Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this article, Juan Calzadilla introduces the exhibition of work by the second graduating class from CEGRA (Centro de Enseñanza Gráfica, in Caracas). He discusses the fundamental goals of this Venezuelan school workshop, suggesting that the highly focused nature of the instruction—students work as interns in the different workshops (silkscreen, drawing, lithography, etching, etc.)—will produce technicians rather than professional printers. Calzadilla explains: “by ‘technician’ I mean those who have learned the trade and some supervised creativity.” He mentions that, in those days, the goal of CEGRA was to train students to be skilled printers and potential artists, ready to embark upon their own creative journeys.

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This article by the critic and draftsman Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) sheds light on the structure and general training program at CEGRA (Centro de Enseñanza Gráfica, in Caracas) in its early years. Calzadilla discusses the intense nature of the courses and stresses the fundamental goal of the center in training skilled printers instead of artists. This comment is substantiated in an article by the curator Bélgica Rodríguez entitled “El TAGA: un sueño de verdad” (published in El Nacional, the Caracas newspaper, on August 12, 1979: E-10) [see the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1068980)], which announces that the TAGA (Taller de Artistas Gráficos Asociados, Caracas) would begin to operate with a group of CEGRA graduates who were already working as specialized printers. These sources indicate that there was a comprehensive training program for printers, starting at CEGRA (a workshop school for beginners) and then at TAGA (a workshop that allowed CEGRA graduates to continue their hands-on training). In addition to Calzadilla’s article, the catalogue introduces students and professors, and lists the subjects offered, including workshops for etching, lithography, silkscreen, and drawing, and a couple of seminars devoted to language and visual communication as well as the history of printmaking.

 

CEGRA closed in 1990 and became part of the Instituto Superior de Arte, IUESAPAR (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón, in Caracas, founded in 1991), which was then absorbed by the Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Artes (UNEARTE, founded in 2008, also in Caracas).

Researcher
Milagros González
Team
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Credit
Reproduced with permission of Juan Calzadilla, Caracas, Venezuela
Location
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.