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Art meets sustainability

By the end of the semester, the capstone project of two Visual and Public Art students will grace a wall of CSUMB’s Dining Commons.

UPDATE: An opening reception and artists' presentation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., May 11 in the Dining Commons

Tanya Carbajal and Mercedes Maciel won the Earth Award, an opportunity to create a 7 feet by 20 feet mural and a stipend to pay for the materials. Professor Dio Mendoza worked with the Dining Commons staff to create the award.

Carbajal and Maciel had to complete a rigorous application process that included a 10-image portfolio, letters of recommendation and a letter of intent. The VPA faculty selected the winners.

The design will focus on sustainability as it relates to the food industry and will depict the cycle of food – from the fields to the kitchen to the table to compost and back to the fields.

Mercedes Maciel (left) and Tanya Carbajal
Mercedes Maciel (left) and Tanya Carbajal

The topic resonated with both students. “Food sustainability interested me due to my job as a banquet server,” said Carbajal. “I had to dispose of copious amounts of food and it made me more aware of how wasteful we can be. “I hope not only to educate myself about food sustainability, but also to share my knowledge to create awareness about the topic,” she said. For Maciel, the theme was even more personal. “My father, a migrant worker, has spent most of his life working for a food cannery, and my mother is a cook for restaurants and catering. They taught me to appreciate the hard work that goes into the food process,” she said. “With this mural, my goal is to invite the young viewers who visit the Dining Commons to think about the importance of this topic while honoring the people whose hard work makes the food cycle possible.” The design has what the artists call a “humanistic tone.” “We have chosen to depict the agricultural workers, kitchen staff, students,” Maciel said.

The mural will be completed in the VPA complex – painted on several tyvek panels – and installed in the Dining Commons the first week of May.

With this mural, my goal is to invite the young viewers who visit the Dining Commons to think about the importance of this topic while honoring the people whose hard work makes the food cycle possible.
Mercedes Maciel

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