The Corcoran has been lucky enough to host two exceptionally talented artists-in-residence this fall, Marco Vera and Fernando Corona. Marco and Fernando are currently working with the Corcoran community to curate a mural installation in Gallery 31 as part of the exhibition Secondary Inspection: Una Selección del Arte de Baja California. The collaboration highlights the work of the Mexicali Rose Media and Arts Center in Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico, an organization dedicated to providing free access to artistic media for the community youth of the town. Through today, students will be working with the artists to create a mural on the gallery walls; it opens to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, October 9 and will be on view through October 27.
Unveiled was able to sit down with Marco and
Fernando and talk about the project.
1. How did you become involved with the Mexicali Rose Media and Arts Center?
Marco: We started Mexicali Rose Media/Arts Center as a way of introducing art to an otherwise troubled community in Mexicali. The community of Pueblo Nuevo in Mexicali is based right off the U.S./Mexico border and if not faced with altruistic or artistic options, individuals can easily fall prey to a lot of the crime and social issues associated with this border proximity.
Fernando: I became involved with Mexicali Rose via their first ever workshop, which was a muralism workshop. I was the second artist to exhibit his work in the community gallery, and from that point on, I became involved as an instructor and with the space in general.
2. For those that are unfamiliar, can you talk a little bit about the mission and work of the center?
M: Mexicali Rose has served the artistic community of Mexicali for over six years, focusing on functions as media activists: 1) media and audiovisual production workshops; 2) community gallery; 3) microcinema; 4) internet radio station; 5) alternative independent library.
F: Mexicali Rose is a center where ideas converge from people who are young and have great ideas, not only in Mexicali, but also from the southern part of the U.S.A.
3. What issues are you hoping to raise awareness of with this exhibition?
M: We want students to become inspired and creative despite economic or social hardships. We believe artistry cannot wait and anybody can create beautiful and amazing work in a DIY fashion, and we’re hoping that comes through in the work being displayed.
F: Instead of any one particular theme, we hope this will be a mixture of themes and styles with the work of Baja along with Corcoran students. It is a great goal to bring about a change in the students’ outlook and way of working.
4. Where did the idea to create a community mural come from?
M: We always try to incorporate ourselves into and learn from the environments we work in. A community mural is the perfect window into a community’s heart, soul. and thoughts.
F: It’s our natural way of working, it is almost necessary for us to have community involvement. Through this process, students can learn while working alongside different people. That is the case in most of the murals we’ve done.
5. What has been a highlight of your experience working in D.C. this year?
M: The people and the great enthusiasm revolving around the work being presented and the new work being created. It’s great to collaborate with a dedicated, enthusiastic, and inspiring group of staff and students.
F: Working with the people and seeing their excitement. I find it exciting, the mixture and exchange of ideas amidst all the students incorporating their styles.
6. Are there any ways the Corcoran community can support the Center and its efforts?
M: The Corcoran has been doing a great job supporting the center’s mission and work by inviting us to show the work being produced and creating new work. The Corcoran has raised awareness of our work not only in D.C., but also via the Mexican Cultural Institute. Through their support, we are receiving recognition for the work that border artists sometimes don’t receive being so far removed geographically from our nation’s capital.
F: It is great that the Corcoran is involving community outside the institutional manner. In multiplying our efforts, we reach more people outside the traditional spaces.
Secondary Inspection: Una Selección del Arte de Baja California is on view through October 27. See the full installation process documented on Mexicali Rose’s Facebook page. Be sure to stop by Gallery 31 tomorrow evening for the public opening. Register now for the Visiting Artist Lecture by Marco and Fernando on Wednesday, October 23 (free, including reception with refreshments; RSVP here).