Artist Alex Martinez is a second-generation Queer, Mexican-American Chicanx, raised in Watsonville, California. She has lived in the Bay Area for 20 years, and is a teaching artist at Richmond Art Center.
Alex chatted with Amy Spencer, Exhibitions Director at RAC, on January 12, 2021.
Hi Alex! Let’s start with your art and teaching practice.
I am a dual-credentialed educator and artist. I taught for five years as a special education teacher, but now I am focused on my art practice and anti-racist teaching work, specifically developing curriculum in Bay Area schools. At the moment I’m applying to MFA programs. This is all keeping me busy.
What art project are you working on at the moment?
I’m continuing a series called Legacy of Resilience, which is about amplifying voices of transgender asylum seekers, and missing and murdered indigenous women. This was a collaborative project working with artists Eli Reyes and Malaya Tulay. So far we have created two large-scale portraits that highlight the effects of systemic racism on marginalized populations. The first portrait is called They Came Seeking Protection (2020, mixed medium, 48’’ x 65”) and shows Roxsana Hernandez and Johana “Joa” Medina Leon, transgender asylum seekers who died in detention at the US/Mexico border. The second portrait is called Disappeared Three Times (2020, mixed medium, 48’’ x 65”) and depicts missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, two-spirit and trans people. These works feature painted acrylic portraits, beadwork, text, and appliqué, as well as embroidery and linoleum block printing on the borders. I started the Legacy of Resilience series as part of a YBCA Public Participation Fellowship last year.
What has it been like continuing to make work and teach online during the pandemic?
At first it really felt like a big challenge and pivot. But teachers are adaptable. I think we all took it as a learning opportunity. Right now I’m an art teacher for middle schoolers. It continues to be a challenge to engage with students as they go from screen to screen, and I’m seeing screen fatigue. But we are just trying to be compassionate and understanding. And create spaces where kids can express some of the complicated feelings they are going through right now.
What are you teaching at Richmond Art Center this semester?
A teen journaling class. The class is designed as a series of one-off activities where kids can engage as they want. I created it like this because of my understanding of how hard it can be for young people to show up online right now. I wanted the class to be available to suit individual kids’ needs. Each class session focuses on a different medium and way of expression, so students can learn how to add a new design dimension to their journal. It’s about helping youth develop their own visual language across a ton of different mediums. As well as giving them the opportunity for exploration and connection with other youth.
Art Journaling for Teens (for ages 12-17) starts January 20 and runs through February 10. More info about the class is online HERE. Alex is also teaching a kids class Junk Art! (for ages 6-12) this semester. Info HERE. And you can visit Alex’s website to see her work HERE.
Thank you Alex!
Thank you! Making new work and teaching during covid is challenging, but I’m grateful to be able to do it.
Issue 12 Let’s Keep Going | Art of the African Diaspora | Spotlight On… Vera Totos | Classes Starting Soon Play the Art Cube Game
Let’s Keeping Going
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed so generously to Richmond Art Center’s end-of-year campaign. We raised $78,500 that sets us up for a great start in the new year! (If you didn’t get a chance already, donations can still be made online here: https://richmondartcenter.org/support/
It will be a long time before we know how deeply 2020 has transformed our community and our country. But we are optimistic 2021 can shine. Thank you again to all who are part of Richmond Art Center’s story.
Online Exhibition Dates: February 11 – May 16, 2021 Artist Registration Deadline: Sunday, January 24, 2021, 11:59PM
“Art of the African Diaspora is an exhibition that introduces African Diaspora art to new audiences, but also provides fresh insight into its artists and their Bay Area experiences. We are excited that the 2021 program will be a virtual hybrid which we anticipate will expand our audience.”
– Stephen Bruce, artist and Steering Committee Chair, AOTAD
Learn expressive weaving with artist Vera Totos! In this two-day online class students will jump right into creating their own scarves on 4-shaft table looms borrowed from the instructor. Vera will teach improvisational techniques such as rya knots, clasped weft and soumak, as well as loom-controlled patterning. This is a great opportunity for beginner weavers, as well as folk with some weaving experience who would like to venture into free improvisation or try out shaft looms. Sat-Sun, Jan 23-24, 10am-12pm
About the Artist: Vera Totos weaves, felts, paints, dyes and spins fibers that make up the fabric of our lives. Vera lives in the Bay Area and manages The Fono Arts and Crafts. You can find her online at at thefono.com or veratotos.com.
In this class young artists will fill the pages of their art journals with fun projects using watercolors, colored pencils, ink, marker, paint, folded paper, and found objects. Sign up for one class or as many as you like!
Teen Class (Ages 12-17) Wednesdays, 3:30-5pm Jan 20 – Feb 10
Artists, sign up HERE to join Art of the African Diaspora 2021!
Art of the African Diaspora, in partnership with Richmond Art Center, supports artists of African descent in the Bay Area through representation, professional development, and building a creative community.
In 2021 Art of the African Diaspora will be hosted at aotad.org and richmondartcenter.org. All artists who register to participate will be included in the online exhibition with an individual webpage highlighting their work. Artists can also host virtual or in person* open studios, artists talks and other events in conjunction with Art of the African Diaspora.
“Art of the African Diaspora is an exhibition that introduces African Diaspora art to new audiences, but also provides fresh insight into its artists and their Bay Area experiences. We are excited that the 2021 program will be a virtual hybrid which we anticipate will expand our audience,” says Stephen Bruce, artist and Steering Committee Chair, AOTAD. “Each artist reveals a special story and offers a unique view into the world they live and social connections that drive their creativity.”
Online Exhibition Dates: February 11 – May 16, 2021 Artist Registration Deadline: Sunday, January 24, 2021, 11:59PM
After our first Ceramic Sale sold out in less that 48 hours we’ve decided to go again! Purchase work online by Shannon Abac, Marisa Burman, and Hanneke Steenmetz, then collect it at our curbside pick-up event happening this Thursday, December 17, 11am-2pm (or make an appointment to pick up at a different time). All proceeds benefit Richmond Art Center.
These beautiful drawings by Chris Ahn are only $150 (and at 11″ H x 17″ W will fit in standard size frames). Purchase online then come make a selection at our curbside pick up event happening this 12/17, 11am-2pm. All proceeds benefit Richmond Art Center!!
The Arts & Crafts Hub for the Holiday Arts Festival is an online space for Bay Area artists and makers to share and/or sell their work during the holiday season. Shop work by over fifty amazing artists!
Coloring sheet by J.P. McNicholas (https://richmondartcenter.org/instructables/friends-coloring-sheet/)
RAC will be closed December 19 to January 3.
To rest and regenerate Richmond Art Center staff are taking a coloring break.
Thank you to all – students, volunteers, partners and the community – who have supported us during this wild year. From our shelter-in-place to yours, we send out wishes for healing and peace through creativity in 2021.
Have something to share? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to shop: Sale launches at 12:01am on Friday, December 4, 2020 (that’s tonight!); at this time the ‘Buy Now’ links will go live on our website, and we will start featuring one piece per hour on our Instagram Stories.
So excited to have this new artwork available as a Thank You Gift. And in in the spirit of giving Richmond Art Center is paying forward 50% of the proceeds from this piece to the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry.
About the Work: This color screen print by Liberación Gráfica was created in the summer of 2020 in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement. City of Black and Brown Solidarity highlights Richmond as fertile ground for cross cultural solidarity and the ways we can fortify each other in the journey towards liberation. More about the piece…
Thank you Liberación Gráfica for contributing your work! Follow Liberación Gráfica on Instagram @liberacion_grafica.
Arts and Crafts Hub Spotlight On: Yelloh Joy Magazine
Yelloh Joy Magazine was created by San Pablo-based writer and editor L Holley. Published four times a year, the magazine provides a digital and literary platform for women of color creatives. Holley writes, “The artistic flow of designers, writers, music-makers, entrepreneurs and innovators are the DNA of what makes our work so great.” See sample copies of the magazine online here.
Yelloh Joy Magazine is one of fifty artists and makers in our Online Arts and Crafts Hub for the Holiday Arts Festival.
Your safety is really important to us. In light of the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in Richmond, we have decided to cancel the in-person Ceramics Sale and Curbside Vendor Market for our Holiday Arts Festival at Richmond Art Center.
We’re continuing to assess the rate of new Covid-19 cases and hope to reschedule our Vendor Market sometime in Spring 2021. If you were planning to pick up your Thank You Gifts at the market we will be in touch with you soon.
We are deeply sorry for this inconvenience, but feel it’s necessary for the health of our staff, vendors, and community.
Until we can see you at RAC again, we look forward to keeping in touch through our online happenings, and wish you and your loved ones a safe holiday weekend.
Thank you for your contributions. Your support keeps us going!
What is Giving Tuesday? GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. www.givingtuesday.org
Holiday Arts Festival | Thank You! | Unity and Community | Online Art Classes in December
Holiday Arts Festival
Online and In Person Arts and Crafts Festival The Holiday Arts Festival returns in 2020 with a hybrid online and curbside event! Click on the links below to view the event schedule and artist listings.
Thank you for being part of Richmond Art Center’s creative community. Click the link below to see some of the great gifts – like this t-shirt designed by Shannon Abac – we are saying ‘thank you!’ with for our End-of-Year Appeal.
Enjoy this coloring sheet created by Liberación Gráfica! Liberación Gráfica is a collective from Richmond composed of artists, educators, and community members that create work to uplift social justice, the Richmond community, and young people’s voices. Follow the group on Instagram @Liberacion_Grafica
Online and in-person event featuring Bay Area arts and crafts
Richmond, CA: Richmond Art Center (RAC) invites holiday shoppers and art lovers to experience the 58th Annual Holiday Arts Festival! This beloved Richmond Art Center tradition returns in November and December 2020 with a hybrid in-person/virtual event featuring Ceramics Sale and Curbside Market and Online Arts and Crafts Hub.
We also have art kit giveaways and thank you gifts to celebrate the Holiday Arts Festival as RAC’s largest community fundraising event. Visit richmondartcenter.org/haf to view the event schedule, artist listings, and browse thank you gifts including RAC apparel, unique glass magnets and beautiful, original artwork.