My academic and artistic interests range widely, from the study of liminal urban culture to art and community-based social change and activism. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with many Southern California and Tijuana-based art, community, and social service organizations such as Cornerstone’s Day Laborers Theater Without Borders, La Casa del Túnel, Self Help Graphics and Arts, Plaza de la Raza, and Los Angeles Poverty Department among many others. These collaborations as well as my training in Boalian, Freirean and other critical and dialogical pedagogies have greatly informed my work as an educator. My teaching philosophy reflects my belief in contextual collaborative learning, nurtured by dialogue, highly participatory lessons, the building of our classroom community, and deep engagement with real-life issues and culture makers. My students’ deepened understating of the process of learning, as well as of their identities and social-political-cultural context has led so many to become passionate, creative and effective civic collaborators. Witnessing them reach out across disciplines and hierarchies, and effect change with an entrepreneurial and generous spirit have profoundly impacted my choices as an educator and a learner.
COURSEWORK ON ARTS AND ACTIVISM (taught at CalArts)
Undergraduate students explore the connections between social justice, civic participation and artistic and community-based practices, and acquire a contextual understanding of historical and contemporary artistic, political, social and urban factors relevant to social change and community organizing. Students interact and collaborate with a network of LA, San Diego and Tijuana-based community organizations, artists, performers and scholars working to advance social justice locally, nationally and transnationally.
COURSEWORK ON CONTEXT-SPECIFIC ART PRACTICES (taught at CalArts)
Undergraduate-level coursework on relational, public and context-specific art practices. Students actively engage their socio-political-critical contexts while creating individual and collective site-specific projects in the school’s surrounding neighborhoods. Students learn about the history of relational, dialogic and audience-centered hybrid practices. Through visits, forums and collaboration with LA-based arts collectives and community leaders students are trained in collaboration models, leadership, and community engagement.
COURSEWORK ON ARTS AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (taught at CalArts and Antioch University)
Can the arts be a catalyst for change? What are some of the strategies that visual and performing artists have employed to advocate for, problem-solve, and advance the plight of a particular community? What are the “rules of engagement” for community engagement through the arts? This course explores the work and legacy of revolutionary artists and pioneer troublemakers from the last three centuries. Drawing upon a range of community-based arts projects, scholarship, case studies, screenings, interactive games, and hands-on research, the students have the opportunity to explore a myriad of community engagement projects and strategies that utilize the visual and performing arts towards grassroots change.
INTEGRATED VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM (designed and implemented at the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts)
This innovative visual arts program for K-6 grade students is designed to connect with the general school curriculum while engaging students in the discovery of art as a form of knowledge.
COURSEWORK ON PUBLIC ART AND COMMUNITY STORYTELLING FOR YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES (taught at NOMAD LAB)
Posters, monuments, “street” and “urban” art, interactive performance… these are all forms of expression and creativity that take place on the public stage for all to see. Participants in this workshop learn about art in public spaces and explore the impact of art on the culture and well-being of our communities. Through Skype web-sessions we connect with artists and youth from around the globe. Participants work on the creation of a community and history map as well as a collaborative public art project using video, sound, recycled materials, art tools and other diverse media.