¡COLORES! August 12, 2017
Santa Clara artist and educator Porter Swentzell and Isleta artist Daryl Lucero discuss how art making can bring ecological awareness. “The Generator” is an inclusive art space that invites people to build their dreams. Fighting cancer, opera singer Barbara Padilla was told she might never sing again. Overcoming all odds, she became a finalist on “America’s Got Talent.”
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by: Viewers Like You
>>THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
SANTA CLARA ARTIST AND EDUCATOR PORTER SWENTZELL AND ISLETA ARTIST DARYL LUCERO DISCUSS HOW
ART MAKING CAN BRING ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS.
>>One of the things thatâ€™s really important to me in traditional arts is reestablishing
that relationship with where the materials you need to make what you need to make, come
>>THE GENERATOR IS AN INCLUSIVE ART SPACE THAT INVITES PEOPLE TO BUILD THEIR DREAMS.
>>PATSY CLINE â€˜S DETERMINATION AND TALENT LED HER TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL
VOCALISTS OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
FILMMAKER BARBARA HALL BRINGS HER STORY TO LIFE IN THE PBS SERIES, â€œAMERICAN MASTERS.â€
>>FIGHTING CANCER, OPERA SINGER BARBARA PADILLA WAS TOLD SHE MIGHT NEVER SING AGAIN.
OVERCOMING ALL ODDS, SHE BECAME A FINALIST ON â€œAMERICAâ€™S GOT TALENT.â€
ITâ€™S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
CAN MAKING ART BRING ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS?
(wind blowing, birds chirping, water gurgling)
>>Lucero: Could you describe how you've come to understand your practice, your art?
>>Swentzell: I think of this word 'art' and how we think about it, today, and going back
to the older way of thinking about art as, the root of it is the things that you're skilled
at doing, you know.
And, thinking about art as maybe everything that each person is gifted with, and I think
about my own self as an educator, really what I do is I facilitate learning.
Some one that creates the moments where people can find learning on their own.
>>Lucero: So, how much of your art practice has been shaped by the local ecology, there
in Santa Clara Pueblo?
>>Swentzell: I grew up a little bit different than other kids the same age as myself.
One of the things that my Mom did when I was a little kid, was, take me and my sister out
of school, and was like, "Well, you don't really learn too much useful things in school,
so you're going to stay home and work in the fields and help build houses and fix fences,
and whatever it is that you need to do to help out, you know, and that's going to be
>>Lucero: How much of that, of your knowledge, your education, was influenced or ultimately
shaped by the local environment, the ecology of that place?
>>Swentzell: One of the things that my Mom sort of got attached to is the idea of permaculture.
Permaculture being a practice, a modern day practice of basically those things that indigenous
people all around the world practiced if you think about permaculture as permanent culture.
Allowing themselves to carry on their culture in relationship with the places that they're
And so, one of the things that my Mom really thought about is how our traditional practices
of agriculture, of living on the land, was something that passed down through generation
after generation, very much was also the same kind of ideas that you would find in something
She was raising me and my sister with those ideas of that relationship with the patterns
of the places that we lived at, you know, at Santa Clara Pueblo.
>>Lucero: How do you incorporate some of those ideas of permaculture into your practice as
>>Swentzell: One of the things that you can see, at say, for example, at a formal art
school is that when you start the class, you get your class course supply list, right?
You need to go to the art supply store and buy this kind of pencil or that kind of charcoal,
or this kind of paint, right?
The relationship with where do these things come from, or how are they made, is sort of
broken at that moment when you go to the store to buy those things to create your art.
And so, one of the things that's really important to me in traditional arts is reestablishing
that relationship with where the materials you need to make what you need to make come
So, one of the things that I have students do for, say for example, for the weaving class,
on the first week of class, we go out to go start doing textiles, right?
But there's no tools, no supply list.
What we do is go out into the hills right there on campus and start looking for tools,
find sharp rocks and rocks with a flat edge.
We go and cut yucca, we prep it, we put it into a container with water.
We allow it to ferment for about a week, then we process those fibers and turn it into cordage.
And, to me, it's something very basic, making cordage out of plant fibers.
It's something that goes way back into the depths of the human experience.
And, so, yet that's not something that's passed down to us generation to generation anymore.
And so, you can see that also in the architecture class, in terms of actually making the bricks
out of mud and then turning those bricks into walls.
And that, all of these things come from the environment that we live in.
And, to me, one of the most rewarding moments as a facilitator of learning, is seeing that
moment when the students have figured out, hey, I don't need to go and buy this stuff.
I can go and make this all on my own.
And, at that moment, learning is happening.
And not only that, in a small little way, I've created this space for them to regain
back some of their inheritance as human beings.
>>Lucero: What's the significance of somebody not from this area learning how to make adobe
>>Swentzell: For students that are in my classroom, who come from really different places, I'm
not going to be the one to tell them how to have a relationship with their place, and
maybe through seeing how people thrived, and continue to thrive in this particular place,
it can give them, spark in them the desire to learn about how to establish this relationship
in their places.
>>Lucero: Why is it important to consider your local ecology, whether it be in a creative
practice or a formal institutional setting?
>>Swentzell: That relationship and the responsibility that is part of that relationship was what
allowed us to thrive for so many generations.
To be, to exist even today.
So, reestablishing our relationship it tells that there's responsibility tied with that.
>>ART SPACE â€œTHE GENERATORâ€ INVITES ANYONE TO MAKE ART IN A SUPPORTIVE CREATIVE HUB.
>>Matt Schultz: We believe in this idea that if everyone has the ability to build their
dreams then people will natively and inherently do that we have this idea that if we want
to change the world we need to give people the tools and resources to change the world
The generator is at its core is community art space.
Itâ€™s meant to be a place we can provide tools and resources, most people not otherwise
have access to, so they can build and create.
When I went to Burning Man the first year it was just massively inspiring.
There were artist and builders and creators, who were making things for the sake of making
things and I thought that was really brilliant and inspired me to start making art projects
with our friends.
And inspired us to build a community in which we shared tools from which we use friendâ€™s
backyard to build a giant pier.
And from there this idea grew kind of grew and adjusting this idea that hey if everyone
has tools or resources thereâ€™s no excuse for them to do anything other than make something
incredible >>Chris Wyatt Scott: You get a sense of real
freedom here working and hanging out, there's no one telling you what to do.
You're in this huge space full of machines and people trust you enough to use it and
that gives you this mental freedom to focus on what you're doing and really use your imagination.
>>Schultz: it really is an incredible, robust space something that itâ€™s so fantastic to
think that we have a 4000 square foot woodshop, a 3000 square foot metal shop, a laser cutter,
thereâ€™s a ceramic studio, upstairs is a sewing studio, we have a gallery, a tech room
and kind of just a huge variety of tools and resources to effetely make what we want it
can almost be intimidating when you walk through the space and notice there are very few restrictions
on what you can create.
>>Scott: I tend to do things to the limit of what's available, and since there are big
machines here, I'll use them when I can.
>>Schultz: We currently have 32 resident artist.
Those people who really want to create and build something fantastic as an artist in
their personal career or professional career.
>>Scott: I'm a resident artist here at the Generator, my name is Chris Wyatt Scott and
I have a business called corner craft and I make furniture and lighting and build just
about anything, creative building and I needed a new place to build... when I came in here
and starting using the equipment I just fell in love with the space.
>>Schultz: Weâ€™re really excited to see businesses form here and take their business and create
it in the real world but weâ€™ve tried to create a space where you donâ€™t have to worry
>>Scott: It makes it a lot easier and not just easier but more interesting the possibilities
are bigger, the things I can do, the type of materials I can work with are all expanded
because of this space being available.
>>Schultz: I donâ€™t think a lot of us are used to working in a world where the skyâ€™s
the limit and I think initially it can be a little bit crippling and when people really
figure out what they wanna do and find a focus thereâ€™s a tool to build just about anything
You can build a trinket or bridge and everything in between.
>>Scott: Anyone who does any kind of art they can come here and see this space is so big
and they can make big art.
>>Schultz: Library Babel was a piece Wok McMillen did that was a 30-foot-tall Babylon style
library with hand-made books and hand-made paper.
That gave this great community to come in and create paper and build books and bind
Carrie Lynn built her crepe cart here which is business she started where she sells crepes
around the city.
We as a team built Embrace which is probably our most notable piece which was a pair of
64-foot-tall people in embrace that were made of wood about the same scale as the Statue
Thereâ€™s been so many projects have come out of this space, every summer we have between
5 to 10 different international teams that come the space and build a number of things.
Thereâ€™s this really amazing arts community in Sparks and community has been in my mind
kind of like series of islands and we kind of hope to make into an archipelago and bring
people together who are being creative and help support them in ways that make them more
And create a cultural hub in Reno and that cultural hub will naturally attack more interesting,
more compelling artist and creatives and individuals who maybe a little weird, maybe a little strange
but wanna change the world.
We just hope we will continue to draw inspired driven people to Reno and inspire the creative
people who will create a better city.
>>BARBARA HALL SHARES THE STORY BEHIND THE MAKING OF A FILM ABOUT PATSY CLINE AND HER
DETERMINATION TO BECOME A COUNTRY MUSIC STAR.
>>Sheâ€™s taken her music to the Hollywood bowl, Carnegie Hall and is one of the finest
voices in America.
Here she is, singing one of her big, big hits, Miss Patsy Cline.
>>Barbara Hall: I just always felt in my gut, Patsy Cline is an American Masters.
And somehow when I think about what she did I thought I canâ€™t just drop the ball I got
to keep pushing this is where she is meant to be with these other fellow American Masters.
So I just kind of didnâ€™t take no for an answer and I sort of learned that through
>>Michael Kantor: Her pioneering spirit within the music industry is something we should
I find her story incredibly inspiring and I donâ€™t know anyone whoâ€™s heard her music
who doesnâ€™t just love it.
>>And to bring back Patsy Cline in a deep way, not in a letâ€™s just do one song.
But letâ€™s understand where those songs came from and what they meant to her seems really
important to do.
Barbara Hall: It was a heavy task.
You know she has been gone for 55 years, died when she was 30.
Really only had a six, seven year career.
So thereâ€™s not a lot of photos.
A little bit of home movies cause she was right on the edge of when it was common place
to take home movies, made several local and national television appearances for those
Sadly, the Arthur Godfrey show visuals, gone, couldnâ€™t be found for that big one for her.
But we were able to get the audio and try to find a way to graphically recreate it.
That was kind of fun.
But otherwise through the Hall of Fame and the museum and the family just got together
as many a photos as we possibly could.
>>Michael Kantor: My worry about the Patsy Cline film was there wouldnâ€™t be any great
footage and filmmaker Barbara Hall proved the contrary.
There is amazing footage.
My favorite is the Arthur Godfrey show where it is not actual footage of her performing
there but you hear the interaction between Godfrey and Patsy Clineâ€™s mom and Patsy
singing and she wins the contest and it changes her career.
>>Barbara Hall: Women today call country music still a good ol boys network.
It is very difficult to find some sort of a quality there.
So back fifty, sixty years ago that she earned, I believe earned the hard way, the right to
have her own opinion and call her own shots to be heard.
That just took straight up guts, confidence and skill.
And she just had the goods, she just had the ability.
>>Michael Kantor: Patsy is a real pioneer.
She drops out of school in the eighth grade.
She is working In a drug store, She is working in bars.
Her mom is sewing clothes for other people.
I think they move over a dozen times when sheâ€™s a teenager.
And she literally puts her face on the window of a radio station to try and get in and be
on the inside and sing for them.
And itâ€™s that kind of grit and resilience, of course her amazing talent that wins out.
>>Barbara Hall: I think one of the things weâ€™ve learned along the way is that this
is a family member and loved one first and foremost and not just a commodity or an artist.
So we built a personal relationship with the family.
I think we have their trust and we were very honored to be trusted with her story.
I will say Charlie, her husband, was extremely protective over her legacy.
So it took a long time to build up that trust.
And I really donâ€™t want to do anything to damage it.
I have to tell ya, I cried for like three, four months once we really delved into it.
It just seemed that she would get a couple of steps forward, knocked down, a couple of
steps, knocked down.
I thought, how much does this woman have to take, really.
You know she just seem to dealt so many bad cards.
I think what sheâ€™s done for me what truly Is, no pitty parties from me.
I mean itâ€™s a cake walk compared to what she had to fight for and navigate for.
So yeah, it has made me a little more resilient and I think for her you know no meant try
another way, go through another door, come back later.
So I think, Iâ€™m think, Iâ€™m hoping that I take that away.
>>BARBARA PADILLA WAS TOLD SHE MIGHT NEVER SING AGAIN.
>>â€œHere is Barbara Padillaâ€¦â€
>>BARBARA PADILLA: Music is the reason I think God still has me here â€“
Music is my motivation â€“ itâ€™s the instrument or the weapon or the tool of my life.
I am Barbara Padilla and I am an opera singer.
I relate opera with the happiest moments of my childhoodâ€¦
My Mother has still a very large, very impressive collection of Classical music and operas and
she would play it and I would sing it - I thought everybody could, I thought that was
the music that everybody listened toâ€¦
That music trapped me and never let go and I just knew I could sing it and I wanted to
I was studying music â€“ I was in the school of music when I realized that I had some bumps
around my neck and I thought, because they didnâ€™t hurt, and a doctor saw me, a surgeon
saw me and he didnâ€™t like what he saw, and I was diagnosed as a Hodgkinâ€™s Lymphoma
stage 4 â€“ which was pretty advanced already.
I was sick with cancer so the logical option was to come to Houston to the cancer center
â€“ during that same trip I did an audition for the University of Houstonâ€¦
And I sang for Peter Jacobi and Peter Jacobi offered me a full scholarship!
I was ready to goâ€¦
It was like two months before the doctors told me you canâ€™t go â€“ youâ€™re still
So they are like ok we are going to give you radiation in your neck because it is localized
in your neck but youâ€™re never going to sing again youâ€™re not going to sing again - because
we are going to damage severely your vocal chords are going to be severely burnt youâ€™re
not going to speak normally let alone sing.
So in one second my life crumbled.
And my mom was there with me and she said if you want to keep singing you have to stay
alive and the doctors are not god so just breath and go for itâ€¦ and I never lost my
voice â€“ not even during radiation â€“ nothing everything was burnt it was it was just awfulâ€¦
out of everything my vocal chords were the things that did not get damaged.
I have reasons to believe seriously that God is there and that he had plans for me and
that he wanted to show me that yesâ€¦
It doesnâ€™t matter what you go through If I have a plan for you Iâ€™ll take care of
But ultimately I beat it and I am here.
And ya know what that illness was actually has been actually one of the biggest blessings
of my life.
I found out that Americaâ€™s Got Talent was going to be holding auditions here in Houston
and I donâ€™t have to pay to go itâ€™s free so Iâ€™m gonna goâ€¦
Well I went and I ended up with a second place in Americaâ€™s Got Talent
My Debut album is finally out.
Iâ€™m very happy with the results and I hope everybody likes it.
Itâ€™s what I owed to the people that took their time and their effort to make a phone
call to vote for me and the great thing is I didnâ€™t get there by myself, I got a fan
base , friends base that got somewhere I never thought I would be and this album is precisely
dedicate to them . Sometimes we are so focused on something that
is probably not going to happen that we miss the opportunities that are right in front
I think all art is supposed to inspire is supposed to bring beauty to the world to make,
to capture reality no matter how bad it is and make it into something beautiful - thatâ€™s
what I think art and music should do, to bring beauty to the world, to nourish the soul of
every human being.
>>NEXT WEEK ON COLORES!
SCIENCE AND ART INTERSECT WITH SUSANNA CARLISLE AND BRUCE HAMILTONâ€™S CROSS POLLINATION INSTALLATION
FOR ALBUQUERQUEâ€™S 516 ARTS.
>>We cannot lose sight of the natural world because if we do, we may be the next extinction.
>>The food supply on earth is really going to be compromised if the bees disappear.
>>JUST OUTSIDE THE CITY OF DETROIT, FAMILY FARM CULTURE HAS TAKEN TO BIKE PATHS.
TWO SAINT LOUIS PHYSICIANS TEAM UP WITH ACTORS AND SET DESIGNERS TO CREATE A THEATRE PIECE
THAT EXPLORES THE BRAIN.
>>USING ADVANCED SCREEN PRINTING TECHNIQUES HEATHER SWENSON CREATES INTRICATE AND BEAUTIFUL
PRINTS ABOUT HER EVERYDAY LIFE.
>>UNTIL NEXT TIME, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by: Viewers Like You