Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Reader,

We had another stellar 516 WORDS last night, with five strong female voices chiming in to create a complementary dialogue to the current exhibition, Latino/a Visual Imaginary: Intersection of Word and Image.

The reading showcased voices new to 516 ARTS, as well as some mainstays and true heartbeats in the larger literary community. As usual, the beautiful exhibition not only served as fabulous fierce-tongued backdrop (literally), but was also both a point of intersection and a point of departure for the reading—creating an inclusive and expansive evening that represented five voices contributing to the New Mexico literary community.

A packed house heard from Maria Leyba, long-time resident of Barelas with gripping narratives who has been inspiring poets in the Albuquerque scene for years (myself included), plus Cathy Arellano, a beautiful-hearted and insightful Latina lesbian who finds resonance between San Francisco’s Mission District and Albuquerque’s South Valley, as well as Georgia Santa Maria, an anglo whose writing has been influenced by the Latina/Latino communities of the Pecos valley. The reading was framed with sets by Andrea Serrano and Jessica Helen Lopez, women who can only be described as pure powerhouses on today’s poetry scene. The reading made people laugh and think and laugh some more.

If you missed it, there are only two consolations. First, you can get on the mailing list for 516 ARTS so you’ll know when to catch the next 516 WORDS! And second, three of the women have forthcoming books! Andrea Serrano is working with Arts of Aztl├ín, Cathy Arellano with Momotombo Press, and Jessica Helen Lopez will have her book Always Messing with Them Boys out very soon from West End Press. Maria Leyba also has a new chapbook, the actual shape of which was inspired by the work of Juliette Torrez! (Anyone who remembers Albuquerque's poetry scene in the 1990s can appreciate and respect that name!)

It’s always an honor to help coordinate readings at 516 ARTS and I am happy that we have such a beautiful and gifted community and so much to celebrate. To read (and even to host a reading) amidst such amazing art is joy. Thanks everyone!

Lisa Gill
Sunday March 27th, 2011

Click here to see more photos of the event

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Latino/a Imaginary: Papel Picado Workshop

In conjunction with our latest exhibition, Latino/a Visual Imaginary: Intersection of Word and Image, artist Kai Margarida-Ramirez de Arellano led a hands-on workshop to introduce the traditional technique of papel picado - the 300 year old Mexican tradition of paper cutting. Arellano applies a contemporary take on papel picado in her own work, creating symbols and narratives relevant to her own life and experiences.

Kai Margarida-Ramirez de Arellano
Hand Milagro, 2010


The gallery buzzed with excitement for the chance to create an original papel picado with Kai's guidance.

Kai shows workshop goers an example of the more traditional presentation using a contemporary design.


Demonstrating how to properly line up and cut the template and tissue paper.


Workshop goers listen and prepare their own templates.



And the cutting begins!


Making progress!


Tiny pieces of paper everywhere!


Kai gives her advice on how to personalize a design.


Working hard, with Arellano's Juarez (2010) in the background.


Customizing the general template.


Beginning the finishing stages...


More people join in the finishing stages.


And success!