Tag Archives: Visual Arts

‘Black and Center’ — Collaboration, Color, and Care

by Jasmine J Mahmoud


Election anxiety marked my beginning of last month. Like many others, I grew fixated on the results trickling in state by state, county by county, block by block across the week. That first November week felt endless, for lack of sleep and newly emerging, quickly chronic, routines. At midnight, and 3 a.m., and 5 a.m., I refreshed electoral maps of Georgia and Pennsylvania. With daylight, I watched television news on mute, while working on my laptop. At all hours, the buzz of “breaking news” kept my body on alert. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were finally confirmed on November 7, unfamiliar feelings of relief and elation emerged, nevertheless battling existing currents of anxiety and dread. Last week, I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my partner, thinking about the atrocities hidden by that holiday including stolen Indigenous land. 

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Visual Artist Juan Alonso-Rodríguez Finds Wellspring of Creativity in Pandemic Chaos

by Beverly Aarons


What happens when physical distancing, gallery closures, and solitude leave an artist alone in his studio for weeks during one of the world’s most frightening pandemics? In the case of visual artist Juan Alonso-Rodríguez you get introspection, reflection, wisdom born from a deep well of life experience, and a brand new body of colorful and lively work. If you didn’t watch the news and somehow ended up in social media “jail,” peeking through the door of his studio you wouldn’t know there was a pandemic. You would find a solitary man intensely focused on his craft — prepping canvases, applying paint, and contemplating the work at hand. You would also find the tools of a visual artist’s trade filling tables and shelves, finished work expertly hung on walls, and the buzz of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood just beyond the windows. When I spoke with Juan about his experience during this COVID-19 crisis, he was calm and even upbeat as he mentioned being more focused on making this time one of creativity and not just anxiety and fear.

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