It has always been important that my teaching and art-making practice is relevant to the communities in which I work. I started the street art workshops as an experiment with this idea, and because I knew it would allow me to engage with people and communities I might not otherwise through a school or organizational program. What excites me most about this project is the art and ideas that come from literally taking these workshops to the streets.
As a Mexican male, my presence and intentions in public spaces is sometimes questioned. My street workshops provide an opportunity for various people in the community to engage with me as a visual artist and teacher. Through this engagement, I share with them resources in the community, opportunities for artmaking in neighborhood organizations, and possible projects we can generate together through participation and support. The people in the community likewise share project ideas they would like to see, concerns I should address, people I should work with, and spaces I should access. The Mobile Street Art Cart will make this work more accessible to the communities I work with and to neighborhoods within a 5 mile radius from Little Village.
The Mobile Street Art Cart will be designed to function on the sidewalk and have the capability to be pushed by a person or pulled by a bike. I have studied Mexican ice cream carts and food vendor carts in Little Village to assist in the development of a design, and I have identified a bike fabricator and carpenter to assist with the construction. The cart will be colorful, easy to maneuver, pedal-powered, light to transport, and have plenty of storage for art materials. It will have a metal chassis with a wooden box, plenty of compartments for storage, and two collapsible tables built in.
Building the Mobile Street Art Cart will achieve the following: 1) Provide free art projects with people on the streets in their neighborhoods; 2) Address issues relevant to the community; 3) Create a temporary space where the community and I can talk about art and its impact on our communities, and 4) Share resources to support artmaking and community-building.