Laguna Art Museum presents Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50

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Laguna Art Museum presents Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50
Patssi Valdez, The Dressing Table, 1988. Silkscreen on paper, twelve colors, 37 1/2 x 25 inches. Gift of Charlie Miller and Muse- um Purchase with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, 1992.

LAGUNA BEACH, CA.- Laguna Art Museum is currently hosting Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50. Over the past 50 years, Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) has grown to become one of the leading initiators of the creation of Chicana/o/x and Latinx art in the world. It has also played a substantial role in advancing printmaking in Southern California and beyond by engaging with hundreds of artists and fostering networks of collaborative opportunities. Laguna Art Museum is proud to have a significant collection of prints produced at Self Help Graphics & Art between the organization’s foundation in 1983 and 1992, when these works came into the museum’s collection.

In celebration of Self Help Graphics & Art’s momentous 50th anniversary, Laguna Art Museum will present the largest selection of works by SHG artists from the museum’s collection to date. Curated by Guest Curator Rochelle Steiner, Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50 offers a contemporary look at the earliest works and themes that have initiated countless discussions and collaborations at the heart of Chicana/o/x art making in the region and beyond.

"It has been an incredible opportunity to see these remarkable prints, consider the political undercurrents that informed them and engage with artists, curators and scholars who continue to push forward this innovative art-making that demonstrates political relevance and community engagement today,” said Rochelle Steiner, guest curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition invites visitors to consider the role Self Help Graphics & Art has played in forging strong connections between art, community, social justice efforts and the power and resilience of Chicana/o/x and Latinx artists working in Southern California over the past 50 years."

Founded in a garage in East Los Angeles by Sister Karen Boccalero, a Franciscan nun, working alongside artists and other collaborators, Self Help Graphics & Art has remained consistently focused over the past 50 years primarily on printmaking, offering workshops based on the idea of teaching anyone to learn and inviting people to come and make art. Throughout the formative years, SHG and artists associated with the collective set up a photography studio as well as community outreach programs, including the Barrio Art Mobile which featured photography and silkscreen classes and workshops for numerous students and adults throughout Southern California.

The Experimental Screen-print Atelier program, launched in 1983, answered the need for career development by a community of artists who engaged with Self Help Graphics & Art. These prints and hundreds of others were produced through annual Atelier programs and were available to the public and then made their way into museum collections.

Today, Self Help Graphics & Art, is dedicated to nurturing the creation and advancement of new artworks by Chicana/o/x and Latinx artists, specializing in experimental and innovative printmaking techniques and various other visual art forms. Since its inception in 1973, the organization and associated artists have worked at the intersection of arts and social justice, providing a supportive environment that fosters creativity, community and professional development. Their commitment extends beyond borders, as they establish collaborations and partnerships nationwide and facilitate cultural exchanges on a global scale.

“We are proud to have a substantial collection of prints by artists who have worked at Self Help Graphics & Art and the 50th anniversary is a special opportunity to show them in Laguna Beach,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director, Laguna Art Museum. “These works are an important backbone of the Museum’s collection and part of our commitment to the artists and issues of our day."

Laguna Art Museum
Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50
August 19th, 2023 - January 15th, 2024

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