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Courtesy Washington & Lee University
Ricardo Ruiz, “La Envidiosa,” 2009.
Courtesy Washington & Lee University
Frank Romero, “City at Night.”
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Comedian Cheech Marin is a serious art collector.
Though most recognize him as half of the stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong, he’s demonstrated over the years through dramatic roles on shows like “Nash Bridges,” “Judging Amy” and “Lost” that there are dimensions to his art beyond raunchy humor.
As an aficionado of the Chicano art movement and a promoter of Mexican American artists, he’s as earnest as a college professor.
In fact, he’ll speak 5:30 p.m. Monday at Washington and Lee University about the topic during the opening of “Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection” in the university’s Staniar Gallery. On display until May 24, the show consists of 65 paintings by 26 painters.
Gallery director Clover Archer Lyle said that for those who can’t make it, Marin’s talk will be streamed live on line at https://new.livestream.com/wlu/cheech-marin.
Lyle and art history professor Andrea Lepage pursued a show from Marin’s collection to go along with Lepage’s class focused on Chicano and Chicana art.
Influenced by the murals of Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera, the Chicano art movement began in the 1960s as a way of calling attention to the political and social challenges faced by Mexican Americans.
“Marin’s collection featured a rich and diverse selection of both emerging and established artists,” Lepage wrote in an email. “Some of the artists featured, like Carlos Almaraz, Elsa Flores Almaraz, Diane Gamboa, Frank Romero … and Margaret Garcia, participated actively in the development of what Marin calls the Chicano School of Painting.”
Marin has been collecting Chicano art since the early 1980s. On his website, the comedian writes about the decision to use his celebrity status to call attention to what he saw as an under-appreciated and under-represented style of art.
“What became quickly apparent was they [the artists] were not getting any deserved recognition from museums and top-end galleries. They struggled and struggled for traction — as most artists do — but had no champion like other commercially successful artists. It doesn’t just magically happen. Maybe with my celebrity and finances I could be that champion, so I started with putting together a touring Chicano art exhibition.”
In 2002 Marin’s book about Chicano art, “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,” was published as the touring exhibition made its debut at the Smithsonian.
The use of the word “Chicano” is considered controversial, as the word has political associations. “Like its art, ‘Chicano’ is an evolutionary term,” Marin writes on his website. “Each generation has as much right to define what a Chicano is as any generation that came before them. One of the main aesthetic characteristics of Chicano is traditional Mexican meets contemporary America. It’s where they meet, influence each other, and create something totally new. That’s where Chicano identity is born.”
Marin’s talk was made possible with support from the Class of ’63 Scholars-in-Residence Fund, the student Contact Committee, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, Lepage wrote. Marin will spend Tuesday discussing his collection with Lepage’s art history students.
The Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall in the university’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. For more information, call 540-458-8861.
To read Marin’s article “The Art of Chicano Experience,” visit cheechmarin.com/2012/05/12/chicano-experience-art/.
Community High School in Roanoke has become a hub of writing-related activity, first with its well-attended series of themed monthly readings in the Liminal: Alternative Artspace gallery, organized by Cara Modisett, then with last month’s 48-Hour Novel Contest organized by Josh Chapman.
This week, Roanoke Regional Writers Conference founder Dan Smith joins the trend, launching a monthly series of free classes for writers.
The first class, “Ghost Writing for the Internet,” taught by Bonnie Cranmer and Sarah Beth Jones, takes place 6 p.m. Wednesday at Liminal.
Cranmer is a social media consultant who also has experience with ghost writing, while Jones is co-owner of Nary Ordinary Business Services in Floyd, a consulting service for micro-businesses.
At 6 p.m. May 22, Richmond writer and former Roanoke resident Karen Chase will lead “Blog to Book.” Chase will share her experiences using the blog she kept during a Paris visit as the basis for her self-published book “Bonjour 40.”
For more information, call Smith at 556-8510 or email him at email@example.com.
Young Artists Against Hunger
Feeding America Southwest Virginia will hold its first Young Artists Against Hunger event at 6:30 p.m. April 30 in Jefferson’s Center’s Shaftman Performance Hall.
Students from Virginia Western Community College, Hollins University, Burton School of Art and Technology and Virginia Tech have donated artwork to sell at the event. All proceeds benefit Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
A concert begins at 7:30 p.m., with college, high school and grade school students taking part. Acts include The Milberger Section Quartet, a jazz quartet of Salem and Roanoke high school students who met through the Jefferson Center’s Music Lab program; The Radford University Percussion Ensemble; pianist David Taylor, a senior at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista; the Roanoke College Children’s Choir; and Portland, Ore., singer/songwriter Delaney Gustafson, a Southern Virginia University junior.
Tickets are $17, $10 for students. According to Feeding America, each $17 ticket provides enough food for 68 meals.
Dance choreographer Bebe Miller, whose work has been performed across the United States and internationally, will spend a week in the New River Valley that will include a master class with Radford University dance students and a show at Virginia Tech.
Miller will also give a talked titled “Bebe Miller: Dancing at the Boundaries of Art and Technology” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in room 201 of Virginia Tech’s Theatre 101.
The free lecture is part of the ArtsFusion series presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, the new research center that will be housed inside the university’s Center for the Arts once construction is finished later this year.
Miller’s visit will end with a performance of her latest work, “A History,” by dancers Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones of the Bebe Miller Company.
Founded by Miller in 1985, the company is based in New York. The duet incorporates video that explores the creative process of dance.
The performance takes place 8 p.m. Friday in Squires Student Center’s Haymarket Theatre. Tickets are $30, senior citizens, faculty and staff $24, students and children 18 and under $10.
For more information, call 231-5615 or visit www.studentcenters.vt.edu/tickets/events.php.
On the Arts blog
Broadway in Roanoke and Roanoke Children’s Theatre have announced their 2013-14 performance seasons.
To get a preview of what’s coming up, visit blogs.roanoke.com/arts.
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