Judith F. Baca
Since 1976, Judith F. Baca has served as the Founder/Artistic Director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, California. She has taught studio art as a Professor of Fine Arts for the University of California since 1980. As of 1996, she concurrently holds two academic appointments: as Vice Chair of UCLA's Cesar Chavez Center and as Professor of Art for World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.
As a visual artist and one of the nation's leading muralists, Judith F. Baca is best known for her large-scale public art works. In her internationally-known The Great Wall of Los Angeles, a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from their origins to the 1950's, Baca and her planning and painting teams of approximately 700 participants produced 2,435 running feet of murals in segments over seven summers, from 1976 to 1984. The Great Wall engaged over 400 young people, 14-21 years of age, of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Working with scholars, oral historians, local artists and hundreds of community members, it is one of the most acclaimed monumental cultural projects in the United States dealing with interracial relations. It provides a vibrant and lasting tribute to California and the unrecognized ethnic groups who have shaped this state's history. Its half-mile length in the Tujunga wash drainage canal and its accompanying bike trails and park in the San Fernando Valley, hosts thousands of visitors every year. Restoration of the older elements of The Great Wall, along with the research and design for its continuance into the 1990?s is currently underway.
Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles mural program in 1974. It produced over 400 murals and employed thousands of local participants during its ten years of operation. In 1976, she founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, California, where she still serves as the Artistic Director. In 1988 at the request of Mayor Tom Bradley, she developed a new city mural program based on the previous successful model of The Great Wall of Los Angeles. This program, entitled Great Walls Unlimited: Neighborhood Pride Program, has produced over 85 murals in almost every ethnic community in Los Angeles. It has provided training for hundreds of artists and youth, making it one of the country's most respected mural education programs.
Baca has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work appears in the museum collections of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian and at the Wadsworth Antheneum in Hartford Connecticut. The core of both her public and personal work is based on the belief that art is a tool for social change and self-transformation; capable of fostering civic dialogue in the most uncivil places.
Professor Judith Baca established the UCLA @ SPARC Digital Mural Lab (digitalmurallab.com) as a creative space where UCLA students experiment with digital technologies to create collaborative works of art that promote community cultural development.
The Digital/Mural Lab is a unique research and teaching facility, bringing state-of-the-art computer technology to the production of community-based art. Led by Professor Judith F. Baca, UCLA students collaborate with community members to create public art for public settings.
• Combines art with issues of social policy, historical investigation and academic research