Mark Vallen's Newsletter. March. 2004
Art Activism & Social Change
A R T  F O R   A  C H A N G E


1) - INTERVIEW WITH ESTAÑO... Mark Vallen interviews the assistant artist to Siqueiros
2) - XISPAS... A new online journal dedicated to Xicano art, culture, and politics
3) - ART OF RESISTANCE... Political Artist's Conference scheduled for May 2004 in Seattle, WA
4) - LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS... Artists & Writers join for Human Rights Exhibition
5) - CALL FOR ART... Submit artworks for "Regime Change" at The Workmen’s Circle Gallery
6) - SCHISM... Gold Medal Exhibit at Lankershim Arts Gallery co-juried by Mark Vallen

7) - WEBSITE CONSTRUCTION FOR ARTISTS... Get your site designed by Art For A Change

Philip Stein, also known as Estaño, is a living link to one of the world's most influential artistic schools... the Mexican Muralist Movement. Stein's passionate and detailed biography of David Alfaro Siqueiros, is based on the first hand experience of having worked alongside the great Mexican master for ten years as an assistant artist. The Mexican Cultural Commission has proclaimed Stein's, "Siqueiros - His life and Works", the definitive biography on Siqueiros. Artist Mark Vallen caught up with Estaño (who now resides in New York), and was able to conduct the following exclusive interview:

"Quetzalcoatl" painting by Philip Stein

(Question) You became involved with the Mexican Muralists in 1948 when you moved to that country and became an assistant painter to Siqueiros. During that decade you helped him paint some of the greatest murals of the period. You also met with other practitioners of a socially engaged public art, what you call the "Mexican School" of painters. Who were some of the other noteworthy artists you had the opportunity to meet or work with?

(Answer) Siqueiros was the generally accepted leader of the mural movement. He possessing an advanced political militancy would organize and rally the painters and sculptors of the movement for any action that would require their solidarity, usually directing some grievance or injustice to the government. So Siqueiros along with myself were often in the company of the artists of the movement. Orozco had died in 1949 but Diego Rivera was very active. He and Siqueiros were usually at the head of any protests and I was very often in their company. Swirling around the movement too I was often in the company of the muralists and sculptors of that period such as, Juan O'Gorman, Pablo O'Higgins, Luis Arenal, Fredrico Canessi the sculptor, Francisco Zuñiga, Jose Chavez Morado, Pancho Mora, Elizabeth Catlett and Leopoldo Mendez of the Taller Grafica Popular. These are a few of the names that I can recall having had contact with.

To read Vallen's full interview with Estaño, go to:

Xispas logo by artist, Joe Bravo

XISPAS ("Sparks" in English), is a new online journal dedicated to Xicano art and culture. It's premiere edition has just gone online, and it features poetry, an art gallery, opinion columns, interviews, cartoons, social critiques and scholarly research.

Xispas draws from Xicano youth, adults, and elders - it is provocative and controversial, entertaining but not "entertainment." Xispas taps into the spirit of pioneering Xicano publications from the turbulent 60s, 70s, and 80s... it follows in the footsteps of Con Safos, Pocho Che, XismeArte, and others. Xispas hopes to be the next evolutionary step for Xicano artistic/literary magazine development. The Xispas colectivo calls upon all Xicano artists/writers/photographers, as well as activists and educators, to contribute their skills and vision to the project.

For those of you who live in Los Angeles the Xispas staff will be holding an official website launch party, Sat. March 13th, 6 pm - 9 pm, at Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural. Details for the community celebration can be found on the Xispas website.

Visit Xispas, at:

ART OF RESISTANCE is shaping up to be a major national conference of political artists to take place in Seattle Washington May 15-16, 2004. The two day gathering will explore the history and application of political art and will include speakers and performers, exhibits, and practical hands-on workshops in artmaking. The conference will give attendees the opportunity to meet with a diverse group of artists practicing various disciplines, but who maintain a focus on social justice issues and making art an effective force for change.

The organizers of the conference are encouraging all artists and educators to participate in the building of the event by donating political artworks for fundraising, organizing a workshop or presentation for the conference, spreading the word and enlisting the help of others involved in art and activism, and of course... contributing money. The Art of Resistance organizers have already received letters of support from France, Spain, Egypt, Iraq, and from all across the United States. The following individuals and collectives have made a commitment to participate:

Mark Vallen -L.A. based painter/founder Art For A Change. Mike Alewitz -labor muralist. Richard Mock -NY political printmaker. Gabriel Delgado -Station Political Art Museum. Banksy -UK graffiti artist. ACLU -workshop on freedom of expression. Adbusters, Drawing Resistance -traveling political art show. Northland Poster Collective, Beehive Collective, UpsideDown Culture Collective
... and many more!

Write an e-mail to Art of Resistance:
Visit their website (under construction), at: __________________________________________

LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS This exhibition at the southern California campus of Whittier College, is a compelling project celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement throughout North and South America. Tracing the events which led to the military overthrow of the Allende government in Chile in 1973, the exhibit honors Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffit, murdered in 1976 in Washington DC for their human rights activism against the Pinochet regime.

Artists and Writers participating in the exhibition include Mark Vallen, Michael Walker, John Berger, Dianna Cohen, Ariel Dorfman, Carlos Fuentes, Saul Landau, Francisco Letelier, Marcelo Montecino, Naul Ojeda, Emma Rosenthal, and others. There will also be a mural project on campus, facilitated by the curator of the exhibit, Francisco Letelier, in collaboration with students and faculty. A human rights activist and public artist, Francisco is the son of Orlando Letelier. Francisco Letelier has created murals and other public works at sites throughout the Americas and Europe including the Los Angeles Metro, Northern Ireland and Nicaragua.

The exhibit is now running at the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts on the Whittier College campus. A closing performance event is scheduled for Thursday, March 11th, 7- 10:00 pm, at The Club - Whittier College 13406 East Philadelphia Street, Whittier. Featured artists include Francisco Letelier, Chilean Singer Jacqueline Fuentes, and poet/singer Joselyn Wilkinson. For more information contact: Doreen O'Connor-Gómez 562-907-4280. For directions, visit:

CALL FOR ART! A Shenere Velt Gallery at the Workmen's Circle in Los Angeles has issued a call for artists to submit works to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming exhibition, Regime Change. Submit slides of artworks that speak to the theme of regime change and explores the de/construction of power. By what forces, strategies and mechanisms does significant change happen?

The exhibit is scheduled to open September 13th, 2004 and will run until Oct. 31st, 2004. For a prospectus send a SASE to The Workmen’s Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035, or download one at:


SCHISM is the Gold Medal juried exhibit for the Valley Artists Guild, a decades old organization of professional and nonprofessional artists living and working in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Both Dover Abrams of the Lankershim Art Gallery (the venue for the show), and Mark Vallen will serve as jurors for the exhibit. They'll also determine which artists receive cash awards.

The exhibit is scheduled to open March 4th, and will run until March 30th, 2004. The Artist's Reception will be on March 11th, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The Awards presentation will be at 8:30. All works will be available for purchase, and Vallen will be showing one of his latest paintings. The Lankershim Art Gallery is located at 5108 Lankershim Blvd. in the NOHO Arts district. Visit their website, at:


ART FOR A CHANGE has become a resource for students, educators, art lovers, and cultural activists all around the globe. Your generous contribution will help maintain and expand the project, any amount donated will be appreciated! To contribute, go to the secure PayPal website by clicking on the button below:

"Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?"
~ Kurt Vonnegut.