Tortilla Social | Creative City Grantee

Creative City art projects extend into Boston neighborhoods featuring creative expression of many disciplines including theater, music, dance, visual art, spoken word, and more. Programs offer a variety of opportunities for community participation, including performances, workshops, receptions, and interactive storytelling.

Creative City was launched in 2015 by New England Foundation for the Arts with hopes to support individual artists to enliven neighborhoods and engage communities. The grant program has awarded $318,500 to 33 projects in four rounds of applications. In addition, Creative City has also awarded $20,000 to 20 community partners ($1,000/each) to support/collaborate with the individual artist project (more partner applications are in process now).  The deadline for the fifth invitation for individual artist applications will be in September 2017; the date will be announced in late spring. For grant eligibility and criteria, visit https://www.nefa.org/creative-city-grant. Creative City is made possible by the Barr Foundation with additional funding from the Boston Foundation.

Artists who receive Creative City grants engage in important conversations in their communities around displacement, immigration, identity – timely issues that impact all of us,” said Cathy Edwards, NEFA executive director. “Supporting local artists’ visions is critical, and this does that through surprising ways and locations.”

“Creative City is about taking the life and stories of communities and, through the powerful synergy of artists and residents, examining and retelling those stories in fresh and provocative ways,” said San San Wong, Barr Foundation’s senior program officer for arts and creativity. “We continue to be excited to see the varied scope of these engagements in communities across Boston. It has been our privilege to partner with NEFA in supporting so many talented artists and see new stories of neighborhoods come alive through this program.” 

Learn about previous Creative City artist grantees and community partners.

Trump can’t stop the National Museum of Mexican Art

With “Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey,” the institution proudly and vibrantly celebrates its 30th anniversary.

by Kerry Cardoza

April 05, 2017

Courtesy National Museum of Mexican ArtSalvador Jiménez-Flores, La Resistencia de los Nopales Híbridos (The Resistance of the Hybrid Cacti), 2017

Courtesy National Museum of Mexican ArtSalvador Jiménez-Flores, La Resistencia de los Nopales Híbridos (The Resistance of the Hybrid Cacti), 2017

 "Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey"

Through 8/13: Tue-Sun, 10 AM-5 PM
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th
312-738-1503
nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org
Free

Local artist Alberto Aguilar often uses cognates—or as he describes them, "words that can be read in English and in Spanish simultaneously"—in his work. He knew he wanted to incorporate them when the National Museum of Mexican Art asked him to participate in its 30th anniversary exhibition, "Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey." One of his contributions is the first work visitors encounter, a window sign that reads PORTAL in bright red letters above the entrance. It's a word that takes you places: into another dimension, another world, another time. With the White House planning to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and increasing raids in immigrant communities—one of which resulted in a federal agent shooting a man in Belmont Cragin last week—entering a space where those communities are celebrated can indeed feel like being transported to a different reality.

The National Museum of Mexican Art was founded by Carlos Tortolero and a group of educators in 1987. Originally called the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, the space expanded in 2001 and in 2006 adopted its current name. It's the only Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Cesáreo Moreno, the director of visual arts and chief curator, says the mission of the institution has remained the same throughout its history: To display the beauty and depth of Mexican culture, to develop a Mexican art collection, and to cultivate Mexican artists.

"I think our mission is still strong, it still holds true," he says. But that doesn't mean he hasn't seen changes in the Latino art-world community since he started at the museum in 1995. He notes a big increase in female artists, and a greater diversity of content and material in artwork. In the 80s and 90s, he says, artists of Mexican descent had their ethnic identity in the forefront of their work. "Today's artists, I think, have a much more complex identity," Moreno says.

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For this exhibit, Moreno, who curated the show along with Dolores Mercado and Ricardo X. Serment, sought to include a wide range of artists—31, in fact, from Chicago and vicinity were invited to participate. "We want people to see and understand that there is a huge variety and diversity in the Mexican community," Moreno says. The works on display represent an array of mediums. There's graffiti, painting, video, and a kinetic sculpture, among other contributions. 

Some of the strongest pieces are mixed- media installations. In Suffocated From the Inside (Party Chain) v2, Ivan Lozano pays tribute to the murdered son of the poet Javier Sicilia. Lozano downloaded and printed images of drug-cartel murder victims from the Internet, transferred them onto packing tape, and then formed them into paper chains like the ones you find in an elementary school classroom. Installed in a corner, the chains are lit by a lightbulb underneath them; a photo of a sunset adorns the wall. Yvette Mayorga's Make America Sweet Again, a sugar-coated critique of the American dream, is inspired by her family's work in the confectionery industry: pink and blue faux frosting on the walls is shaped into cakes and American flags. 

Georgina Valverde addresses the history of the museum's location for her installation, Temazcal, named for a Mesoamerican steam bath traditionally used to "cleanse the body, heal the sick, or assist women in labor." She learned that Harrison Park, which borders the museum, originally housed a natatorium, or indoor swimming and wading pools. Space constraints led her to make a model of the bath, composed primarily of melted plastic bags covered with crocheted yarn. Valverde says the craft that went into making Temazcal was important, as her culture "still has a strong artisanal tradition."

"It also speaks about the labor that is here in this country that makes possible so many aspects of our lives," she says, "all from the contributions of immigrants."

In conjunction with "Memoria Presente," the NMMA is also running an extensive programming series for the local Mexican community. Events range from a street tour of public art to a presentation of 60 political cartoons in 60 minutes by artist Eric J. Garcia. Moreno notes that education and engagement have always been priorities for the NMMA. "That's how we start to change a society, through education," he says. "We firmly believe arts education can build bridges between communities." To that effect, the NMMA remains one of the few museums in the city that's always free. 

"In a time in the United States when being Mexican and being an immigrant has really been tarnished," Moreno says, "I think that we have an even stronger struggle ahead of us to provide an accurate understanding of what it means to be Mexican and what it means to come from an immigrant community. Now the museum more than ever needs to really stand up and kind of show the other side, the beauty of our culture and the strength of our community."

There's another piece by Aguilar above the exit of "Memoria Presente": Titled Éxito, it's a sign that reads TERMINAL made of painted butcher paper, black streamers, and black masking tape. Another cognate, but this one has darker connotations. Yet the word éxito suggests an alternate meaning, "more like celebration or wishing someone good luck," Aguilar says. "I like to do this thing where I just am factual, like I just state facts," he continues. "I hope sometimes that in doing that, that poetry sort of naturally emerges, rather than me forcing it." 

The same could be said of the NMMA. It could be more overtly political in the exhibitions it stages, but the museum doesn't force the issue. By representing a wide range of artists with a diversity of experiences, it lets a different story emerge, one that celebrates our differences instead of fearing them.  

Together We Rise Boston

Join Together We Rise: A Counter-Inaugural Celebration of Resistance as we raise our voices for a more just, creative, & peaceful future. The one-of-a-kind event–to be held on the eve of the presidential inauguration–will include a procession to the theater, social justice art show, mobilization fair, and a call-to-action concert featuring a talented and inspiring set of performers including renowned musician Larry Watson and his ensemble.  Spoken word artist Ashley Rose Salomon will emcee the event. Additional performers to join the bill include spoken word poets, comedians, authors, dancers, and more.

Just making free Declaration of Immigration print.

Just making free Declaration of Immigration print.

Time Travel with the Vessel Form

El Moche Style

El Moche Style

Dates: September 6 - November 22
Days/Times: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Level: Beginning - Advanced
Instructor: Salvador Jiménez Flores

Course description: In this course students will explore different hand building and image techniques in both utilitarian and decorative vessels. Students will utilize the collections of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture to draw inspiration. Part of the class will focus on observing and recreating a historical vessel while implementing the possible ancient methods of creation. Students will also have the opportunity to create their own designs and personal narrative with a contemporary approach.12 classes/13 weeks. 
Course Fee:  Harvard Undergraduates: $125, Harvard Graduates: $225, Community Returning: $860.00, First Time Community: $780.00

For questions regarding registration, accessibility, discounts for multiple-class registration and new student referrals, and employee assistance programs, such as TAP: contact Shawn Panepinto, Director of Operations, at 617.495.8680 or email panepint@fas.harvard.edu

Students from other colleges interested in taking Ceramics courses: email panepint@fas.harvard.edu.

For questions regarding course content, email Kathy King, Director of Education at kking@fas.harvard.edu.

 

 

Watershed Center for Ceramic Art | Summer Residency

I had the privilege to be part of the "Nature in Ceramics" Artists-Invite-Artists a week ago and I had my watershed experience. I was able to create a new body of work based on the research that I've been working on for the past months as Artist-In-Residence (AIR) at the Harvard Ceramics Program. These two weeks were crucial to produce the work that will be show case in September as the completion of my first year as  AIR at the Harvard Ceramics Program. 

The Boston Globe | The Week Ahead: music, theater, art, and more

Salvador Jiménez-Flores’s “Dust to Dust,” from “I Am Not Who You Think I Am” at Urbano Project through June 10.

Salvador Jiménez-Flores’s “Dust to Dust,” from “I Am Not Who You Think I Am” at Urbano Project through June 10.

SALVADOR JIMÈNEZ-FLORES: I AM NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM Working in several mediums, Jimènez-Flores weaves myth and history with popular culture and politics, turning up the volume on what it means to be Mexican in America today. Through June 10. Urbano Project, 29 Germania St., Jamaica Plain. 617-983-1007, www.urbanoproject.org

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2016/05/17/the-week-ahead-music-theater-art-and-more/jHqvOxTKi5hfeSGK8zSG9O/story.html

Free ceramics course for kids at the Harvard Ed Portal

Young artists working hard on making cups and tiles

Young artists working hard on making cups and tiles

Amazing work by young artists

Amazing work by young artists

January 21, 2016
The Harvard Ed Portal is excited to offer The Art of Clay: An Introduction to Ceramics to members ages 10-14 (grades 5-8) during February break.

In this course, Harvard Ceramics Artist-in-Residence Salvador Jiménez-Flores will teach students the basics of working with clay. Students will produce handmade tiles and cups to take home with them at the end of the class. No prior experience is required and all materials will be provided.

Be sure to reserve your space now! The course is free, and space is limited. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis; attendees must attend all four sessions (9am-12pm, Tuesday, Feb. 16 through Friday, Feb. 19). Registrants or their families will be required to drop off a signed attendance commitment form and a small, refundable deposit prior to the first day of class.