Neumaier, Diane, “Judy Baca : our people are the internal exiles ” In Cultures in Contention, 62-75. Exh. cat. Seattle, WA: Real Comet Pres, 1985
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In this 1981 transcript of an interview with Chicano muralist Judy Baca, artist Diane Neumaier discusses Baca’s artistic and political process as she reveals the steps involved in the implementation of a citywide mural project in Los Angeles, California. Notions of Chicano identity frame Baca’s drive to communicate and connect minorities with greater public awareness, beginning with the artist’s desire to create art by encouraging people to “use all of their senses.” Baca uses murals as a way of “dealing with problems that are manifested in the whole society.” Neumaier describes the complexities of Baca’s project, from political dealings with city hall, to relationships with marginalized youth populations on the streets. The result is the formation of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) described as the bridge between public art creations and ongoing connections with the community. This interview sheds light onto an artistic project cultivated by the community as a long-term public art.
Chicano muralist, activist, and educator Judith F. Baca (born 1946) has dedicated her life to the political and artistic processes of Chicano Art in California. Founding the first mural program in Los Angeles in 1974 led to the evolution of a community arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), which is committed today to producing and promoting public works of art that mirror the experiences of ethnically diverse populations. As a public artist, Judy Baca is concerned with representations of marginalized populations and, through the communal process of muralism, she generates a space of memory and social transformation to influence in positive ways the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Baca is currently the artistic director of UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab where, alongside students, she uses technology to co-create mural designs. Published by Seattle’s The Real Comet Press in 1985, Cultures in Contention explores various social, political, and artistic issues of the 1980s. It was edited by Douglas Kahn and Diane Neumaier.