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Vicente Ortiz Cortez - Michelle Angela Ortiz Curatorial Fellowship - Philadelphia - Respec

Respect for the Rights of Others is Peace:

Building on Hope, Unity, Sacrifice

Oct 31 - Nov 18, 2020

Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Featuring corn husk weavings, papel picado, and arroz con popote installations that split the gallery like the Mexican flag, six artists of Mexican origin explore the philosophy of Mexican President Benito Juarez, and how it can be applied today. Titled after President Juarez's formula for coexistence, “among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace,” the show examines how these words can provide hope, bring unity, and serve as a compass to shape the future. A space for reflection, the show serves as a reminder that the rich history immigrants carry with them can hold the keys to understanding the present and informing the future.

The Michelle Angela Ortiz Curatorial Fellowship is named for Michelle Angela Ortiz and her 20 years of work using her art to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. The Da Vinci Fellowship Program is made possible by individual  contributions, DVAA Membership Dues, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and a generous grant from the Joseph Robert Foundation.

Artists: Jessica Elena AquinoStephanie DueñasGustavo GarciaSalvador MuñozSelene Nunez Cruz, Vicente Ortiz Cortez

Curator: Vicente Ortiz Cortez, 2020 Michelle Angela Ortiz Curatorial Fellow

Chanthaphone Rajavong: FUTURE/SUSTAINABLE

May 10 - Jun 07, 2019

University City Arts League, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Chanthaphone Rajavong is a Philadelphia based artist using ancient weaving techniques from Laos, his native country, to create sculptures out of salvaged components from electronics such as radios, computers, and transformers. His studio practice serves healing purposes. After spending seven years of his childhood with his family in a refugee camp in Thailand, Rajavong moved to the United States, where art making helped him adjust to his new environment. His assemblages have a distinctive aesthetic, influenced by Western culture and his cultural heritage.


In a way that mirrors his lived experience, he gives discarded materials a new life, an opportunity to reenter a world that once abandoned them. To this effect, current global events echo throughout his work, which is concerned with the Anthropocene, the fragility of the planet, and humanity. As he puts it, FUTURE/SUSTAINABLE “is an urgent plea for the healing of our planet.”


Rajavong attended the Community College of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), and Moore College of Art. He has had solo exhibitions in Brazil and Pennsylvania. Some of the exhibition venues where he has shown include Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, PA; The Beach Museum in Alagoas, Brazil; Salon des Amis in Malvern, PA; Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, PA; Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, PA; the Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, PA; and Philadelphia City Hall in Philadelphia, PA. His work has been reviewed numerous times and is part of several public and private collections.

Curator: Vicente Ortiz Cortez

Vicente Ortiz Cortez Curator Future Sustainable Chanthaphone Rajavong Philadelphia ecology
Vicente Ortiz Cortez Curator Spell Craft Laura Mecklenburger Philadelphia university city

Laura Mecklenburger: Spell Craft

Mar 22 - Apr 26, 2019

University City Arts League, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Combining her fine arts training with her practice as an initiated witch, Laura Mecklenburger explores the healing power of art. She immerses herself into the art making process in the form of spell, conjuring up inner thoughts and emotions, resulting in intricately detailed work on paper, clay, and mixed media. The imagery in her work is inspired by the transforming life-cycle changes in insects, fungi, and plants. Influenced by her queer experience and Jewish background, she’s concerned about underrepresented communities and sociopolitical issues, addressing vulnerability, healing, self-transformation, and protection in her work. Brought together in participatory shrines layered in symbolism, her installations offer visitors an opportunity to voice their concerns.

“To cast a spell is to create change in yourself and the world through indirect or intangible action. We all dream of better lives, but we are at the mercy of nature, chance, and other people. Even the most privileged people have needs and desires that direct action can’t reliably meet, and most of us don’t have access to wealth or power, either. So we pull together every powerful resource we do have - our possessions, our ecosystems and gardens, our words and songs and dances, our deities and ancestors, our blood and breath, emotion, patience, and time - to make magic. I also use my pen, scissors, clay, and my ability to sculpt and draw living beings to bring power and direction to my spells. This exhibition brings together the tangible and colorful remains of spells I have crafted for myself and my community, and invites visitors to participate in continuing magic.” – Laura Mecklenburger

Laura Mecklenburger is a Philadelphia-based artist and an initiated witch. She received her MFA in ceramics from the Pennsylvania State University. Mecklenburger earned a BA from Swarthmore College, and completed Post-Baccalaureate certificates from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She has exhibited and given presentations on her work at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Houston, Texas; the Edwin W. Zoller Gallery in University Park, PA; and the Da Vinci Art Alliance in Philadelphia, PA among others. Her work has been featured in Cleaver Magazine. Mecklenburger’s work is in the collection of Swarthmore College.

Curator: Vicente Ortiz Cortez

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