JEM’s corner

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
831-459-3633
dbuie@ucsc.edu

JOSSELYNE MORALES reflects on the work of Victor Cartagena

“Burrocracia,” Victor Cartagena

by Josselyne Morales

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:

https://santacruzmah.org/

More info about the SCMAH exhibition:

https://santacruzmah.org/2018/we-feed-you-works-by-victor-cartagena-april-4th-july-22nd-2018/

Good Times article on “We Feed You” exhibit:

http://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-arts-entertainment/art/victor-cartagena-exhibit-mah/

KQED post on Cartagena:

https://ww2.kqed.org/spark/victor-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.