Monday, October 20, 2014

Sacramento, CA: October 10-12: Photo Gallery

What follows is a generous photo gallery, with commentary and testimonios, on the recently concluded third installment of the PINTURA : PALABRA workshops, held in Sacramento, CA.

Entrance to the exhibit
at the Crocker Art Museum
Sacramento, CA
Nancy Aide González and Harold Terezon
at Tequilia Museo Mayahuel
on Friday, October 9
Odilia Galvan Rodríguez at the bar;
Francisco X. Alarcón visits with Adela Najarro
Oscar Bermeo, Nancy Aidé Rodríguez, Lucha Corpi, Paul Aponte
Paco Marquez, Graciela B. Ramírez, Gerardo Pacheco Matus
Maceo Montoya, Oscar Bermeo, Javier O. Huerta, Joseph Rios
Maya Chinchilla and Adela Najarro
Group photo at Friday's reception.
(Missing: Sandra Garcia Rivera,
who had not yet arrived)
Entrance to the workshop
Francisco X. Alarcón
Plenary session

What distinguished the Sacramento workshop from
the ones in Miami and Washington were the large
number (17) of participants in Sacramento. 
As a result, Francisco X. Alarcón, throughout
the weekend, employed small group work: 

small group work
small group work
small group work
small group work
small group work
small group work
down time visiting:
Nancy and Gerardo
down time visiting
down town visiting

Small group work (day 2):
Small group work (day 2):
Small group work (day 2):
Small group work (day 2):
One of the nice things about the Sacramento workshop
was how intergenerational our co-hort was.
We held, if you will, an in-house reading on Sunday
at the Crocker Art Museum
before we headed to the Sacramento Poetry Center.
The following two pictures are meant 
to represent this intergenerational dialogue:

Joseph Rios
Graciela B. Ramírez
Group photo at the conclusion of the workshop on Sunday.
Workshop participant Sandra Garcia Rodríguez
had a comittment back in San Francisco 
and had to depart before before this picture was taken
Podium with projection screen:
Sacramento Poetry Center (SPC)
Maceo Montoya and Joseph Rios
put together a powerpoint presentation
of the artworks that corresponded to the poems
read at the public event at the SPC.
On view here is an image
from Kevin Gonzales-Day's 
"Searching for California Hang Trees"

el público (1)
el público (2)
Bob Stanley of the Sacramento Poetry Center
welcomes the public
Francisco Aragón of Letras Latinas
delivers brief opening remarks
about the PINTURA : PALABRA initiative
Francisco X. Alarcón,
workshop instructor facilitator,
opens the poetry portion of the program
JoAnn Anglin
JoAnn Anglin's testimonio:

"The artworks drew a surprising range of responses from different poets, reinforcing the natural dialogue that I see happen between art maker and art audience. In ‘my’ selection -- the painting Radiante, -- one poet saw bullet holes and one visualized Transformers movie characters. Me? I saw a vivid spiritual energy that laid a path through my new poem. I think the often-challenging artwork deepens the way we challenge ourselves in our poems. Then in our discussions, the faceted perspectives add awareness of how our poems might be even stronger, our insights more textured."  

view of "Radiante" by Olga Albizu (1967)
projected onto a screen

Paul Aponte
"Tanka for "Pintura: Palabra"

A magical feast
motivating soul and mind
spreading sharing love
creating spirit teachers
a cleansed atmosphere for Earth

I have never been exposed to art in one weekend as I have during this workshop…
The workshop itself was filled with creative artists and poets and just being in the same room with them was elevating, but sharing great moments and knowledge with each other is what made this special.  Sandra Garcia Rivera sharing a small part of her vocalizations (song) for her Sunday event, the epiphany in the beauty of a small change of the structure of my poem by Maya Chinchilla that was a gift from heaven, the gift of extraneous talents by Joseph Rios and Maceo Montoya in creating the slide show to match the poets readings… However, the main gift was Francisco X. Alarcon with his talent of subtle yet effective motivation towards an eco-centric mindset: Motivating towards a  "reindigenization" of the people of the Americas and bringing eco-poetics into full view [...]"

Oscar Bermeo
Maya Chinchilla
Lucha Corpi
Nancy Aidé González
"[…] Each poet in the group made the “Our America: The Latino Presence in America Art” exhibit come to life with words…The poetry we wrote is a social record that marks our time period weaving together cultural issues, conflicts, resistance, and celebrations.  The feedback I received on my poem “Maria’s Great Expedition” based on Christina Fernandez’s photography was thoughtful and valuable.  Paco Marquez suggested I use caesura on certain lines of my poem.  JoAnn Anglin advised I revise a line for clarity.  Maceo Montoya gave me feedback regarding themes within my poem.   I had insightful conversations with the group members about the revision process, line length, word emphasis, humor, and use of space while eating pan dulce.  The PINTURA :PALABRA reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center was a culmination of our work….I treasure each moment I spent with the members in the workshop. I can’t wait to see all the poetry published in the Los Angeles Review and Packinghouse Review.  It was an honor to help organize and take part in PINTURA:PALABRA."
Xico González
Javier O. Huerta
Paco Márquez
"The PINTURA : PALABRA workshop was an extraordinary experience. I am a native of Sacramento and familiar with the Crocker Art Museum, but it was weird being inside the conference room with the workshop participants. Rarely, if ever, is my Latino/a identity not the minority…I came out of the workshop more confident as a person and as an artist. The reading materials, workshop discussions, and interaction with participants were challenging and invigorating. The exhibit, of course, is great and varied—from the abstract to the political. Seeing it live and interacting with it after the readings and discussions yielded a riveting experience. Reading from our drafts at the Sacramento Poetry Center with a slide show of the art only added to the marvel of the weekend.

The sense of comradeship created through the workshop has also been deeply important. Having lunch with Gerardo Pacheco Matus, I finally realized what “mal de ojo” means (to be jinxed). We shared our immigrant experiences, and he told me about not being able to attend his father’s funeral due to his immigrant status. I connected with established painter and writer Maceo Montoya, and we spoke about our experiences at MFAs in NYC. Joseph Rios, Javier Huerta, and I crowded into the cab of Joseph’s truck and told stories as they gave me a ride back to the airport.[...]" 

Gerardo Pacheco Matus
"El maestro Alarcón encouraged us to listen to the paintings and to write something about the visual art. This process gave me the opportunity to explore in depth the work of Ken Gonzales-Day, Searching for California Hang Trees. Ken works with photos from hundreds of lynched Mexicans in the United States. Ken erases them and creates new photos without the dead, mutilated bodies, leaving only the perpetrators as major characters in the photos.

Ken’s manipulation of history through photography sparked something in me, a question I have never asked me before, “What’s the role of the Mexican/ Latino artist in the United States?” Consequently, Ken’s Searching for California Hang Trees made me write a series of poems about hanged people. My poems deal with my own history; it is the recollection of young men hanging themselves in my hometown, Huhi." 
Maceo Montoya

Adela Najarro
"Right now my life is incredibly busy with teaching at Cabrillo College and family obligations. I love it all, but “life” constraints are always tugging. The PINTURA:PALABRA workshop offered me the space and time to recharge and maintain my Latinidad and its creative power. It was a pleasure to interact with all the workshop participants, and it was a delightful opportunity to work with other Latino/a poets. We shared our work, our ideas, our passion, and vision. Then the opportunity to see the exhibition at the Crocker close up and have the time to write was also a major highlight of the weekend. I think I have between three to fifteen poems going. We’ll see how many turn out to completion and publication. 

One other point, besides moving me forward in my own creative work, I’m taking these ideas into the college classroom. My classes will also be visiting the Crocker, and they will write on the art—both in essay form and as poetry. I’m also making my materials available to future Pintura/Palabra workshops and to my colleagues in the Puente Project. Opportunities such as these reverberate long and wide. ίMil gracias!"

Gabriela B. Ramírez
"PINTURA : PALABRA was a fabulous experience for me. At 82, I never imagined I was going to be a participant of this incredible event. Being surrounded by poets and art for so many hours elevated my spirit to the utmost galaxies.

Besides the fact that I was experiencing works from my own culture, I definitely learned how to deeply analyze paintings by observing very carefully each item in them to find their symbolic meanings, historical context, message, spirituality and, most importantly, how the artist used objects, brushes and colors to depict pain in people’s lives.

Then, to combine words with the selected painting was like seeing them dancing and caressing each other. The artwork came alive in our words and vice versa. Another great experience was to share our writing in the small groups, and giving and receiving positive criticism. In one of my groups the suggestion for my poem was to move one stanza to the end. This change made a complete and positive difference in the meaning and sound of the poem.

My only regret is that I have never entered this world before. Never saw artworks the way I’m seeing them now. It would have been great for my poetry. I’m very grateful to the sponsors and organizers of this event for this fantastic opportunity." 

Joseph Rios
"A lot of the workshop participants  knew each other before this weekend. Javier, Maceo, and I know each other good and well. Sandra, Oscar, Harold, and Lucha, too.  I commented during the welcome reception that though we knew each other on a varied basis, this was to be our first opportunity to sit in workshop with each another and talk about art and craft in a formal setting – in such a deliberate and dedicated way. I was the youngest one there, I think. And though it wasn't made into a big deal, there were moments when I looked about the room and counted myself fortunate to be there with poets who have been doing the work longer than I have been alive, poets I look up to and have studied in other classrooms, people who laid the foundation for what I am able to do on the page.

Undoubtedly, with an exhibition like this one, there are many discussions to be had in relation to the politics of representation, space, and identity. And it is precisely because of the previous generation's work that I am able to call myself a Chicano and create my own art as a Chicano Poet in the tradition. Graciela Ramirez, longtime professor, ended her introduction on the first day of workshop by saying, “I have earned the right to call myself a Chicana.” I will never forget her saying that. She confirmed, for me, in just one sentence, everything I knew about the term; she confirmed why the workshop and the exhibition were necessary, but by no means an end to the conversation." 

Odilia Galván Rodríguez
"Pintura : Palabra
palaver : platica
a talk between tribespeople
what artists : writers hear
with their eyes and
respond with their hearts

It was my great privilege to be one of the poets invited to the PINTURA : PALABRA writer’s workshop at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA and to be able to respond along with my colleagues and fellow poets in our own words to this resplendent and historical collection of Latino Art of the Americas.  

Some of the collection brought back memories of being a very young woman, of growing up and becoming politically aware, and then an activist during this period of great social unrest and social justice struggles in the US.  The diversity of the artworks is amazing and lent itself to a broad response from us as writers. The two-day workshop led by Francisco X. Alarcon was a rich experience. The small group experience, one that I prefer while participating in and conducting creative writing workshops, was excellent.  All the writers came expertly prepared to work collaboratively and to refine their work. I especially loved the multi-generational feel of our teams; it was wonderful to work with each and every one – who were all very supportive and honest in their feedback about the work." 

Harold Terezón

The following pictures are shared here courtesy
of Nancy Aidé González

Javier, Nancy, and Paco

Maya, Nancy, Odilia, and Lucha
Gerardo, Maceo, Javier, Oscar, Harold, Joseph, and Paco

Graciela and JoAnn

Javier, Oscar, Lucha, Harold, Nancy, and Maya

Exhibit catalogue cover, featuring
"El Tamalito del Hoyo" by Roberto Chavez (1959)

Click below to see the Our America exhibit:


And: click below to view the previous
two photo galleries that correspond
workshops in Miami,
and Washington, D.C. before that:

The Frost Museum of Art (Miami):

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC):


a project in ekphrasis"

is made possible thanks to 

the Weissberg Foundation

and the generosity 

of individual donors.

If you'd like to help

please contact: