Art of the State Symposium Program | Monterey Museum of Art

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 9, 2021 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Thank you for attending Monterey Museum of Art’s 3rd Annual Art of the State Symposium. This year’s theme, Change = Action/Time: Generational Activism in Chicanx and Latinx Art investigates the prominence of activism, how it has changed, and where it might be going next. The Art of the State Symposium was founded to create scholarly discussions about important topics in California Arts. As we seek to better represent our community through collections, exhibitions, education, advocacy, and beyond, our hope is that this forum is just the beginning of an ongoing and fruitful conversation leading to lasting change for the better in our culture and society. If you would like to contribute to the conversation and have ideas for lectures, workshops, or other programming, please send your proposals to Today’s program is divided into two major sections for the morning and afternoon. The morning session consists of a conversation between the artists with works currently on exhibit in The Califas Legacy Project: The Ancestral Journey/Viaje Ancestral. These artists (some of whom were present at the original Califas Conference, held at the University of California Santa Cruz, in 1982) share a personal history of Chicanx and Latinx art on the Central Coast around the Monterey Bay Crescent. This discussion will be followed by a Live Question and Answer session via chat. We encourage you to send your questions in through the chat portal at any time during the presentation or the Q & A sessions. The afternoon will be divided between individual presentations and a panel discussion with our presenters and moderated by Susana Smith Bautista, Ph.D. We welcome your collaboration in this important discussion during the Question and Answer periods as noted on the schedule. During our break times, stay tuned for drama, spoken word, and hip-hop performances by local Latinx artists La Sofa Queen, Xago, and Bactun 12. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit We also extend special thanks to: Museo Eduardo Carrillo: House of 8 Media: And, finally, thank you for participating in today’s discussion! Please help us to continue these important conversations by donating at and by taking a few minutes to fill out the California Humanities survey arriving by email shortly after the Symposium’s close.





10:00 – 10:15

WELCOME Corey Madden, Interim Executive Director, Monterey Museum of Art

10:15 – 10:30

INVOCATION Juan Felipe Hererra, US Poet Laureate (2015-17)

10:30 – 11:30

PANEL DISCUSSION Califas Artists (see program Biographies)

11:30 – 12:00


12:00 – 12:30



12:30 – 12:40 AFTERNOON WELCOME 12:40 – 1:00 PRESENTATION Mario Ybarra Jr.


2:00 – 2:20 PRESENTATION Dr. Judith F. Baca

2:20 – 2:40 PRESENTATION Kathleen Gallegos

1:00 – 1:20 PRESENTATION

Amalia Mesa-Bains, Ph.D.

2:40 – 3:00 PRESENTATION Armando Durón

1:20 – 1:40 PRESENTATION Victor Payan & Pocha Peña

3:00 – 3:30 Q & A

Session 2 Presenters

1:40 – 2:00 Q & A

Session 1 Presenters



Moderated by Susana Smith Bautista, Ph.D.

4:30 – 4:55 Q & A 4:55 – 5:00 CLOSING COMMENTS 5


CALIFAS ARTISTS BETSY ANDERSON – MODERATOR Betsy Andersen is Founding Executive Director of Museo Eduardo Carrillo, an online museum. In that role she curates online exhibits, develops educational programs that feature contemporary Chicano/a artists, and she served as Executive Producer for the award winning documentary, “Eduardo Carrillo: A Life of Engagement.”

GUILLERMO ARANDA Guillermo (Yermo) Aranda is an elder and wisdom keeper of the history and ancestral teachings for Chicano/Native/Mexica-identified peoples. He was the co-founder of El Centro Cultural de La Raza in San Diego, CA, a cultural art center focused on Latino and Indigenous art forms. As the Centro’s first administrative director, Aranda initiated the Chicano Park Murals in 1973. Chicano Park is now recognized by the City of San Diego and the State of California as a historical site.




Victor Cervantes is a prolific artist, visual arts consultant,

Ralph D’Oliveira has painted more than one hundred

and college instructor. He is an accomplished academic

murals in California and abroad during his career of over

whose graduate research at Columbia and Harvard fo-

forty years as a muralist. He has led dozens of projects

cused on promoting cultural diversity through art. Cer-

with schools, working collaboratively with neighbors and

vantes also serves as the Art Director of the non-profit

students. In 2013, he traveled to Norway to paint a mural

Quinto Sol, which works with youth to empower neigh-

project in Trondheim. He views all these mural projects

borhoods through artistic expression.

as a way to build community. Ralph draws on his multi-


cultural background incorporating native Chumash and Mexican roots.

Amy Díaz-Infante is a visual artist living and working in San Francisco. Díaz-Infante is a full-time faculty mem-


ber in Printmaking, Drawing, and Design at the City College of San Francisco. She holds a BA in Art from

Armando Franco is a Chicano artist, muralist, arts pro-

Yale University, an MFA from the Rhode Island School

fessional, and organizer in Gilroy, CA. A graduate of Cal-

of Design, and a Collegiate Teaching Certificate from

ifornia State University, Monterey Bay’s Visual and Pub-

Brown University. She has exhibited nationally and within

lic Arts program, his goal has been to collaborate with

México and is an alumna of the Djerassi Resident Artist

local non-profit organizations and government agencies

Program. Community engagement has been a key com-

in support of their artistic projects and goals. Franco has

ponent of her arts practice; and as an educator and ad-

been working to raise funds to restore historic murals in

ministrator, she has been active in the fields of youth arts

the region.

and youth leadership development.




Carmen León is a painter and teacher of art. In 1975-76,

Angelica Muro received an MFA degree from Mills Col-

she was involved with a grassroots arts center, the Aca-

lege in 2005, and a BA in Photography from San Jose

demia del Arte Chicano de Aztlan, painting some of the

State University in 1998. She is the recipient of the

first murals in Watsonville, CA. In 1985, she began teach-

Herringer Family Foundation Award for Excellence in

ing art in the schools, focusing on her involvement with

Art and the Trefethen Merit Award. Muro’s curatorial

the Latino/a/x community and drawing on her Peruvian

projects have been awarded grants from the Center for

and Mexican heritage. León was one of the co-founders

Cultural Innovation through the Creative Capacity Fund,

of Galeria Tonantzin in San Juan Bautista, CA, a venue

the James Irvine Foundation for Intersections, and Ado-

for women’s art.

be Youth Voices. She is co-founder, principal, and curator of Space 47 projects. Muro is the current Chair and

AMALIA MESA-BAINS, PH.D. Amalia Mesa-Bains, Ph.D. is an artist and cultural critic. Her artworks, primarily interpretations of traditional Chicano altars, resonate both in contemporary formal terms and in their ties to her Chicano community and history. She has pioneered the documentation and interpretation of Chicano traditions in Mexican-American art and is a leader in the field of community arts. Among her many awards is the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship, a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. She is professor emerita in the Visual and Public Art Department at California State University, Monterey Bay. 8

an Assistant Professor of Integrated Media and Photography in the Visual and Public Art Department at California State University, Monterey Bay. Muro teaches photography, digital art, and media analysis courses.



Irene O’Connell is a community-based artist inspired by

Jaime Sanchez is an artist and muralist based in Santa

the Mexican muralist tradition and the Chicano move-

Cruz County, CA, and a graduate of California State

ment of the 1960s in LA. A graduate of University of

University Monterey Bay’s Visual and Public Arts pro-

California Santa Cruz in Public Art; Latin American and

gram. Through his work he strives to bridge the connec-

Latino Studies, she is passionate about uplifting margin-

tion between the predominantly white art community

alized voices through public art, mentorship, and orga-

and the minority artist community, creating art that wel-

nizing roles. She also serves on the board of the Santa

comes all people, and drawing them toward the idea of

Cruz Museum of Art and History.

peace and justice.

FELICIA RICE Felicia Rice is a master printer, collaborative artist, and educator based in CA. Her text-based work exploring political criticism and social impact has been exhibited internationally and received numerous awards. Rice founded Moving Parts Press where her designed and printed works include series on contemporary Chicanx/ Latinx artists and authors.



AFTERNOON PANELISTS SUSANA SMITH BAUTISTA, PH.D. – MODERATOR Dr. Susana Smith Bautista is an experienced arts administrator, consultant, art historian, and expert on museums, visual arts, digital technology, and strategic planning. She completed her Ph.D. as a Provost Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, where she also received her Masters degree in Art History/Museum Studies. She has a curatorial background in Latinx, Chicanx, and Latin American art. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Alliance of Museums, where she serves on the newly-created Diversity Committee and conducts peer-review museum site visits for the Museum Assessment Program. She was executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, interim deputy director and director of public engagement at the USC Pacific Asia Museum, editorial director of, associate with the Daniel Saxon Gallery, and executive director of the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Born in Pasadena, California, Susana served the City as Arts and Culture Commissioner for 6 years. She is currently working on her second book, How to Close a Museum: A Practical Guide, published by Rowman & Littlefield.




One of America’s leading visual artists, Dr. Judith F. Baca

Armando Durón has been an avid collector of Chicano

has been creating public art for four decades. Powerful in

art for 30 years. His extensive collection includes over

size and subject matter, Baca’s murals bring art to where

500 works, and around 1,000 publications, and books

people live and work. In 1974, Baca founded the City of

related to the art. It represents the last 40 years of Chi-

Los Angeles’ first mural program, which produced over

cano art in Southern California and reflects his Chicano

400 murals and employed thousands of local partici-

perspective on collecting Chicano art.

pants, and evolved into an arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). She continues to serve as SPARC’s artistic director and focuses her creative energy in the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab, employing digital technology to promote social justice and participatory public arts projects. She is an emeritus Professor of the University of California Los Angeles, where she was a senior professor in Chicana/o Studies and World Art and Cultures Departments from 1980 until 2018. In 2012, the Los Angeles Unified School District named a school after her called the Judith F. Baca Arts Academy, located in Watts, her birthplace. She is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship and over 50 awards from various community groups.




Gallegos politically matured during the turbulent, but highly creative 60’s from the Antiwar movement to the

In 2015, Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed the 21st

Chicano Moratoriums. In the 70’s she worked for an Oak-

United States Poet Laureate, the first Mexican Ameri-

land left wing newspaper, Unity/La Unidad, in their graph-

can to hold the position. In his statement of choice, Li-

ic arts department. Gallegos joined Self Help Graphics in

brarian of Congress James H. Billington said Herrera’s

Los Angeles during the 80’s, and in 1986, along with mu-

poems “contain Whitman-esque multitudes that cham-

ralists Barbara Carrasco, Yreina Cervantez and Francisco

pion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural

Letelier, painted a mural at the Plaza De las Madres in

perspective” that serve to illuminate our larger American

Managua, Nicaragua. In 1995-96, Gallegos lived in Hon-

identity. Herrera grew up in California as the son of mi-

duras painting and photographically documenting the

grant farmers, which he has commented strongly shaped

people and living conditions of Hondurans. In 1996, she

much of his work. A Washington Post article tells the

was invited by artist Leo Limon to teach photography to

story that “As a child, Herrera learned to love poetry by

teens at the Aztlan Cultural Arts Center at the old Lin-

singing about the Mexican Revolution with his mother, a

coln Heights Jail. Gallegos also operated their gift shop

migrant farmworker in California. Inspired by her spirit,

and organized exhibitions. She founded the Avenue 50

he has spent his life crossing borders, erasing boundaries

Studio in order to give Latinx artists a venue where their

and expanding the American chorus.”

artistic vision, and voice, could be heard. In 2014, Kathleen received a Local Heroes Award from KCET for her unwavering support of under-represented Latinx artists. Also in 2014, Gallegos was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to sit as a Councilmember on the California Arts Council. In 2018, Southern California Woman’s Caucus for Art awarded her the President’s Award for Art Activism. From 2000 to the present, Gallegos has been the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of Avenue 50 Studio, a nonprofit art organization located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. 12

Herrera is the author of thirty books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children.



Gustavo Leclerc is an architect and an artist. He was a fellow at Harvard University in the prestigious Loeb Fellowship program during the 1999-2000 academic year. Gustavo was a founding member of the multidisciplinary collective ADOBE LA and has been a key member in numerous creative projects throughout his career in collaboration with visual artists, geographers, literary theorists, anthropologists, historians, filmmakers, poets, public artists, activists, and musicians.

Ricardo Muñoz was an important member of the movement for Chicano empowerment in Northeast Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. His dedication to higher education and activism is deeply rooted in Mexican-American pride. As a lawyer and judge, Muñoz has fought for civil rights litigants who might otherwise have gone unrepresented. He has also spent many years collecting Chicanx/Latinx art and advocating for emerging artists.

AMALIA MESA-BAINS, PH.D. (See biography under “Califas Artists”)




Victor Payan is an award-winning writer, humorist, and interdisciplinary artist whose work promotes social justice, community empowerment, and tolerance through engaging and playful public performances that educate, enlighten, empower, and entertain. Through his “practical social practice,” Mr. Payan combines arts advocacy with performance strategies to engage civic leaders in policy change.

Pocha Peña is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and

He founded LAFTA: The Latin American Free Thought Agreement, Mexistentialism and the Keep on Crossin’ project, a multifaceted manifesto on immigration and borders of mind, body and spirit. Together with Sandra “Pocha” Peña, he created Aztec Gold, a series of irreverent transdisciplinary interventions that utilize the iconography of Mexican wrestling to create cathartic “counter-absurdity” campaigns that inspire catalytic change. Payan and Pocha are recipients of the 2019 Creative Capital award for their Dreamocracy in America project. Victor Payan is co-founder of the Taco Shop Poets and was Border Bureau Chief for His work has been featured in exhibitions, screenings, and performances in the US and internationally, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Mr. Payan is also a cultural consultant and public speaker. He served as Director of Programs for the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and is Founding Director of Media Arts Santa Ana (MASA). 14

inter-disciplinary artist from Orange County, CA. Peña directed her first music video as a teenager for seminal punk band The Vandals, then studied video art with Bill Viola in 1990’s Spain. She completed two degrees at UC San Diego in Visual Arts and Sociology, following up with an MFA program at UCLA’s School of Film & TV. She has exhibited her video art in museums and film festivals worldwide, written essays published in JumpCut film journal, books and catalogues, and produced videos for Spanish-language TV networks. In 2003, she partnered with artist/humorist Victor Payan. Together, they created the 2004 video series “Aztec Gold,” and received a 2007 Warhol Foundation/ Idea Fund prize. Peña and Payan were awarded the prestigious Creative Capital grant in 2019. On her own, Peña has won the AGFA 1995 New Filmmaker Award, produced the award-winning hit LGBT feature “Eastside Story,” and won the 2010 NALAC Individual Artists Grant for her fiber series “Toile de Glace.” Peña also co-founded Media Arts Santa Ana media non-profit, OC Film Fiesta international film festival, and the Cine Comadres female filmmaker network. Peña has just completed her first feature screenplay, has served as Chair of the Santa Ana Art Commission, and is a current Historic Resources Commissioner in her native Santa Ana, CA.

MARIO YBARRA JR. Mario Ybarra, Jr. is a founding member of the artists’ collective, Slanguage, and lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in a number of institutional exhibitions including the 2008 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


XAGO Luis “Xago” Juárez