About the original project

Institute for Diversity in the Arts

Project Synopsis

A Record of the Times: The Narrative of Chican@/Latin@ Stanford

Project led by Judy Baca

Coalescence and Momentum: two words that most aptly circumscribe the art making process undertaken by Judy Baca and her students during the 2005-06 IDA offering. Coalescence because the process brought together all of the stakeholders of Stanford's Chican@/Latin@ community. Momentum, owing to the efforts surrounding the mural project which reinvigorated the community and provided a new impetus for community awareness and action.

IDA embarked on a project much larger in scope than those of years past. In anticipation of Judy Baca's commission and because IDA had a sense of Judy's art making process, community leaders from CHALE, Casa Zapata, El Centro Chicano, and IDA met in September of 2005 to plan what would become a year-long collaborative, feeding into the Judy Baca IDA course. Chicanos and Latinos in Education (CHALE), a student organization, initiated an archiving and time-lining project of Chicanos/Latinos on campus years before. Their archive was the cornerstone piece of the IDA efforts. In turn, IDA would provide more human and technical resources toward the expansion of the archive. The Resident Fellows and student staff at Casa Zapata formed part of the coalition as well. In the Autumn quarter, the dormitory hosted a class of weekly speakers and panels of faculty, alumni, scholars, and artists who provided a vivid texture to the timeline of events the CHALE archive documented. Students who attended the speaker series were asked to research a self-selected aspect of the Chicano/Latino narrative at Stanford and submit their findings to the archive.
[sic picture of RFs or thumbnails of participants]

Winter quarter would gather more momentum for the Chicano archive and mural. In this quarter, the staff at El Centro Chicano organized the weekly speaker series and supported the archive project. Highlights of the two quarters of speakers included some of the first Chicano faculty, the first Resident Fellow of Casa Zapata, Chican@ muralists, the founders of some of the students organizations, and a panel of student activists who embarked on a hunger strike that resulted in the creation of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford.

Judy Baca arrived, as did some of her staff from Los Angeles' Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). The IDA class commenced and the team that would support Judy Baca in a more focused way was assembled. The team included 10 students, ranging from first year students to graduate students. From the outset, it was clear that the students brought with them a variety of skills and perspectives as well as an array of familiarity with visual arts.

[sic picture of Judy Baca]

A survey of the 10-week process guided by Judy Baca displays an effective and proven method of community mural making championed by the artist. The course began with an assessment of team strengths and then a decision that the team would divide in two, one responsible for continuing the timeline and research while the other would organize the information on a website and in a multimedia format. Teams notwithstanding, the entire class was responsible for an analysis of the entire body of research and a subsequent translation of the predominant metaphors into artistic proposals. Meanwhile, Judy familiarized the class with mural making by immersing the students in the classic work of renowned Mexican muralists, surveying the vast landscape of campus murals, and walking the class through many of the murals she herself directed. Students were also capacitated around digital imaging computer software, film editing, web editing, and mural design. It was decided that the website created out of the class would document
1) the art-making process of the class;
2) a exhibition of the murals located around the campus (which, as of then, had never before been compiled, displayed, or organized); and
3) the timeline and images of benchmark moments in Chicano/Latino history at Stanford from decades past.
[sic Thumbnails of 1,2,3 ]

[sic modify this text --> ] The site can be viewed at cronicas.stanford.edu. Alumni and others who visit the site can update the timeline and imagery by uploading their stories and pictures and thereby enhancing the narrative inscribed by Chicanos at Stanford.

Alumni have been part of this process from the beginning. They not only have been solicited for their stories (many gave interviews, participated on panels, submitted stories and photos, and attended the events) but have been organizing to support the mural, the website, and the larger Chicano/Latino community into the future.

The culmination for the class was a showcase, where the student artistic creations, a three-screen documentary of Stanford's Chicano/Latino history, and proposals for the mural site were on display. More than 300 individuals attended. Since that event and after the class, visits to the website have grown exponentially, university trustees have come forth to support the campaign, faculty and staff committees have been formed to further the initiated work of Judy and her team, and the larger university community has a new resource for understanding itself as an institution. The design of the mural, the supervision of the archive, and the conscientiousness growth of the campus continues today.

IDA's theme this year was "Creative Works, Creating Change". The resultants of the Judy Baca project, Coalescence and Momentum, are fitting products under IDA's auspices. Bringing together every sector of the Chicano/Latino community and sparking new momentum were the hallmarks of the Judy Baca Mural project.

Development of this website was made possible by a grant from Stanford Associates.