Dancing, marching and learning: Museum-goers become part of the art


Museum goers enjoy participatory art on the Eastside. (Fernanda Hernandez/Community News)

As they carried signs reading “tierra y libertad” – “land and liberty” — children marched through hallways and airy rooms donning colorful outfits adorned with bells made of crushed bottle caps.

This wasn’t your average museum art exhibit.

This performance art piece was the brainchild of Victoria Delgadillo and Raul Baltazar, who wanted to create participatory art as part of the “Children of the Sun” event at East Los Angeles College’s Vincent Price Art Museum on a recent Saturday.

The day was filled with activities such as a silk screening class, a Flamenco dance class and a song circle. The point, for some artists, was to provide the local community new ways of experiencing art.

Tania Rodriguez, a mother of two, said she and her family members enjoyed the Flamenco class.

“It was learning something new, a new style of dance…and being able to participate in it with my entire family,” said Rodriguez, who lives near Cal State LA. “We always try to support the things that are happening here in the community…and whenever there [are] free events that are related to art and are educational we try to come.”

Flamenco instructor Briseyda Zarate said she enjoyed teaching the class: “I had an amazing time with the students, they were children and they were adults, and just from the looks on their faces and…their smiles I can tell that they were really enjoying learning Flamenco dance.”

The procession of children wearing “ayoyotes,” or shell rattles, was tied to a collaborative exhibition at the museum, “Regeneración: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology.”

It was the first time the museum linked an exhibition to one of its community activities, said Pilar Tompkins, the museum director.

The museum showcases a diverse range of art, including works that may not be considered consumer-friendly.

“I do art that doesn’t sell” well because of its strong political statements, Delgadillo said, explaining why she’s especially appreciative of the museum.

Another artist, Soraya Medina, said it’s a chance for her to start a conversation about the food everyday people consume. The focus of her workshop was coffee and bread, and she gave tips such as, “I always say if you are eating something in a package and it has more ingredients than mole, don’t eat it.”

The exhibition is on the second floor of the museum until Feb. 16.

Community News reporters are enrolled in JOUR 3910 – University Times. They produce stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to [email protected].