Unwinding The Labyrinth: Panel Discussion at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

    The quagmire of mass incarceration is not limited to those held captive in the maze of the correctional system. Join multimedia artist Sam Durant—whose work is influenced by American history, culture, and politics—and special guests Timothy Phillips (co-founder, Beyond Conflict), Maria Gaspar (founder and lead artist, 96 Acres), and filmmaker Darius Monroe for a conversation about the many new and innovative ways creative thinkers and leaders are challenging the public’s perception of mass incarceration and raising awareness about the ripple effect on society. Open Source curator Pedro Alonzo will moderate this panel discussion.

    Sponsored by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

    Saturday, October 17, 2015
    2:00pm 4:00pm
    Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
    118 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA, 19102


  • One State Together In The Arts Conference

    Presenter at "One State Together In The Arts" Conference

    As part of the biannual conference co-convened by Arts Alliance Illinois and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, One State is the only statewide, multidisciplinary conference for arts leaders and practitioners in Illinois. On September 28th, Maria Gaspar will present on her community engaged art practice alongside, Coya Paz, Artistic Director of Free Street Theatre.


  • Aesthetics and Social Justice: “Arresting Patterns” at ArtSpace

    Aesthetics and Social Justice: “Arresting Patterns” at ArtSpace

    Artcritical Magazine writes about the exhibition, Arrested Patterns, which includes artists, Jamal Cyrus, Maria Gaspar, Titus Kaphar, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Dread Scott, and Andy Warhol. Maria Gaspar's Google Map images of the Cook County Jail are featured in this exhibition located at Artspace in New Haven.


  • Arresting Patterns: Perspectives on Race, Criminal Justice, Artistic Expression, and Community

    Arresting Patterns: Perspectives on Race, Criminal Justice, Artistic Expression, and Community at Yale Art Gallery

    Maria Gaspar presents her project, 96 Acres, at Artspace New Haven as part of an interdisciplinary conference designed to promote discussion on the interplay between race, artistic expression, mass incarceration, and varying perspectives on justice. Hosted at the Yale Art Gallery, the discussions will explore the direct and collateral consequences of mass incarceration on the community and the individual, the criminal stereotype, color-blindness as a cultural principle, and the role that artistic expression can play in addressing these issues.



    I'll be presenting on my community engaged practice at the upcoming Creative Justice Conference at Oakton Community College on Saturday, April 11th. See below for more information:



    New City interviews me for the recent Creative Capital Award announcement.



    Maria Gaspar has received a Creative Capital Award this year. Creative Capital announced its 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects selected from a nationwide pool of more than 3,700 proposals. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. Visual Arts Awardees and Projects included new takes on sculpture, portraiture, comics and performance art. Ideas surrounding mass incarceration, gender and sexuality, nuclear waste, ancient languages, and global warming are represented.

    Gaspar will develop a series of sound installations based on the proximity of a jail located in her childhood neighborhood in Chicago. She will address issues of space, power, and incarceration.



    Maria Gaspar was named Chicagoan of the Year in the Visual Arts by writer and critic Lori Waxman for the Chicago Tribune. Ten artists were identified within the Chicago arts community who made significant contributions to our culture and lives during 2014. The article focused on Gaspar's creative work on Chicago's West Side, including City As Site (2010) and 96 Acres (2012-present).



    Maria Gaspar from 96 Acres, Moira Pujols-Quall from Contratiempo, and Nicolas Lampert from Justseeds reflect on collective art making and engage their contemporary initiatives with the exhibition What May Come: The Taller de Gráfica Popular and the Mexican Political Print.

    "What May Come: The Taller de Gráfica Popular and the Mexican Political Print" is the most influential and enduring progressive printmaking collective of its time, the Taller de Gráfica Popular (the Popular Graphic Art Workshop or TGP) created some of the most memorable images in mid-century printmaking. This Mexico City–based workshop took up the legacy of the famous Mexican broadside illustrator José Guadalupe Posada, creating prints, posters, and illustrated publications that were popular, affordable, legible, politically topical, and, above all, formally compelling. This exhibition includes over 100 works from the Art Institute’s rich holdings—one of the most significant TGP collections in the United States—demonstrating why this collective boasted such international influence and inspired the establishment of print collectives around the world.



    My audio documentary, Cook County Jail: The Visible and Invisible will be presented as part of an exhibition by Marinella Senatore's project, Public Secrets at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen in Switzerland from February 1st to April 13th, 2014. You can hear my audio documentary on the Senatore's audio archive: www.estmanradio.com

    More information: Collaboration is the most important component of Marinella Senatore’s concept of art. The Italian artist (*1977) involves thousands of people in her elaborate projects as producers, writers and in other roles to create, for example, parades, operas and radio programmes. She is not only concerned with triggering social processes but also with questioning concepts such as community and social responsibility, finding new narrative forms and ultimately in generating a collective memory through joint action. Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is showing documentary material and the results of several of her projects, for instance in the form of films, and is launching a new particípative venture: Estman Radio.

    The exhibition is showing the archive of Speak Easy (2009) – a project which involved around a hundred students from the Computense University of Madrid and more than one thousand residents of a Madrid suburb, including retired carpenters, seamstresses, craftspeople and professional actors. They worked together on a film from the conception of a screenplay to the construction of the film set to costume production. As is generally the case in Senatore’s projects, what is ultimately decisive is not the “end-product” (in this case a video of a musical, set in New York in the 1950s), it is rather the exchange that takes place between the participants during the production process. This process will be shown at the Kunst Halle with drawings, sketches, photographs and other documentary material.

    An even larger collective worked on Rosas (2012), an opera in three acts which involved more than 20,000 people in Berlin, Derby and Madrid. Here too the numerous participants encompassed professional dance groups, amateur actors, carpenters, art students and community choirs who were involved in writing the libretto, as actors, singers or working as film crew. They were prepared for the various roles and jobs necessary for the production of the opera at free workshops led by local experts, e.g. in the fields of film music, dramaturgy and editing.Rosas will be presented at the Kunst Halle in a multi-part video installation.

    The fact that Marinella Senatore sees her art as social engagement is shown especially clearly by the School of Narrative Dance, which she founded in 2013: a mobile, free school with a system based on emancipation, inclusion and self-training with the aims of literacy, sharing of skills and sustainability. The multi-disciplinary school focuses on narration using a wide spectrum of forms of expression such as dance, film, performance, poetry, oral history, literature and handcraft. In the exhibition the way in which this school works is transferred into an installation.

    And finally Marinella Senatore also wants to include the public in St. Gallen with the launch of Estman Radio at the Kunst Halle, a web-based audio project. Everybody is invited to participate by recording and uploading podcasts at the work station provided. The contributions can then be accessed wherever there is an internet connection. A productive community is thus formed and the exhibition used as a platform.

    Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen
    Davidstrasse 40
    St. Gallen
    T: +41 (0)71 222 10 14
    F: +41 (0)71 222 12 76
    W: www.k9000.ch


    On Friday, February 14th, I will be part of the this panel at ThreeWalls Gallery in Chicago "taking on" race. Please see below for details.

    LGBTQ (10am - 12pm): Latham Zearfoss (moderator), Jillian Soto, Daviel Shy, Frederick Moffet, Malic Amalya, Silvia Malagrino, Amina Ross, and NIC Kay.

    Motherhood (1 – 3pm): Lorelei Stewart (moderator), Christa Donner, Brittany Southworth Laflamme, Judy Ledgerwood, Laura Letinsky, Romi Crawford, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Christine Tarkowski, and Pamela Fraser

    Race (3 – 5pm): Isis Ferguson (moderator), Laura Kina, Maria Gaspar, Indira Johnson, Laila Farah, Alberto Aguilar, Alexandria Eregbu, and Sohelia Azadi.

    about Tracers:

    Tracers is an inclusive and publicly engaged organization dedicated to promoting feminism and all forms of human equality. Tracers is for YOU and everyone you love.

    Tracers is dedicated to enhancing the perception and profile of the modern feminist.
    Tracers is not humorless.
    Tracers is cool.
    Tracers includes everyone from the brides to the bra burners to the babies to the bros.
    The revolution will be LIVE and a total blast.



    The community of Little Village is the largest Mexican and Mexican-American community in Chicago commonly known as 26th Street. Recently named “Chicago’s Second Mag Mile”, Little Village is also emerging as a community driven by local artists and community efforts working together to positively shape its artistic and cultural identity. This panel will draw together the work of local artists and community art initiatives and present recent achievements, including arts programming, events, and public art projects

    Saturday, October 19th from 1-3pm
    Chicago Artist Month
    La Catedral Cafe
    2500 S. Christiana Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60623



    Urban Planner James Rojas joined Artist Maria Gaspar for a conversation with guests about the unique ways that Latino people are reshaping American cities. Rojas, hailing from Los Angeles, shared ideas and images of how Latino people are creating new civic structures in front yards, parking lots and other urban spaces. Maria Gaspar connected with Rojas over her studies of how residents of her home of Little Village in Chicago have turned the area outside of a local jail into a festival ground. She also shared projects where young Latino artists are transforming public spaces and infrastructure by making interventions with their bodies.
    More information: New Projects


    The Franklin

    3522 W. Franklin Blvd
    Opening Reception: March 2nd, 7-10pm
    March 2nd - March 30th, 2013

    Exhibition by Maria Gaspar and Andy Hall

    Maria Gaspar brings forth histories to the present through a series of images and objects. Excavating the city’s past, she presents what is remembered. An image of clasped hands uncovered after the Chicago Fire is raised at full mast at the entryway of the Franklin paying homage to the 1968 Chicago riots. The gesture of struggle and solidarity symbolically situates itself amongst the community and history of East Garfield Park.

    Andy Hall responds to the Franklin’s perforated cube proposing notions of theoretical space, physical scale, and material life-cycles. Line is used as a tool for expanding space, linking systems, and describing volumes. The Franklin site will host a large scale, spatial drawing designed as a lo-fi network of minimalistic corners, unions, intersections, and connectors. This exhibition brings together new studio experiments in foam filled membranes with Hall’s on-going formal studies with hinged geometry.


    Awarded a month-long residency in Reykjavík, Iceland to produce site-responsive works within the Icelandic terrain, as well as finalization for book, BrownOuts and Other Highly Flammable Things.


    All That Also Means To See, a solo-exhibition by Maria Gaspar.

    All That Also Means To See investigates spatial transformations, blurred places, and other imaginings through a series of drawings, sculptures and a site-responsive work that will be located in Woman Made Gallery’s atrium space. Inspired from landscapes and social spaces, she creates ambiguous forms, brown blobs and other unnamed forms that dwell in structural limbo or hover in empty space. Gaspar has designed and led many temporary and permanent public arts projects with youth throughout Chicago and in Mexico City. Most recently, she led a temporary public art project on the West Side of Chicago entitled, City As Site with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and in partnership with the Chicago Public Art Group. Her work deals with public space reinventions and interventions using the city’s landscape to produce site-responsive works in collaboration with youth and communities. Gaspar’s investigations in impermanent and transient constructions/situations are brought together in this exhibition.

    Opening Reception: Friday, September 9, 2011, 6:00-9:00pm
    Exhibition runs through October 27, 2011

    Woman Made Gallery
    685 North Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, Illinois 60642
    Telephone: 312-738-0400
    Fax Number: 312-738-0404



    The City As Site Project that I led and curated last summer 2010 has recently been published and is available for purchase at blurb.com: www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1856466

    In addition, a free catalog copy is available at: www.box.net/shared/6o0uvfh8i1

    City As Site documents an innovative temporary public arts project that took place on Chicago's Lawndale communities of the West Side in the summer of 2010 with support from the Chicago Public Art Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Enlace Chicago. The project was led by Maria Gaspar, with assistance from Emily Grelck and in collaboration with performance, sculpture and sound artists, such as Sebastian Alvarez, Carla Duarte, and Benjamin Thorp. This publication includes youth journal writings, drawings and images based on the performance based projects youth created throughout the six-week duration.


    August 29 - October 31, 2010
    Opening Reception: Sunday, August 29th 3pm-5pm

    Ground Floor is a survey exhibition of multi-media work by 20 promising artists who recently emerged from Chicago’s top level MFA programs. Filling the three galleries that make up the entire ground floor of the Art Center, the artwork included illustrate the exciting state of these artist’s career ready to take off. This biannual show of new art and artists brings together under one roof the stylistic trends and innovative talent of the moment produced throughout the city.

    With a history of shows like Hairy Who?, a definitive exhibition featuring the Chicago Imagists movement of the late 60s, Hyde Park Art Center has been at the forefront of encouraging Chicago-based artistic practice. In keeping with the mission to ‘stimulate and sustain visual arts in the city of Chicago’, this exhibition questions if there is a decisive Chicago style happening in art being produced right now.

    The 2010 exhibition features new and never before exhibited work by the following artists: Daniel Bruttig, Katy Collier, Chris Cuellar, Bonnie Fortune, Maria Gaspar, Joe Grimm, Adam Grossi, Emily Hermant, Aaron Hughes, Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, Samantha Jaffe, Daniel Lavitt, Lisa Lindvay, Brian Matthews, Jesse McLean, Matthew Metzger, Jessica Mott, Eliza Myrie, Jennifer Ray, Mia Rollow, Michael Sirianni, and Olivia Valentine. The artists hail from a broad range of schools that offer graduate level fine art degrees, including University of Chicago, University of Illinois (-Chicago and Springfield), Northwestern University, Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    The Exhibitions Committee is led by the Chair Dawoud Bey, and includes Huey Copeland, Matthew Girson, Kelly Kaczynski, Sze Lin Pang and Art Center Staff Allison Peters Quinn, Chris Hammes, and Kate Lorenz. The committee received over 100 recommendations from faculty in the local art schools. After conducting slide reviews then studio visits, the committee rigorously narrowed down the candidates to a final shortlist of artists.

    www.hydeparkart.org/exhibitions/2010/08? Hyde Park Art Center|


    Woman Made Gallery
    Opening Reception: September 10th from 6-9 pm
    Exhibition: September 10th - October 28th



    Opening Reception: Saturday, September 18 from 5 to 7 pm
    Exhibition: September 18 through October 17, 2010

    University Galleries
    Illinois State University
    110 Center for Visual Arts
    Campus Box 5600
    Normal, IL 61790-5600



    Opening Reception: Thursday, September 9, 2010 from 6-9PM
    Exhibition: September 9th-December 10th, 2010

    La Lotería, the Mexican game of chance, has a centuries-long social history, and a broad reach in contemporary art. This exhibition features a culturally and geographically diverse group of artists in three distinct sections
    A curated selection of films, photographs, installations and paintings featuring work by Jim Finn, Maximo Gonzalez, Jill Hartley, Luis Delgado, Adolfo Patiño and others.
    Newly commissioned works on paper, each based on a Lotería card. Participating artists include Maria Gaspar, Daniel Guzman, Gabriela Alva Cal y Mayor, Fred Stonehouse, Marilyn Propp, Mauricio Limon, Michael Pajon, Miguel Cortez, Javier Carmona, Michael Scoggins, Humberto Duque, Alexis MacKenzie and more.
    The LA Loteria: a series of Lotería-inspired prints from the Los Angeles-based Aardvark Letterpress
    This exhibition is organized with the help and support of the Illinois Arts Council, National Museum of Mexican Art, Mexican Consulate in Chicago, Poetry Magazine, and Anchor Graphics, Critical Encounters and Latino Cultural Affairs at Columbia College Chicago. Presented in association with Chicago Artists Month.

    Center for Book and Paper Arts
    1104 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605
    P 312 369 6684
    F 312 369 8082


    January 20 – February 28, 2010

    Please join the Dominican University Department of Art, Art History and Design
    for an Artist Talk and Opening Reception in the O’Connor Art Gallery

    Wednesday, January 20:
    Artist Talk with Helen Maurene Cooper and Maria Gaspar: 3pm | Lewis 404
    Reception: 4-8pm | O’Connor Art Gallery

    Refreshments will be provided. All are welcome!

    Questions? Contact Jessica Cochran, jcochran@dom.edu

    About the Exhibition:
    Helen Maurene Cooper and Maria Gaspar: New Work will include new photography by Cooper and installation-based work by Gaspar. Each artist takes a critical and self-reflexive investigative approach, using urban cultural detritus or social rituals- most of which share an interesting connection to commodity- as material to explore identity, gender and history. Essential to the work of both artists is the time spent outside the studio, or in the ‘field’ – primarily in Chicago locations. Cooper’s colorful portraits of upper middle class women ‘performing’ urban fashion, beautiful and grotesque, are end results of a process that begins with Cooper’s numerous activities like shopping and spending hours in Nail shops on Chicago far west side. Cooper's work as a faculty member in the art department of several of Chicago's Community colleges has led her into a complex conversation of the politics of fashion in rearguards to class and racial identity. Likewise, Maria Gaspar’s installations, which utilize celebratory detritus such as candy, parade scraps combined with more “abject” materials such as dirt are clearly informed by time spent working on public art projects with the Chicago Public Art Group and as a teaching artist. Maria Gaspar will create a large “brown landscape” that combines a site-specific use of the gallery architecture with the intuitive use of displaced objects, such as festive props.

    7900 West Division Street | Lewis Hall, 4th Floor
    River Forest, IL 60305
    Hours: M-Sat, 10-6
    Web: www.dom.edu/departments/artDepartment/g?


    UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work

    Museum Of Contemporary Art, Chicago
    UBS, 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work

    October 2nd - November 1st, 2009
    Artists' Gallery Talk: Tuesday, October 13th, 6:00 pm

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611