As you head downstairs to the lower level of the University Center, a surprise awaits you at Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus library.
In the middle of the library are the remains of the National Bank of Arizona vault. Preserved within the library space, the vault now known as the “Vault Gallery” offers a rotating collection of local artists that delight and inspire patrons and visitors.
In collaboration with CALACA Cultural Center, the ASU Library announces the opening of a new exhibit at the Vault Gallery.
“Print and Ink: Expressions through Images” features artists drawing upon Chicano and Indigenous life experiences, cultural expressions and identities. The exhibit opens June 3 and runs through Aug. 12, featuring pieces by Martin Moreno, Jose Benavides, Emily Costello, Cristina Cardenas, Marco Albarrán, Monica Gisel, and Jesus Cruz Jr.
Co-curated by Jackie Young, user services specialist at ASU Library, and Marco Albarrán, collections and exhibit planning manager with the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, the featured artworks are vibrant, energetic and tell a story.
Partnering with CALACA and community
CALACA was founded in 2003, and through cultural experiences, community involvement and partnerships works to preserve and promote Chicano and Indigenous art. The organization has been integral for the arts community. Albarrán brought Chicano and Indigenous artists into the Vault Gallery who hail from throughout Arizona and the Southwest and who have been active printmaking practitioners.
“My personal goal as a curator is to offer art to our Downtown Phoenix campus community that educates as well as is reflective of the larger artistic community and population of this region,” Young said. “The Vault Gallery particularly has a mission of showcasing the work of the ASU community, and the collaboration with Marco was a perfect fit with our gallery’s mission.”
Finding human connections to voices within communities
The printing processes used by the artists also lend to the themes portrayed in the work and the shared inspiration.
“For many of the artists, family, community and cultural histories connect them all to a selected creative process, which makes this exhibit selection unique,” Albarrán said. “One particular image that really caught my attention was ‘Recuerdos de mi Abuela,’ a collaborative piece made by Emily Costello and Janet Diaz. This piece reminded me of my own experiences with my grandmothers, and my connections to them.”
Young echoed the sentiment: “I hope the artwork helps our community to see how family, cultural traditions, history, place and other factors influence artistic visions. I believe these works of art enrich and inform the fabric of our community and our state."
Every visitor will find a piece that inspires them.
“All of the pieces inspire me in different ways when I am in different moods,” Young said. “Perhaps my favorite is Christina Cardenas’ ‘La Virgen de los Pescados’ ('The Virgin of the Fish') because of the vivid colors, the use of mythology and how she draws on her experiences as a Mexican immigrant living in Tucson; that work in particular just grabs me and commands my attention every time I walk by it and I see something in it I hadn’t seen before.”
Experience ‘Print and Ink’ in downtown Phoenix
In time to kick off June’s First Friday celebrations, the opening reception for “Print and Ink” takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 3. Enjoy light refreshments and conversation with the artists and curators.
For Vault Gallery hours, visit https://lib.asu.edu/downtown.
For questions about the Vault Gallery or Downtown Phoenix campus library exhibits, contact Jackie Young. “Print and Ink” will be on view until Aug. 12.
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