find being able to research and work to promote underrepresented artists in our education system is incredible.”

Furthermore, Ms.Morales reflects,” Being a part of the first-wave of interns is an honor and a way for me to provide representation for future applicants that might feel deterred for a number of reasons.”

Considering her future goals of creating a non-profit organization, she intends to cultivate her experiences in community arts organizations, education and public service through her internship with Museo Eduardo Carrillo.

More about the Creative Entrepreneurship Program:

Sponsored by the UC Office of the President, the Creative Entrepreneurship Internship Initiative creates a diversity pipeline through placing underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in internships in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and other California regions. The CEI—a component of the Division’s broader Arts and Entrepreneurship program—also provides interns with the opportunity to incubate ideas on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

To learn more contact:

Danette D. Buie, MPA
Director of Student Opportunity, Success, and Equity
University of California, Santa Cruz

Seen/Unseen: Stories into Creativity
A Film by by Wallace Boss

 Seen/UnSeen: Stories into Creativity (13 minutes, 2018, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, CA) is a film by Wallace Boss.  He is a seasoned documentarian whose career has focused on creativity.

The artists in Seen/UnSeen: Stories into Creativity are Doyle Foreman (sculpture), Edward Ramirez (photography) and Claire Thorson (painting).  In Seen/UnSeen you will get to hear each artist explore their studio or “in the world” process and how it shapes an artwork coming into being.  

A project of Museo Eduardo Carrillo,  Seen/UnSeen: Stories into Creativity  is part of a Santa Cruz County wide initiative titled Spoken/Unspoken.  Museo is committed to sharing the art and voices of contemporary artists.

The Spoken/Unspoken countywide collaborative venture was organized by Cabrillo Gallery and fueled by the generosity of a donor-advised grant from the Roy and Frances Rydell Visual Arts Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, which allowed this project to come into being.  Find out more here:

Through a myriad of practices, artists give voice to a broad array of ideas, feelings, and concerns.  They invite us to think, to feel, to wonder, to question, to act and react. Through art, artists can shout dissent, rally for a cause, incite action, and foster community. Art can inform us, speak unspoken secrets and give a voice to the silenced. Art can offer comfort and a platform to communicate grief, anger, or injustice for those in difficult circumstances. Art can delight us aesthetically and touch us emotionally. It can express deeply personal thoughts and desires. Art can present puzzles to be solved or ambiguities to ponder.

Discover, through Wallace Boss’s film how  Doyle Foreman (sculpture), Edward Ramirez (photography) and Claire Thorson (painting) bring the Unseen into the Seen.

A free film screening of “Seen/UnSeen- Stories into Creativity” (16 minutes) and panel discussion with the artists and film maker will be hosted by The Sesnon Gallery in the Porter Faculty Gallery – Porter College at University of California, Santa Cruz on March 14th at 6PM.  Come early for best parking.  Please email for more information.

Seen/Unseen Gallery

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