105 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Taller Arte de Nuevo Amanecer encourages local youth to express themselves artistically

Stories of how the workshop began and how it currently functions


By SABRINA FIGUEROA — features@theaggie.org


Located in the heart of Woodland, Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA) is more than just an art gallery. Co-founded by the Chicano artists Malaquias Montoya and Carlos Francisco Jackson, TANA aims to provide local artists and youth with resources to express themselves through art and culture. 

TANA was founded as a “collaborative partnership between the Chicana/o Studies Program at the University of California, Davis and the greater Woodland community,” according to their website.

Montoya stated that his motivation for starting a Latinx and Chicanx workshop space in Woodland came from his own experiences of being surrounded by workshops in Oakland during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Local youth would frequent these workshops to create art that expressed their activism for social issues while also bonding with community members. He noted that silkscreening was the most popular.

“When I was teaching my classes at UC Davis, I taught a class on art history and talked about the different workshops [around Oakland] and the importance they had to the community because they brought people together,” Montoya said. “[Workshops are] a gathering place.”

TANA focuses mostly on visual arts, with silk screen printing as their specialty. This printing method uses mesh stretched across a frame to transfer an image with paint, ink or dye onto a surface. However, before the actual printing happens, the image must be designed and cut into sections according to the amount of colors. 

Although it may seem like an intricate process, you don’t need to be an established artist to participate. 

In fact, José Arenas, the director of TANA, said the workshops aim to teach and educate community members on the silkscreen process through its master printing staff and free resources.

“All of the materials and supplies are provided for anybody who walks in the door,” Arenas said. “The idea is that this is a community space; a space to bring new people together [regardless of personal resources].”

While TANA focuses on visual arts, it also emphasizes the value of all artistic forms of expression. They provide a series of programs that are designed to cater to different mediums, such as their mural program, theater program and, of course, the main atelier program that focuses on teaching the art of screen printing. On occasion, they also hold other kinds of workshops that focus on artistic and cultural expression through poetry and other forms of literature.

“[We] periodically invite professional Latinx artists that are, not only emerging artists, but international artists,” Arenas said. 

Collaboration — or sponsorship — is possible through the atelier program, where the artist-in-residence gets help from a master printer at TANA. 

“We really try to facilitate the artist’s vision and oftentimes the artist may not be familiar with the silkscreen process,” Arenas said. “The master printers work together with the artists to create editions. Editions are basically multiples of a design, and what we do is we split them with the artists, just like other presses and print shops do, and then sell them to bring back money to the program.” 

Through this program, TANA has had the opportunity to collaborate with artists and activists such as the Bay Area Tenant and Neighborhood Council, the Brown Issues organization and even recent protest organizers in support of Gaza and Palestine. 

The hard-working and skilled staff members have played a key role in the success of the workshops and collaborations. TANA relies on student interns who have taken silkscreen printing courses at UC Davis, as well as a full-time staff. 

Edgar Lampkin, TANA’s workshop coordinator, reflected on his time working with the community through TANA. 

“I’ve been here for 10 years, and at moments [working at TANA] is very fulfilling, but other times it’s overwhelming because of the scope of the issues,” Lampkin said. “It’s hard to facilitate empowering artwork out of [workshop participants] when their basic material needs aren’t met. You need to be comfortable in terms of housing, education, food and all that kind of stuff because sometimes [not being secure in those things] can get in the way of finding time to express yourself and work through those issues.” 

Lampkin continued to explain that TANA is a great resource for Woodland locals but wished it was utilized more by the community as a way for members to express their cultures, identity or political views — or even just to try something new. 

“It’s hard to sell [people on] something that’s free,” Lampkin said. “A lot of people that might benefit from [TANA’s] resources, oftentimes, don’t take advantage of it. I think a lot of it has to do with the proximity and affiliation to UC Davis that seems to cause a lot of confusion with community members. Sometimes people don’t believe it’s not meant for Davis students or other times they’ll think there’s a catch, when there really isn’t.” 

Although TANA’s demo days and non-workshop events are open to the general public, they give first priority to local youth who are not enrolled at UC Davis — of any background — for the actual workshops. UC Davis students who are interested in screen printing are encouraged to take the on-campus printing courses offered through the Chicana/o Studies and Design departments instead. 

When the workshop space is converted into an art exhibit, the staff put up work that is mostly done by local Latinx or Chicanx artists. They occasionally showcase artwork from youth and adult community members who participated in workshops as well, so it can be a great way for up-and-coming artists in the area to show their work off. 

TANA is a special opportunity and resource for youth in the area to utilize, especially if they want to further engage with community members that have unique experiences and diverse backgrounds. Not only is it a great way to learn new skills, but it’s a gateway to exploring self-identity and cultures. 


Written by: Sabrina Figueroa — features@theaggie.org


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here