What Now, Part II: Engaged

There is a lot of engagement activity in our house these days: selecting a venue (Old Town, Hubbell House, Old Town, Hubble House…), trying on dresses, booking the officiant (gracias, Arturo!), researching photographers, cashing in on friends’ offers to help us find a band that plays rancheras, cumbias, a bit of country and salsa, and “Dancing Queen.”

But it’s more than just the wedding.

Cruising, Henry Rael

After two and a half months of hiding out in a bunker (read: Suzanne and Rufus’s studio), I am reengaging in my community of Atrisco, returning to weekly visits with the seniors at the South Valley Multipurpose Center (up from every other week while I was knocking out the messy draft of Vessels); drafting a plan for a “senior buddies” program* in which people from the community volunteer to visit a senior in her/his home once a week and to help with basic day to day tasks, such as grocery shopping, running errands, or taking out the trash; submitting grant applications to deepen the work we began creating over the summer when visual artist Santos Contreras and I led an art and storytelling workshop to help the seniors transition from their meal site at Holy Family Catholic Church to the new center.

Las Flores de Carlos

The timing for reengagement is perfect. This Saturday at Albuquerque’s 516 ARTS, Santos unveils “Here-Stories: A Collective Look at Place and Time,” his multimedia sculpture based on our work with the seniors, as part of the exhibition Latino/a Visual Imaginary: Intersection of Word & Image, curated by Dr. Holly Barnet-Sanchez. The sculpture incorporates the seniors’ handwritten stories and photographs, collected during the workshop, and commemorates the elders’ histories and their present lives, as well as the community of Atrisco where they live. The opening reception takes place at 516 ARTS, 516 Central Avenue SW in Albuquerque, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Santos is one of ten established and emerging Latino/a artists whose work will appear in the exhibition, which focuses on the intricate links between Latino arts and literature and their importance as expressions of human values. It runs through May 14.

Henry and I will be there Saturday with the kiddos and some of the elders who participated in the workshop. We hope to see you!

*Launching in late March. Stay tuned!

Tune in Tuesday, February 22 for the conclusion of “What Now?”

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Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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