Social Justice Thru the Arts 2018
“Holding Space” 2018
We are the next generation of voices. We are the future, we are change, we are hope, we are power and intelligence. We came into this program as strangers, and we will leave it not only as friends, but accomplished artists. Our faces painted on this mural will forever be remembered. We all come from different family backgrounds including American, Indigenous and Immigrants. Many of us face hardships. Many of us come from trauma, pain and struggle. Many of us come from places where people believe we will be nothing because of our skin colors, genders, religions, and sexualities. Our pasts do not define us. Where we live, our family’s economic status, what people think negatively of us—this does not define us. Our maturity, wisdom and kindness define us. We will impact the world through great changes. Many of us come from nothing but we are beyond more than something. Nobody can stop us. We can do anything.
During the program of creating our mural, feelings of excitement led us through the process of creating the design for the mural. This involved building community and celebrating our differences by bringing our different ideas together and creating a collaborative collective. This process required lots of honesty with ourselves and each other.
To begin, we started by priming the panels to prepare for painting. We spent time the first day creating movement sculptures inspired by themes of connection and intersectionality which we photographed as imagery for the mural design. We also practiced Theater of the Oppressed techniques that informed some of the poses on the mural. We made sure to incorporate everyone in this critical piece of the process. The second day we used line drawings of the photos taken and tracing paper to create our own compositions. Through this process we reinforced themes of unity, difference, acceptance, hope and love. For example, we decided on a powerful red “ribbon” or through line that connected each figure. Red was decided on because of its powerful color and rooting qualities. Taking time to talk through the what was important to include on the wall and made it a more powerful and intentional mural design.
During the first day we faced a few challenges, grappling with judgment for ourselves/each other and being overwhelmed by so many people in one space. While we had the fear of messing up, our confidence broke through and overcame one of our many challenges. During this process we continued to embrace our differences and used them to motivate each other. Setting our egos aside and trusting one another through the process of painting, we made sure to hold space for one another. We completed all the painting in two days of intense work, and in the end felt satisfied and proud of our dedication. The check-ins and debriefs at the end of our days made us think deeper and find the deep parts within us to help us explain how we all relate to the mural and our peers.
Throughout the week, it became apparent that we all have our own artistic mediums; whether it be paining, writing, drawing, music, or dance. These artistic differences offered many avenues for us to explore while creating our mural. We found that is was our social differences, however, which really provided us with the content of our message. Things like race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and language help determine how we perceive and are perceived, and each of us faced challenges engaging with differences across these lines. Because we are all unique in each of these regards, it is the coming together with these differences that is important and powerful. Each person had the opportunity to share and learn about the experiences of the people next to them. Through looking inward and travelling outward, we found power, and from this place of power we taught ourselves to appreciate our creations, to learn, to honor our cultures, and to understand the message behind the faces of this mural.
The last few days here have allowed for growth in each and every one of us. Many of us have learned to embrace our stories and where we come from. Many of us are building a conscious understanding of the internal and external struggles of other peoples. We, as young people, have become united under a call to make change and address social issues. It is our commitment and responsibility to bring what we’ve learned here back to our communities throughout Colorado, to help draw their attention to social issues and the potential of working across difference to produce power for social change. As we become activists, we seek to restore power and hope by honoring each other’s differences and creating a more just society.
Rose Jaffe with Magdalena Garcia, Jimmy Lee, Erin McGrew, Moo Moo, Krysna Kassandra Quinonez-Gasca, Hemily Madrigal, Viviana Retana, Franchesca-Julia Reyes, Martin-Angel Reyes, Lael Vigil
CSU Student Interns/Artists: Puleng “Ratu” Marutle, Shayla Monteiro, Jovan Rivera-Lovato
Dr. Caridad Souza, Director of Women’s Studies and Gender Research
Lisa Morgan, CSU Dance Faculty, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Rose Jaffe, Mural Artist
Silvia Minguzzi, Designer and Communications Manager, Gregory Allicar Museum
Dr. Patricia Vigil, Director CSU Alliance Partnership
SOCIAL JUSTICE Thru the Arts was a part of the 2018 summer seminars hosted by CSU Alliance Partnership. Thank you to CSU College of Liberal Arts and the CSU Alliance Partnership for underwriting the seminar and to CSU Women’s Studies and Gender Research, the University Center for the Arts, the School of Music Theatre and Dance, Gregory Allicar Museum and CSU Art Education for additional support and space use.