Alma and her children stand in front of the "We Are Human Beings" installation in front of the ICE building in Philadelphia.
Indigenous Otomi elder shares her memory of migration to Mexico City.
Hamel prepares the mural walls in Havana, Cuba.
Community members decide on themes for the "De La Memoria Al Muro" Mural.
Mother and daughter paint messages to support the immigrant community in South Philadelphia.
Community members from Honduras celebrate their mural.
Teaching Artist Statement: My creative process is embedded in claiming and transforming space in ways that affirm or challenge people's experiences in that space; and providing the opportunity to create a dialogue through art around the most profound personal or community issues. I have done this by:
- Designing and creating over 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally
- Coordinating and leading community arts and cultural exchange travel abroad programs for teens and adults since 2000
- Developing in-depth arts-based curricula that address specific themes and social issues to encourage communication, awareness, empowerment and education in communities, universities and non-profit organizations;
- Training artists, community leaders and activists in utilizing public art techniques to advocate for themselves and their communities through my residencies;
- For ten years, spearheading the free professional development of artists working in communities through the Teaching Artist Program at the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation in Philadelphia;
- Offering professional development training for local artists (in other countries) that demonstrates how to coordinate projects, write grants, prepare letter of agreements, develop a work plan, create community engagement strategies, and connect to funding resources in their respective communities;
- Conducting strategic plans as a non-profit arts consultant to organizations and arts collectives;
- Traveling as a guest speaker in presenting talks related to arts for social change and public art work;
- Exploring other methods of creating public artwork through digital and traveling murals, site-specific installations, interactive exhibitions, and documentaries that exist outside of the realm of the traditional mural.
I develop in-depth curriculum that is adapted to each community that I am engaging and working with during my projects. Although I set the structure, it is still open to change and developed based on the progress and input I receive from the community participants.
When working in various settings, I am clear about my intentions. I am prepared in facilitating difficult dialogues, identifying themes, translating themes to visual representations, and doing this with integrity and respect with the community. It is important to create a safe space for someone to make a mark about their experience and their lives with no judgment, and to have the opportunity to collectively transform public spaces as a platform to present a visual affirmation that honors and values their stories.