is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crossings: Lexington Art League Showcases Contemporary Latino/a Art

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Image: no somos uno by Lucia A. Gomez


Crossings Celebrates Contemporary Latino/a Art

The Latino/Latina community is the largest immigrant population in Kentucky, and many aspects of Latin-American culture (food, music, traditional celebrations and dance) are embraced state-wide. Yet, contemporary Latino/a art is rarely seen in central Kentucky.

LAL’s aims to bring more visibility to this sector of contemporary art through its upcoming exhibition, Crossings. The exhibition is LAL’s first solely focusing on Latino/a and Chicano/a artists living in America. Artworks explore issues of immigration and trans-border crossing experiences as well as the points at which gender, labor, race, class, sexuality and cultural identity intersect.  

LAL accepted a proposal for Crossings from guest curators Marta Miranda, Andres Cruz and Diane Kahlo. The three are activists in the Latino/a community as well as artists. With media ranging from painting and photography to mixed media installation, the curators chose 6 artists from Illinois, Florida, Texas and Missouri as well as 8 from Kentucky.

Diane Kahlo says she and her co-curators would like “viewers to walk away with either a greater understanding of some of the journeys expressed in the artwork, or perhaps a new-found curiosity to learn more about Latin American culture, history, politics and art. Our hope is to provoke dialogue.”

Stephanie Pevec, LAL Executive Director, states the importance of presenting an exhibition with alternate ideas and philosophies. “The more we explore the various aspects of contemporary art, the more informed we become as a society.  LAL looks forward to the opening of Crossings in our continued effort to understand ourselves and the world around us through the lens of current visual art.” 

Opening on March 25 at LAL @ Loudoun House, Crossings runs through May 15. Gallery admission is free and hours are Tuesday through Friday 10a to 4p, and Saturday through Sunday 1p to 4p. More information can be found at www.lexingtonartleague.org.

As part of the exhibition’s programming, LAL will also host classes, lectures and events.

Classes
Now in its fifth season, LAL’s Master Class program will be lead by three artists from the Crossings exhibition. These no-cost visual art classes are offered to high school students in Kentucky and allow the students to learn about life as a professional artist and to assist in the development of their own artistic careers. Sonia Baez-Hernandez will lead a found objects workshop with Stars, a Latina teen group coordinated by the Bluegrass Community Center, on March 26. Agustin Zarate will lead a low rider art techniques workshop with a group of Latino/a youth on April 2. And, finally, curators Diane Kahlo and Andres Cruz will lead a bookmaking workshop with community teens on April 9.

Lectures
To engage with Crossings on a deeper level, LAL is also hosting lectures surrounding the exhibition. A Curators’ Talk with all three curators is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, at 3p. And a Gallery Talk is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, at 7p. The Curators’ Talk in April will include an in-depth discussion of the exhibition’s concept, artists and artwork. The Gallery Talk in May will be a moderated discussion with panelists Dr. Ana Liberato (Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Kentucky), Dr. Cristina Alcalde (Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, University of Kentucky), and Andres Cruz (editor of La Voz de Kentucky) on topics of globalization, immigration, and migration.  

Events
LAL will host social events and opportunities to network through Fifth Third Bank 4th Friday. During the opening reception forCrossings on March 25, Fifth Third Bank 4th Friday will present the Big Maracas as musical guest and offer light appetizers donated by Mi Pequena Hacienda. The last Fifth Third Bank 4th Friday during Crossings, on April 22, will offer live music by Jose Rivera and refreshments donated by Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant and Old San Juan. Both events include a cash bar by Kentucky Eagle INC, Kentucky Ale and Pepsi. Event hours are from 6p to 9p and admission is free for LAL members, 2 for 1 for LexArts card holders, and $7 for potential LAL members. Fifth Third Bank 4th Friday is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and supported by WUKY, Where NPR Rocks at 91.3FM.
  
About LAL
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Image: Las Desaparecidas detail by Diane Kahlo
The Lexington Art League is Lexington's oldest and largest visual arts organization. LAL envisions visual art as the lens through which central Kentucky will distinguish itself as a progressive, inclusive and vibrant region. LAL presents original and creative programs, with a reputation for thought-provoking content, that illuminate the role of visual art in contemporary life. To learn more about LAL and its effort to present art that is for everyone, please visit www.lexingtonartleague.org.

About Crossings Jurors
Diane Kahlo (co-curator) is a full-time artist committed to doing work addressing social and political issues that affect women, children, and populations marginalized because of gender, race, age, economic or class status.  She has exhibited her artwork extensively throughout the United States in a number of university and community galleries, participated in panel discussions and workshops relating to exhibition themes, and has been a guest speaker in classrooms.  In 2009 she curated No Borders, a 13-person exhibition exploring issues of immigration for Logsdon Gallery, Chicago.  Recently Kahlo received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to fund her project Las Explotados/Las Desechables: Las Desaparecidas (The Exploited/The Disposable: The Disappeared Women), an art installation commemorating the nearly 500 young women who have disappeared from Juarez, Mexico since 1993.  Kahlo earned a degree in Studio Art from Eastern Kentucky University.

Andres Cruz (co-curator) is a human rights, anti-war, and immigrant rights activist in Central Kentucky.  He has participated in various literacy and other educational advocacy initiatives in Lexington, Atlanta, and Costa Rica.  Since 2003 Cruz has been the Editor and Publisher of La Voz de KY, Inc., a bilingual newspaper focused on Latino culture, cultural/economic integration, cross-border individual and community experiences in Lexington, Kentucky.  La Voz is the only bilingual newspaper in the Ohio Valley Region.  Also in 2003, after graduating from the International Master Class at the International Puppet Festival in Dordrecht Netherlands, Cruz founded, directed, and performed in the Yerbabuena Puppets for Tolerance, a community theater project in Lexington.  Cruz earned a degree in Theology from Alphonse Theological Seminary in Costa Rica, a degree in Sociology from the University of Costa Rica, and a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Kentucky. 

Marta Miranda (co-curator) is an educator, activist, poet, storyteller, and textile artist.  She has fifteen years of college-level teaching experience with special focus on social justice with marginalized populations, and has twenty-five years of experience offering consultation and training to professionals in the area of cultural competency, trauma, and prevention of professional impairment.  Miranda is currently the new President/CEO of The Center for Women and Families in Louisville, and was previously the Director of Multicultural Student Affairs at Eastern Kentucky University.  As a community activist, Miranda has worked with a number of Central Kentucky organizations including the Lexington Hispanic Association, the Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.  In 2009 she was awarded the Kentucky SAMMY award for long term commitment and activism in the anti-violence movement.  Miranda earned degrees in Anthropology and Sociology from International University in Miami, and a Master of Social Work degree with emphasis in clinical and organizational social work practice from Barry University in Miami.

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The Lexington Art League’s programs are made possible through the generous support of LexArts.  The annual Campaign for the Arts has raised millions of dollars in support of the visual, literary and performing arts in Lexington.  Through the success of the Campaign, LexArts supports The Lexington Art League with an allocation of $62,000 for general operating support.  We thank the many individuals whose passion for the arts compelled them to give generously of their time and money.  Together these donations helped LexArts raise more than $1 million for the arts community.

Special thanks to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and the Kentucky Arts Council for their continued partnership in ensuring a flourishing future for the arts in Lexington and central Kentucky.  The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports the Lexington Art League with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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