BEST PRACTICE is excited to recommence with programming by announcing our next exhibition, Voz Alta: Time & Space, opening September 11th, 2020.
Voz Alta: Time & Space is the foundational stage of collecting and archiving stories from poets, artists, musicians, and activists from the grassroots project space, Voz Alta. Throughout its run, the exhibition organizers seek to collect oral histories of the displacement of the space due to gentrification while also revisiting artworks and special memories in its three different locations, and the energy folks poured into the project space to support it throughout the years.
Voz Alta: Time & Space is organized and curated by Southern California-based artist noé olivas. As a former intern of Voz Alta, olivas is interested in reviving these histories alongside his art practice of community healing and engagement.
The exhibition will take form as a video installation at BEST PRACTICE, while additionally functioning as a project space for the interviews and performances that will take place. The oral history videos produced from the exhibition will also be accessible to the public on various online platforms. The stories will be guided by Carlos Beltran, photographer and facilitator of the last location of Voz Alta in the historical Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, and Stephanie de la Torre, community member, poet, and a board member of the first and second locations in Downtown San Diego. Invited media artist, Evan Apapodaca, will be translating these oral stories into short narrative films.
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Voz Alta was an independent art space in San Diego, CA from 2000-2014. “One of the things about Voz Alta is that it was an art space run by artists, mid-career, new, rough, professional. When that ended it felt like the end of an era of how we were presenting art,” says founder Stephanie de la Torre. Voz Alta hosted many renowned visual artists, poets, musicians, thinkers, and performers including singer Lila Downs, poet Reg E. Gaines, the band Prayers, poet Willie Perdomo, poet Lizz Huerta, percussionist Jose Luis Quintana, painter Ricardo Islas, and painter Acamonchi amongst many others.
Over the course of their 15 years, Voz Alta moved to three different locations due to rent hikes and eminent domain. “We started on 917 E. Street. We knew Petco Park was coming and we kind of held out. It was a 500 square foot space. We paid $600 a month. But when the ballpark came we got hit with higher rent and so we had to move and moving for us was a challenge because we couldn’t find anything we could afford,” says de la Torre. The Petco Park stadium was one the biggest reasons for their first relocation.
In 2014, Voz Alta had to close the doors of its last location in Barrio Logan, a historic neighborhood in San Diego. “You know so many businesses feel that, you’re not just losing your business or your space, but you're also losing all the families that are attached to it.” Carlos Beltran reflects on inquiring about renting the space on 1754 National Ave. in Barrio Logan, “We went and looked at it and I called the landlord. He asks, 'what would it be called?' and I said, 'well it already has a name, it’s called Voz Alta Project,' and the only thing he said was, 'Carlos let's open Voz Alta Project. Get over here.'"
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noé olivas is a Southern California-based artist. Through printmaking, sculpture, and performance, he investigates the poetics of labor. He considers the relationship between labor as it fits into the conceptions of femininity and masculinity in order to play with and reshape cultural references, narratives, myths, traditions, and objects, ultimately employing a new meaning. olivas received his BA in Visual Arts from the University of San Diego and his MFA in Art from the University of Southern California. He lives and works in South Central, Los Angeles, CA.
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Carlos Beltran was born and raised between San Diego and Tijuana. His family has deep roots in both cities giving him a unique perspective as a binational San Diegan. Music and art were consistent backdrops in his life as he drew inspiration from friends who were artists. His love of photography and storytelling came together after taking several photography classes at Southwestern College in Chula Vista starting in 1995. Since then he has spent two decades documenting artists and musicians throughout California and Mexico.
In the early 2000s (for reasons better left unsaid; dates and show names are a blur) he participated in his first group art show alongside local artists Ricardo Islas and Chikle. That show planted the seed of participating and curating art shows that led to his eventual opening of the 3rd evolution of Voz Alta in 2008: Voz Alta Project in Barrio Logan.
As a curator, he has brought together music and art to create dynamic group and solo art shows, while cultivating local young talent and allowing space for music and dance workshops and performances. He has collaborated on projects with musicians and artists such as: South Bay Rumba/Reg e Gaines/Bill Caballero/Chaguito (Cuba)/Jose Luis Quintana (Cuba)/ Adrian Terrazas (Mexico)/ Los Sonics (Veracruz, MX)/Taluna (Italy)/Bomba Liberte/Dante Loaiza/Ted Washington/Sergio Hernandez/Ricardo Islas/Chikle/Irma Patricia Aguayo and many more…
Although the physical space of Voz Alta closed in 2014, Carlos has continued to curate shows in San Diego and Tijuana at spaces such as La Bodega Gallery, Bread & Salt, Por Vida Coffee, and Casa del Tunel (Tijuana). As a busy father of three, he continues to surround his life with art and music, and is always looking for ways to bring together his love for art, music, motorcycles, photography, and family.
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Evan Apodaca is a media artist based in San Diego, CA. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and is the director of Que Lejos Estoy: Picturing Assimilation, an animated documentary, which streamed nationally through PBS and received over 328 thousand views. In 2018, Apodaca was the recipient of the Creative Catalyst grant from The San Diego Foundation and was the Associate Producer and Animator for “Singing My Way to Freedom,” an award winning feature documentary about musician and civil-rights activist Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. Evan's films have also screened at film festivals and museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Chicano International Film Festival (LA), the Tijuana Film and Food Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. In 2013 Evan was a resident artist for the International Symposium of Electronic Arts in Taos, New Mexico.