Citing a "lack of diversity," the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, which was set to host the 2016 Contemporary Art Month (CAM) Perennial, has pulled their support from the festival.
The statement released from executive director Jerry Ruiz states:
While the GCAC recognizes the talents and merits of the artists in this year’s Perennial, we have determined that CAM is simply not a mission-fit at this juncture. The Guadalupe remains firmly committed to the values of inclusion and access to the arts. The lack of diversity in this year’s group of artists, specifically the lack of representation of Latina artists in this year’s edition of the perennial, has forced the organization to make this difficult decision after much deliberation and dialogue with CAM’s leaders.
The Perennial annually hosts a curator from the global arts community to visit the city and gather artists in San Antonio to show at the all-female exhibit. This year's curator is Laurie Britton Newell. Newell studied Art and Design History before completing a Masters in Curating Contemporary Design at Kingston University, UK. Newell currently teaches curatorial studies at the University of Colorado.
This year's selected artists are Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Marlys Dietrick, Emily Fleisher, Jasyme Graybill, Jessica Halonen and Leigh Anne Lester.
Orlando Graves Bolaños, a CAM board member, says he felt like he got hit on the head when the news broke today.
“We’ve tried to make a dialogue to find a solution so we are surprised and saddened to find that no, there isn’t a solution,” he said.
Bolaños said that CAM tried to find a way to maintain curatorial independence while accommodating the lack of a Latina artist.
“We didn’t hit one diversity factor, but we hit another one,” he said. “Should we be apologizing to all the male artists not included in the show?”
Right now, CAM is working to find another venue.
“We feel saddened and blindsided that it doesn’t work for Guadalupe,” Bolaños said. “But in years past, Latinos were included, not because of a quota, but because of good artists who fit the narrative of curator.”