The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Geronimo Garduño’s essay details the evolution and achievements of the Chicano mural collective, Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán, which was formed in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Garduño enumerates the factors that led to the group’s creation in 1971; notably, the difficulty experienced by its members and others in the community in securing quality housing and employment, as well as the devastating social effects of a failing welfare system as well as drug and alcohol abuse. Garduño identifies the collective’s founding members and their efforts to recruit recovering addicts to help paint their first mural. He discusses many of the challenges faced by the collective, focusing on the lack of funding available for mural production, as well as the resistance from other Euro-American artists to the group’s presence on the Santa Fe art scene, which Garduño suggests highlights the divide between public art and for-profit, or mainstream “American” art. The document notes the primary goal of Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán to open a mural school in Santa Fe, which they eventually realized, only to be interrupted after three months of operation by a violent episode involving police, students, and teachers.
Geronimo Garduño was one of the members of the Santa Fe, New Mexico, artists’ collective, Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlan. The other members were Gilberto Guzman and Samuel Leyba. The essay was included in Toward a People’s Art: The Contemporary Mural Movement, a book showcasing the mural movement as a contemporary grassroots effort on the part of community artist activists. Garduño’s essay is one of the very few by a New Mexican artist regarding the Chicano movement in their state. Garduño provides important first-hand information on the formation of the artist collective in 1971, the economic challenges faced by the group, the controversy over a mural painted in Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, and police action taken against them at their cultural center in 1973. The essay is also an excellent example of the ideology of the early Chicano mural movement, which utilized murals for community socio-political action and emphasized art for public—not private—consumption. Overall, Garduño’s essay promotes needed awareness of the activities and accomplishments of Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán both within and outside of Muralism, underscoring their integral participation in the broader Chicano movement.