Las Maestras Center — La Visión y Esperanza
The vision of Las Maestras Center (LMC) is generated from the painterly and performative impulses of our first (Meso)American literatures and informed by a contemporary indigenous -identified feminist Xicana perspective. Our multi-disciplinary programming blends visual, performance and literary arts to inform an aesthetic and a directed intention in the creative process, which return artists to their home cultures and contemporary communities of common cause.
The Center endeavors to cultivate writer -artists with a public voice that emphasizes process on the road to product; explores ‘off-book’ sites of learning (as well as books); encourages embodied art practice; considers the role of geography and land as the holders of ancestral and historical memory; engages intergenerational exchange with elder (off-campus) teachers and spiritual practitioners; explores ways in which knowledge is transmitted orally through story -telling and ceremonial engagement; honors intuitive and implicate knowledges; considers the location of queer (two -spirit) and female sites of consciencia; and, understands traditional ritual structures taking place within the natural environment as avenues toward knowledge and the health of our pueblos.
As UC Santa Bárbara is now a “Hispanic” serving Institution, (a misnomer by virtue of our Indigenous American antecedents), we are enthusiastically responding in kind. Our task, as we see it, is to help Latinx communities come to remember and acknowledge their origins through the act of art making and critical collective thought; and to do so in concert with the native peoples of this region, the Chumash, as well as the greater area of California peoples. In our many decades of teaching and art practice, we have witnessed over and over again, that through public pedagogy, young people become empowered to create a literature, a theater, a visual rendering and a daily social practice that counters the impoverishment and cultural amnesia of globalization. It’s the most and best that we, as Maestras and artists, have to give.
-Cherríe Moraga and Celia Herrera Rodríguez