ART+BIO Collab Cultivo Artist Residency / Desert Mentorship

Funded by the RISD Research SPUR Fund

The Art+Bio Cultivo Residency for Artists and Scientists of Color addresses the needs for cross-disciplinary and inclusive experiences for marginalized Artists and Scientists of Color. This artist residency focuses on the power of collaboration within the intersections of art and science through community engagement and outreach in the U.S. -Mexico Border. I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in the Chihuahuan Desert near New Mexico. We camped in the Oliver Lee Site in Alamagordo, New Mexico and started out in El Paso, Texas. As a First-Gen Mexican American Architecture student, this experience was essential for both my professional and cultural development. This opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the RISD Research SPUR Fund.  

I carried a sketchbook throughout my residency to capture my experiences. Pictured below are 250+ quick watercolor sketches during a speed drawing experience we did during our visit in Valley of Fires.  

The desert, sandy, and dry landscapes within the Chihuahuan Desert inspired me to create Architectural Drawings that capture the experience of the site. During my residency, I began to acknowledge the privilege I had as a Mexican-American citizen exploring a desert that my family would not be able to experience due to their citizenship status. I wanted to capture my experience to share with my family members who are from Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua.

This experience allowed me to explore my passions for community engagement and culture through the intersections of Art and Biology within the U.S.-Mexico Border. It was such a special opportunity to be able to be a part of a residency designed for Artists of Color. It has expanded my knowledge in the power within the intersections of Art and Biology. I have also been able to receive important mentorship from other Artist and Scientists of color. This experience has already impacted my work in my Architecture Fall 2021 studio where we explore architectural drawing through land acknowledgment. I am forever grateful to have been able to experience this opportunity and I am excited to see how my involvement within the U.S. Mexico Border grows throughout my time at RISD and beyond.