2022 Mid-Career Project Grantee | $10,000
Second Shift Community Mural Workshop
Constanza Carballo and Second Shift Studio Space initiated partnership to create a community-driven 10-foot by 15-foot mural on an exterior wall of their building that is frequently vandalized with racial slurs. The Payne Ave neighborhood has increasingly become culturally diverse, through community engagement the project took a new direction and the mural found a new home at House of Payne. Through this project, they endeavor to 1) strengthen connections between Payne Avenue neighborhoods, and 2) give hands-on experience to two aspiring muralists—Lynda Acosta and Carlota Gay—on how to center community in creative placemaking.
Currently, the House of Payne mural art is in the final design stage. Lead artist Constanza Carbollo and guest artists, including Claudia Valentino, have collectively worked on a final draft design that includes the feedback from the community engagement process that was key to this mural project. During the community engagement process three of the guest artists were increasing their capacity by engaging in peer-to-peer development. Each artist has a time and space to share a unique skill or capacity to the other artists involved. By these informal practices the entire team elevates itself and comes out better equipped as the project finalizes.
As of early July 2022, the artists are looking to work on mural design projection, tracing it on polytab to be painted the week of July 11. The artists will paint for at least a week and then will prepare the polytabs for the wall. The end of the mural process will come through the end of August, when they will gear up for installation (polytabs go onto the wall and overpainting) in the first week of September.
Constanza Carballo is best known for turning acrylic paintings as well as murals into voice pieces that highlight the marginalized. Inspired by her own bicultural and bilingual upbringing as an immigrant in the south Minneapolis Philips community, Constanza began painting murals at the age of 13 and has since been recognized as a statement maker. Her art, a form of community activism, has travelled through Latin America, Europe, and throughout the U.S. Here in Minnesota, she has brought fellow women artists together internationally and locally through large scale community events to celebrate International Women’s Day and specifically bringing attention to the inequalities women face in all sectors of society including economic, political, workforce, healthcare, and education. Her most recent physical art series; the Monarchildren, gives specific importance to the ongoing crisis at the border, where migrant families are separated, and children are in cages. The series depicts real images of children facing these tragedies as monarchs, while telling the story of actual monarchs who travel every year during their famous migration. The idea is simple, yet forgotten; in(migración) es natural; im(migration) is natural.
Born in Argentina, Carlota Gay is a Medical Doctor and exploring the areas of art. In 2021 Carlota applied for a SEMAC grant as an emerging artist. SEMAC accepted their proposal. Women Through Their Eyes is a solo exhibition featuring a series of watercolor portraits accompanying a singular acrylic painting on polytab fabric (45in by 73in). The collection of female faces represents a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, portraying women from many backgrounds and walks of life with a signature style. From imagined characters to representations directly inspired by real women, this body of work invokes a gamut of sensations and stories through their evocative faces and oversized eyes. The solo exhibit will be at Rochester Art Center July 13 through October 4, 2022.
“In the process of writing and developing the ideas for the grant I needed an artist that could help me take my small (12 by 12 inches) watercolor paintings to a larger scale. I needed a muralist. The Rochester Art Center suggested a list of muralists in the region (SE MN). I chose to contact Constanza Carballo first for various reasons. When I saw her work I noticed her talent and found her pieces to be colorful and unique. She also shares my social values. Over the last few months I had the opportunity to learn from Constanza, and she has given me ideas and guidelines on how to create large scale art. The connection between St. Paul and Rochester has been created, and will not stop on this project of mine. It has opened a door of opportunities for me and hopefully for other artists in the area as well. The impact of working with Constanza Carballo has been huge for me. She has invited me to paint part of a mural on Payne Avenue on the East side of St. Paul, for which I am extremely grateful. I will paint the eyes of Mr. George Floyd’s Mother. It is an honor that I will approach with vigor and inspiration.”
Claudia Valentino is a full-time muralist, mother, friend and community advocate who specializes in community driven art and a co-founder of COPLA LLC, Claudia Valentino is a natural organizer of projects, spaces, and people that thrives on fostering inclusive, multicultural, and positive team environments. Running a community arts studio dedicated to helping Latinx and other artists thrive in Minnesota’s artistic economy. The daughter of parents who were exiled by dictatorships in South America, she was born in Mexico, grew up in Argentina and Chile, and has been living in the United States for over a decade. Skilled communicator in Spanish and English who is adept at teaching skills development to colleagues, projects participants, volunteers and curious folks of all ages. From her initial educational formation in Documentary Photography, Claudia has crafted a way to open up the space for questions surrounding identity, belonging, and social justice are the defining themes of her life and artistic practice. Her first community driven works with Semilla Center (mosaic) at Stone’s Throw Urban Farm With her 10 years of experience making murals in the community brings various innovative practices from the professionals directly into our communities. With her multifaceted formation and her fast pace, hands-on professional years of practice she combines a package of skills that can range from; project management, solo artist work, small to large scale projects and community leadership. She has been awarded several grants for mid-career artists, including from Forecast Public Art and the Walker Arts Center. In 2019 she was invited to participate in the ChromaZone Mural Festival in Saint Paul, MN. She was also selected to develop a 4,000 square foot mural for Power of Vision: Mural on the Ave, in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Hope Community, and Project for Pride and Living In her own words “El arte es la herramienta en que el pueblo, el barrio, la esquina expresan colectivamente sus emociones” (“Art is the tool which the people, the neighborhood or block can collectively express their emotions”).
Lynda Acosta is a visual artist graduated from UNIAJC in Cali, Colombia. Lynda belonged to the Semilleros de Investigación Arte & Espacios, and Alografía of that institution, developing research and creation projects where she had the opportunity to be one of the cartoonists in two graphic novel projects that won creation grants: Cielo Rojo (2017) and Ciudad Perdida Vol. Hermanos Menores (2019). Her graduation project Aguablanca, un Barrio de Historias (2019), obtained a laureate mention and with which she obtained her BA in art (2020). Her first collective international exhibition was at the MCAD Art Sale, Migani Mirror (2019) for a graphic representation of the graphic novel Dos Aldos, by Cohete Comics. She was part of the collective exhibition The Land Within Us (2022) at Fresh Eye Gallery, curated by Alondra Garza. Lynda has been interested in interventions in public space, such as her participation in the first Day of the Dead Parade on Lake Street, exhibiting her Linocuts We Belong to the World and Lake Street Is… (2021), in local Latino businesses; and, recently, in her collaboration for the production of the mosaic for the mural “Los Ancestros” (2022) managed by Copla Murals, a group of which she is currently a member.
“For me, being part of this mural means a lot because Payne Ave is my neighborhood, it is the area where I go to buy my food, have a coffee or the route I take to go for a walk to the park, so my participation in this wall It makes me feel more connected to this place and it will allow me to leave a grain of sand for my community and learn a little more about it. I am happy to be part of the transformation and growth of Payne Ave, because this mural will mean a great change for this neighborhood and perhaps it will inspire the creativity of the community and the growth of the commercial corridor that is so large that the area has.”
The McKnight Foundation generously enables Forecast to provide Professional Development Grants for mid-career artists seeking to expand their work in the field of public art. Forecast mid- and early-career grants are designed to support independent projects, leadership development, professional development, risk-taking, multidisciplinary approaches, and collaborative problem-solving in the field of public art.