feature / alumni / diversity / influencing-change
October 18, 2022

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Influencing Change: DEI at ArtCenter – October 2022

The X Factor

Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month—which spans 31 days, September 15–October 15—reflects an extremely broad population of communities, each with unique histories, distinct cultures and creative expressions, including in the fields of art and design.

The importance of this national celebration comes with debates regarding the use of Hispanic, and if Latinx, which is rising in popularity—especially among young people—offers more inclusivity. 

At ArtCenter, we've engaged in many of our own discussions, especially as we plan our 2023 Alumni Exhibition. As you know, 2020’s Impact 90/300 exhibition (seen in the image above) celebrated our Black alumni while reflecting on the lack of diversity among students and faculty at ArtCenter. I'm thrilled to announce our next chapter: IdentificarX, an exhibition that spotlights ArtCenter's Latin-identified alumni community, is slated for September 28–December 9, 2023, at ArtCenter DTLA

The value “x” in the title, is a visual signifier of expansiveness—beyond Hispanic, Chicano, Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latiné—and brings together wide-ranging conversations about identity and diasporas in art and design. The show will include work by alumni from all departments. If you'd like to participate, collaborate or have any questions, I invite you to contact Jean Rasenberger. The exhibition’s curatorial team includes Ryan Perez (BFA 08 Fine Art), Leo Eguiarte (BFA 09 Illustration) and Melinda Arredondo (BFA 20 Photography and Imaging).  

The value “x” is a visual signifier of expansiveness — beyond Hispanic, Chicano, Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latiné. 

Aaron I. Bruce, MIBA, Ph.D., Chief Diversity Officer

Good Sports

Speaking of Los Angeles, our city is set to host the 2028 Olympics. Along with world-class competitions and celebrations, there come complex risks and opportunities for the multifaceted global population of our city. In the new course, The Olympic City: The Games and the Remaking of Los Angeles, taught by Visiting Professor Cedric Johnson, students assess how resources and spaces are influenced when a city invites the Olympic Games into its community. Take a listen to Cedric's recent Change Lab podcast on thinking historically about racial justice, and keep an eye out for our students' outcomes, which I'll be featuring here.

Purple Mexican

I encourage you to experience Victor Estrada: Purple Mexican, a timely exhibition celebrating one of Los Angeles’s most groundbreaking artists, on view in our Mullin Gallery. 

An alum of ArtCenter’s undergraduate Fine Art and graduate Art departments, Victor's vibrant paintings and sculptures navigate identity, estrangement and belonging, pulling from the unique cultural landscape of L.A.'s sprawling metropolis. While he's been exhibited around the world, this is the first show to substantially survey his work.

From the Source

I'd also like to draw attention to Source Material (SM), a student-led publication supported by ArtCenter’s Writing Center and the Center for DEI. Each issue hopes to bridge voices between classroom and department walls by publishing work that celebrates multidisciplinary collaboration and challenges traditional, institutionalized design. The group is seeking submissions for its third issue, Safe Spaces. I invite you to share your stories, memories or even origins of your safe space, a spot where you can be your most authentic self. SM is open to current students and alumni. Submit writing (all languages) and artwork by November 11.

The Bold Type

Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) recently released Mujeres Hispanas y Tipografía (Hispanic Women and Typography), documenting its Typographers-in-Residence program. The eye-catching catalog celebrates five Hispanic women designers, researchers and educators to the field of graphic design, reflecting on the influences that individual cultures and histories had on their investigations. Included is the work of: Sandra García and Dafne Martínez (Colombia and Mexico), Laura Meseguer (Spain), Marina Garone Gravier (Argentina/Mexico), and Jimena Gamio (Peru/Los Angeles). Please email HMCT if you'd like more information or a copy of this bold book.

In Focus

As academic delegation partners to NewFilmmakers LA, I'm pleased to share that we'll be emailing invitations for 30 complimentary tickets to upcoming programs highlighting and amplifying stories of Veterans (October 22) and Indigenous People (November 19). ArtCenter students are also welcome to join NFMLA with a year-free membership by signing up here.

Creature Comforts

Living in L.A., the entertainment capital of the world, there's something magical about this month leading up to Halloween. The movie- and monster-making of our Film and Entertainment Design departments feel especially delightful, and our creative community certainly knows how to dress for the occasion, which is always a treat to see. 

Raising a Flag

October 11 was National Coming Out Day. I encourage you to read more about the history and impact of this event and movement. For our part, we raised our rainbow flags at both campuses to celebrate—a sight I look forward to each year.

Lastly, if you enjoy this newsletter, please invite your friends and colleagues to subscribe. We’re always looking for ways to expand ArtCenter’s network and create more opportunities for our community.

I look forward to continuing our discussion next month.

Aaron I. Bruce, MIBA, Ph.D.

Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer
ArtCenter College of Design