The Public Art Network is pleased to recognize Judy Baca, founder and artistic director of SPARC: Social & Public Art Resource Center, as the recipient of the 2010 Public Art Network Award. After accepting her award, Ms. Baca will also make a keynote presentation.
The 2010 Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit will celebrate the accomplishments and advances of the arts over the last half-century by bringing together over 1500 leaders from the across the country to discuss what strategic actions will make the arts relevant and valuable in rapidly changing American communities as we look to the future. This audience will include and engage local, state, regional and national arts leaders and the partners and constituents that make their work possible including but not limited to: artists, elected officials, foundation and corporate representatives, volunteers, patrons, activists, journalists, educators, economic developers, and urban planners. The purpose of this convening is to celebrate, network, and prepare leaders to guarantee a vibrant future of the arts in America as a united field.
Judy Baca is a native Angeleno, a visual artist, arts activist, community leader, and educator. Baca is best known for her large-scale public organizing murals. Her art involves extensive community dialogues and participation. Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles mural program in 1974. In 1976, she founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, CA. SPARC is a socially relevant, activist minded and spirited organization, and at the heart of what it believes is that art is a tool for social change and self-transformation. Baca’s true signature piece is The Great Wall of Los Angeles. As a site of public memory, the Great Wall is one of Los Angeles’ true cultural landmarks and one of the country’s most respected and largest monuments to interracial harmony produced with the participation with more than 400 inner-city youth, 40 ethnic historians, and hundred of community residents.
Baca and SPARC continue to work on The World Wall: A Vision of The Future Without Fear, which consists of 8 10 ft. x 30 ft. portable mural panels on canvas. This 240 ft. mural addresses contemporary issues of global importance: war, peace, cooperation, interdependence, and spiritual growth. As The World Wall tours the world, eight additional panels by artists from eight countries are added to complete this visual tribute to the “Global Village-An Arena for Dialogue.” To date, Finland, Russia, Palestine/Israel, and Mexico panels have been added; Canada is currently being worked on.
To advance the field of muralism, in 1996 Baca created the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital/Mural Lab, a research, teaching, and production facility based at SPARC. She serves as a full professor in the UCLA Chicano/a Studies Department and World Arts and Cultures Department. She is currently working on the Cesar Chavez Memorial at San Jose State University; the Robert F. Kennedy monument at the Old Ambassador Hotel site, which will become the RFK Learning Center for K-12; the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in San Diego; and a digital painted mural for the Richmond Arts Center.