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¡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.”

AIRED: August 15, 2017 | 0:26:14
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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 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

from.

>>THE GENERATOR IS AN INCLUSIVE ART SPACE THAT INVITES PEOPLE TO BUILD THEIR DREAMS.

>>PATSY CLINE ‘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, “AMERICAN MASTERS.”

>>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.”

IT’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

your education.

>>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

at, right?

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

like permaculture.

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

an educator?

>>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

from, right?

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

homes?

>>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 “THE GENERATOR” 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.

It’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 friend’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 there’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 it’s so fantastic to

think that we have a 4000 square foot woodshop, a 3000 square foot metal shop, a laser cutter,

there’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: We’re really excited to see businesses form here and take their business and create

it in the real world but we’ve tried to create a space where you don’t have to worry

about money.

>>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 don’t think a lot of us are used to working in a world where the sky’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 there’s a tool to build just about anything

here.

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

books.

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

of Liberty.

There’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.

There’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

creative.

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.

>>She’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 can’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 didn’t take no for an answer and I sort of learned that through

her.

>>Michael Kantor: Her pioneering spirit within the music industry is something we should

celebrate.

I find her story incredibly inspiring and I don’t know anyone who’s heard her music

who doesn’t just love it.

(music)

>>And to bring back Patsy Cline in a deep way, not in a let’s just do one song.

But let’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 there’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

performances.

Sadly, the Arthur Godfrey show visuals, gone, couldn’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 wouldn’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 Cline’s mom and Patsy

singing and she wins the contest and it changes her career.

(music)

>>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 she’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 it’s that kind of grit and resilience, of course her amazing talent that wins out.

>>Barbara Hall: I think one of the things we’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 don’t want to do anything to damage it.

(music)

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 she’s done for me what truly Is, no pitty parties from me.

I mean it’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, I’m think, I’m hoping that I take that away.

(laughs)

(music)

>>BARBARA PADILLA WAS TOLD SHE MIGHT NEVER SING AGAIN.

>>“Here is Barbara Padilla…”

>>BARBARA PADILLA: Music is the reason I think God still has me here –

Music is my motivation – it’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 childhood…

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 to…

That music trapped me and never let go and I just knew I could sing it and I wanted to

sing it.

I was studying music – I was in the school of music when I realized that I had some bumps

around my neck and I thought, because they didn’t hurt, and a doctor saw me, a surgeon

saw me and he didn’t like what he saw, and I was diagnosed as a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

stage 4 – which was pretty advanced already.

I was sick with cancer so the logical option was to come to Houston to the cancer center

– during that same trip I did an audition for the University of Houston…

And I sang for Peter Jacobi and Peter Jacobi offered me a full scholarship!

I was ready to go…

It was like two months before the doctors told me you can’t go – you’re still

sick.

So they are like ok we are going to give you radiation in your neck because it is localized

in your neck but you’re never going to sing again you’re not going to sing again - because

we are going to damage severely your vocal chords are going to be severely burnt you’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 it… and I never lost my

voice – not even during radiation – nothing everything was burnt it was it was just awful…

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 yes…

It doesn’t matter what you go through If I have a plan for you I’ll take care of

it.

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 America’s Got Talent was going to be holding auditions here in Houston

and I don’t have to pay to go it’s free so I’m gonna go…

Well I went and I ended up with a second place in America’s Got Talent

My Debut album is finally out.

I’m very happy with the results and I hope everybody likes it.

It’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 didn’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

of us.

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 - that’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 HAMILTON’S CROSS POLLINATION INSTALLATION

FOR ALBUQUERQUE’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

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