Press: Giving Graduating Artists a Head Start

From BU today:

  Kahn Award winners Josué Rojas (from left), Ivana Jasova, and Courtney Lynn Nelson will each receive $10,000 to help them transition into professional artistic careers. Photo by Dan Aguirre

 

Kahn Award winners Josué Rojas (from left), Ivana Jasova, and Courtney Lynn Nelson will each receive $10,000 to help them transition into professional artistic careers. Photo by Dan Aguirre

“I am a product of community arts,” says Rojas. “I wouldn’t be doing it had someone not taken the time to give a kid a bucket of paint and a wall.”

He credits the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center in the Mission District of San Francisco with helping him find his path. A native of El Salvador, he came to California with his mother and three older brothers when he was just a toddler. His introduction to painting came at a fortuitous time: he was 15, and his father, who had remained in El Salvador, died that year.

“I grew up not knowing much of my origins, just a little bit, food and culture,” says Rojas. “Through the arts I was able to find a lot of my own history and origins. So storytelling on the walls via murals really appealed to me. I learned a lot from that.”

Ample evidence of his explorations could be found in his cheerfully cluttered 808 Commonwealth Avenue studio: pictures that blend traditional painting with elements of collage, cartoons, and street art. He has returned to Central America for public art projects, and in Boston, he led a School of Visual Arts partnership with Roxbury Prep Charter Middle School students, teachers, and staff to create a 175-foot street-side mural at the school.

Now Rojas wants to give back, through teaching and community and public art programs, what art has given him.

“I want to tell stories, stories of Americans, international stories, and transnational stories,” he says. “I think it’s important right now, in our era of globalization, for us to understand ourselves and understand other people, those who are interested in coming here and those who are not. As the world is becoming more connected, it’s important to know who we’re connecting with and how we relate.”

see the full article here

Source: http://http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/giving...