An exhibition newly launched at the Art Galleries at Austin Community College pays tribute to the late Sam Coronado, long time ACC art faculty member and a foundational contributor to Austin’s Latinx art legacy.
“Cultivating Community Through Art: Sam Coronado’s Serie Project & Its Continuing Legacy” features prints from the artist-in-residence program Coronado began independently in 1993.
Coronado taught at ACC from 1986 until his death in 2013. Born and raised in the greater Dallas area, he began his artistic career as a technical illustrator for Texas Instruments following service in the U.S. Army. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1975 from the University of Texas.
Like many of his generation, activism and creating community were inseparable from Coronado’s artistic practice. While at UT he helped kickstart the Chicano Art Students Association, and in 1984 he co-founded Mexic-Arte Museum.
In the early 1990s, Coronado visited Self Help Graphics in East Los Angles, which had incubated the Chicano art movement in the 1970s. Screen printing proved a natural tool for the movement. Screen prints are cost-effective and fairly quick to produce — a nimble creative response to rapidly unfolding social and political issues. Moreover, printmaking linked the Chicano art movement with the importance of the medium in Mexico as a means of communicating social and political causes through art.
Back in Austin, in 1993 Coronado opened his printmaking studio in the Montopolis neighborhood, an historically Latinx community. Under the auspices of the Serie Project, artists were invited to work with a master printer to create an original screen print that was then published in editions of 50, half of which the artist kept. The remaining prints joined Serie’s growing collection some of which were sold to collectors, others presented in exhibitions throughout Texas, and beyond.
In 2002, the Serie Project became founding members of Consejo Grafico, the first nationally recognized consortium of Latino printmakers in the United States.
More than 250 artists — the majority Latinx or artists of color — participated in the Serie Project during its 20-year existence. Some were already established; many were emerging artists and first-time printmakers. The current exhibition includes Serie prints by artists who now have celebrated careers: Cruz Ortiz, Deborah Roberts, Luis Valderas and Joey Fauerso.
The ACC exhibition highlights Serie Project artist with connections to the school, as well as work by Coronado himself. It also includes a selection of work by the three Coronado Studio Master Printers: Pepe Coronado (no relation), Brian Johnson, and Jonathan Rebolloso who made a three-part work called “Paletas” when he was an ACC student.
Today, Rebolloso and Pepe Coronado carry on the legacy of Sam Coronado. Pepe was one Sam’s first mentees and the first Master Printer of the Serie Project. Rebolloso was a student of Sam’s at ACC.
Continuing through Dec. 8, the ACC exhibition offers a nicely presented introduction to the significant influence Sam Coronado had on Austin’s cultural landscape, and on many artists.
“Cultivating Community Through Art: Sam Coronado’s Serie Project & Its Continuing Legacy” continues through Dec. 8 at the Art Galleries at Austin Community College, Highland Campus. Admission is free. admc.austincc.edu/tag/