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Arizona Latin Arts and Culture (ALAC)
As the Downtown Phoenix arts community is growing it seems that there are more venues for artists than ever before. Although the centralized art spaces are located in the Roosevelt District, there is a new space in town that aims to expand with fury. The Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center is located on 147 East Adams St and is the only dedicated gallery in the midst of the sky risers of downtown. The ALAC introduced Galeria 147 December 4th on First Friday hosting multiple gallery spaces and a consignment shop selling local art. There are two exhibits currently showing in three conjoining rooms that will be up until the first week of March. Members say the space has big plans of adding a dance studio, a children's art hallway, and more gallery space in the coming months.
The "Celebrating the Art of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Roses" is a show exploring different artistic interpretations of the iconic image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a figure comparable to the Christian Virgin Mary. The exhibit is in a small room in the back past the bathrooms, and you might miss it if you blink. The collection of 15 works ranges in style and medium. Some included digital prints, traditional oil painting and a mural shrine that is decadently built with wood, beads, and cloth. Sad to say but many of the pieces were mislabeled. Although the range of style was evidently pronounced, the imagery of the Virgin was not disrupted. The majority of the pieces held the same iconic frame that so many other images already have. This show was basically a survey of different variations of the same image with only a few pieces actually pushing the boundaries of the metaphorical qualities of religious icons.
In the front of Galeria 147 there is a collection of 40 artists and 53 works of art covering the walls of two rooms. This exhibit creates a nice flow of visual pleasure as the vibrant paintings lead you around, while still being anchored by a 7+ foot sculpture in the center. Don't turn your back on these installation pieces because they might react! The second room contains a wide selection of colorful and symbolic references to Latino culture and everyday life in a Latino community. The treatment of form and shape inherit many qualities from Mayan and Incan art with linear figure profiles and highly saturated primary and secondary colors. This selection clearly advocates the Latino culture through the carefully selected art works.
Local law enforcement find their way into one of the key paintings which serves as a dialogue about the political climate that Latinos face in Phoenix. In "Crucifixion", by Ramon Delgadillo, the issue of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is portrayed through oil on canvas by a white male police officer pointing a gun at a Latina inmate. The defenseless female inmate is on their knees with their hands out. She is positioned in a classic Mayan profile with a gold halo around her head, which is a historical icon for martyrdom. The background is a flat and bright orange that references a typical jailhouse jumpsuit. The figures contain no shading and minimal variation in tone. The highly illustrative approach to line gives it a very stark message. The poppy stylized use of color and shape comment on the metaphorical interpretations surrounding Sheriff Joe's publicized political campaign bent on criminalizing Latino culture through the media. I left with a greater understanding of what it means to be a Latino in Phoenix. This work of art is a prime example of what the ALAC aims to accomplish: to increase knowledge and understanding of the Latino lifestyle/struggle through art.
For more information about the ALAC, Advocates for Latino Arts and Culture, stop by at 147 East Adams Street, Downtown Phoenix. You can also visit their website at www.alacaz.org
147 E. Adams St.
Downtown Phoenix, 85004
Open 9am-5pm M-F