Veronica Alvarez appointed as Director of CalArts Community Arts PartnershipMai Nguyen Do July 20, 2019 1 COMMENT
Arts educator Veronica Alvarez was recently appointed as the new Director of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Community Arts Partnership, a program that provides free arts education to youth in Los Angeles County, including students enrolled in Santa Clarita’s local school districts.
As a formerly undocumented immigrant from Cotija, Mexico, making art accessible to students has been a priority for Alvarez since before she started working in arts education. Research for her doctoral dissertation, Art Museums and Latino English Learners: Teaching Artists in the K-8 Classroom, showed that students of color benefit from arts education the most, but often their access is the most limited.
“It’s a social justice issue,” Alvarez said. “The arts are underfunded and are seen as a nonessential part of education.”
Previously, Alvarez served as Director of School and Teacher Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and as an education consultant for the University of California Los Angeles Fowler Museum and Chicano Studies Research Center. She has also worked at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Art, Loyola Marymount University’s Family of Schools and the State Department of Cultural Affairs in Chiapas, Mexico.
“[Alvarez] has worked closely with a wide range of diverse communities,” CalArts Provost Tracie Costantino said. “She comes to CalArts with extensive experience in education, curriculum development and arts education.”
During her tenure at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Alvarez used storytelling and original artifacts to educate students about Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures. She hopes to use her background in arts education and her experience with underserved students to extend the impact of the CalArts Community Partnership Program further into the greater Los Angeles area.
“Humans need to create,” Alvarez said. “When you create, you say so much about you, your culture and about the time you are living.”
Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.