Arté En Todas Partes isn't just the name of Working Classroom's newest show, it's the organization's credo. It means Art Everywhere, and that's Working Classroom's goal.
Visual Arts Program Director Francisco Guevara describes the organization's mission as being "about creating a space for students to be successful and give them a voice in the arts." This show in particular, which opens Friday, July 31, and runs through Sept. 18, is designed to "celebrate Working Classroom, our students and the artists who mentor and support them."
Mentorship is an integral part of what Working Classroom has done for 20 years. Workshops and classes for young people are taught by professional artists, giving participants ages 12 and up the opportunity to learn a range of techniques and styles. "We are interested and devoted to making contemporary art accessible," Guevara says, "and through contemporary art promote development—
What makes Arté En Todas Partes different from previous shows the program has put on is what Guevara calls "the risk and challenge" of displaying the work of novice students alongside that of professional, international artists. A wall of self-portraits by Working Classroom participants faces large-scale work by known artists. "What's really exciting is how the pieces have a dialogue with each other," Guevara points out, "so you have intro-level pieces from someone who is 11 in dialogue with a piece from someone who is 45 or 50 or maybe 60 years old. It's interesting in terms of ... how these students are learning the specific technique but also putting their own ideas into the work."
The work of three students in particular will be highlighted. Jerry Rivera, Patricia Neddeau and Juan Valle studied for six weeks with artist mentors. Rivera, 17, was paired with retablo painter Arturo Olivas and developed two pieces out of the themes Olivas works with.
UNM student Neddeau, who studies biology, worked with ceramist Fred Wilson. Though Neddeau's technique draws much from Wilson's, as Guevara points out, the content is very different, with Neddeau's trending toward a cellular preoccupation with organisms and bacteria.
Photographer Roberto Rosales worked with Valle, 17. "I think it was exciting for Juan," Guevara says, "because Roberto is on assignment and he goes with him and takes pictures. It's really good for them."