SON CUATRO: Cheech in Conversation with CiCi Segura González

SON CUATRO: Cheech in Conversation with CiCi Segura González

CiCi Segura González is the featured artist in this episode of the Son Cuatro: In Conversation podcast co-hosted by art advocate Cheech Marin with Todd Wingate, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at Riverside Art Museum and Cris Scorza, the Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Arts marketing strategist Melissa Richardson Banks of CauseConnect — who also manages Cheech Marin’s notable Chicano art collection — is the moderator and producer of this series.

Part of RAM’s continued programming leading up to its opening of The Cheech, Son Cuatro: In Conversation is focused on sharing the work and the stories of Chicana/o/x artists, gaining their insights, and helping to inspire more community interaction and support for The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of Riverside Art Museum. Syndicated nationally through Richardson Banks’ MUSED: LA 2 HOU platform, this inaugural four-part series is made possible through the generosity of the Union Pacific Foundation.

Each artist conversation is recorded live with an audience via Zoom and edited into a separate audio episode. The programs are available for listening through RAM’s website at www.riversideartmuseum.org/soncuatro and on nationally syndicated podcast platforms such as Apple, Pandora, Google, iHeart Radio, and others.

Check out CiCi’s work on her social media: Instagram and Facebook. Her work was most recently shown at Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, which was the final venue of the nationally touring exhibition “Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper from the Cheech Marin Collection” now headed for its new home in Riverside.

Enjoy the conversation.

~ Melissa Richardson Banks

EPISODE NOTES

In 2012, art writer and provocateur Mat Gleason called Melissa Richardson Banks and asked if she would stop by his Chinatown gallery Coagula Curatorial. He had a show at the time featuring work by Leigh Salgado (whom he later married) and CiCi Segura González. When Melissa texted images of CiCi’s work to Cheech, he immediately asked her to buy them for him (that is also when he first purchased work by Leigh). CiCi’s works were from her “Bad Thoughts” series (“Cyclops” and “Musical Chairs”) which Cheech then placed in the nationally touring exhibition Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection. When ChimMaya Gallery hosted a book signing for the Chicanitas catalog about a year later (October 3, 2013), Cheech saw “Soy Chicana” and purchased it on site for his collection.

ABOUT CICI SEGURA GONZÁLEZ: Primarily an abstract artist, CiCi Segura González also paints figurative work using oil, acrylic, and watercolor, and utilizes printmaking techniques to create woodcuts, etchings, and monoprints. She studied art at East Los Angeles College, working with artist mentors such as Roberto Chavez, Dale Maix, and Uli Boege. Like many Chicano artists, she printed at L.A.’s Self-Help Graphics under the guidance of Sister Karen Boccalero and has taught at-risk youth. She has worked for many companies such as the Walt Disney Company as an in-house graphic designer, storyboard artist, fashion illustrator, and art director. For the annual Trópico de Nopal Calavera Fashion Show in Los Angeles, she has created costumes over the years in homage to art icons such as Rufino Tamayo and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Widely collected internationally, her artwork is also included in major U.S. publications and private collections. Segura González studied art through private schools and East Los Angeles College in California in addition to working and printing at Self Help Graphics Studio in Los Angeles, California. For seven years, she was an Artist-in-Residence with L.A.-based nonprofit foundation, Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, teaching visual arts to at-risk youth and incarcerated teens. She holds a fascination with uncharted territory and infinite space. Her work explores the worlds of the ocean, the universe, and the human mind with its labyrinth of secrets. When painting, Segura González says she “begins a journey with no direction but with definite purpose: expression and sensation without words.” Her work is featured on the catalog cover for the nationally touring exhibition Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper from the Cheech Marin Collection.

ABOUT THE CO-HOSTS

Cheech Marin is recognized today as a preeminent Chicano art advocate. In the mid-1980s, he began developing what is now arguably the finest private collection of Chicano art. Much of it formed the core of his inaugural exhibition Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, which broke attendance records during its groundbreaking 15‐city tour during 2001‐2007 to major U.S. art museums. He states, “Chicano art is American art. My goal is to bring the term ‘Chicano’ to the forefront of the art world.” Following the success of Chicano Visions, over a dozen additional exhibitions drawn from his collection have toured to more than 50 museums in the United States and Europe under the direction of Melissa Richardson Banks (many accompanied by independently published catalogs). Best known as one half of the hilariously irreverent, satirical, counter-culture, no-holds-barred duo Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin is a paradox in the world of entertainment — he is an actor, director, writer, musician, art collector, and humanitarian.

Cris Scorza: As the Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Cris Scorza provides vision, leadership, and strategic direction for the education program that supports the museum’s goals, exhibitions, and permanent collection. Scorza oversees four program areas: interpretation and research; public programs; school, youth, family programs; and access and community programs. In addition, she plays an active role in the Whitney’s Latinx initiatives and the museum’s evolving Spanish language bilingual efforts. Scorza creates programs for diverse communities that incite inquiry, build self-esteem, foster an interest in art history, and respond to a contemporary culture centered on equity and inclusion. She has worked in renowned New York institutions, including the New Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and ten years of audience development at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. At MCASD, Scorza and her team implemented a variety of programs tailored to the surrounding community, including collaborations with artists and arts organizations in the U.S./Mexico border region, leadership development for teens with an emphasis on social justice, and cutting-edge work with combat troops recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Scorza has curated social practice exhibitions and community-centered collaborations at MCASD, such as Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream (2020); To Do • A Mending Project (2019); and Sanctuary Print Shop (2018). As an arts administrator, she developed and managed a range of exhibitions, including Photography in Mexico: Selections from the Collection (2013); Alvaro Blancarte: Marking the Present (2015), DELIMITATIONS: A Survey of the 1821 United States-Mexico Border (2016); and Papel Chicano Dos: Works of Paper from the Cheech Marin Collection (2016). She has also authored essays on “Las Hermanas Iglesias, Ramiro Gomez, John Valadez, and Daniel Guzman.” Scorza has served on several professional and civic committees, including the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Art Advisory Committee, Museums & Race Steering Committee, and San Diego Civic Youth Ballet Diversity and Inclusion Advisory. Born in Mexico City, Scorza studied painting at the Faculty of Arts and Design, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She holds a BA in arts administration and art history from Baruch College, CUNY, an MA in leadership in museum education from Bank Street College of Education, and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University.

Todd Wingate has been the Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Riverside Art Museum since 2016. Prior to coming to the Riverside Art Museum, Wingate served as the Assistant Dean of Students at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). He spent a total of 18 years at UCR and originally arrived there to direct the performing arts program and curated 15 seasons, presenting artists across multiple art forms, including authors Maya Angelou and David Sedaris, musicians Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and Kronos Quartet, choreographers Bill T. Jones, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and popular groups, such as Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos, Dianne Reeves, and Perla Batalla. While at UCR, Wingate was responsible for oversight of the construction and management of the $55 million Highlander Union (UCR’s student union) and developed and produced the Heat Music Festival, a multistage rock, electronic, and hip hop festival with an annual attendance of over 13,000. Wingate currently serves as Vice President and Chief Administrator for the Wingate Foundation and is on the board of directors of the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Craft.

Melissa Richardson Banks is an arts marketing specialist who has managed Cheech Marin’s notable Chicano art collection since 2005. In addition to handling his speaking engagements, community events, and professional commitments, she has worked with Cheech to organize, market, and tour more than 13 exhibitions of works from his collection to over 50 museums nationwide and in Europe. Her firm CauseConnect celebrates its 20th anniversary of “doing business by doing good” in October 2021. She specializes in creating strategic marketing partnerships and is known for designing innovative, cost-effective solutions that produce results — from raising funds to raising awareness. In addition to Cheech, she works with corporate and nonprofit clients on projects in the arts, education, and the environment. As Downtown Muse, Melissa is also an independent cultural producer and a seasoned marketing professional. She plans, creates, funds and executes events, programs and projects such as museum exhibits, community festivals, virtual and in-person speaker series, classical music concerts, influencer dinners and salons. To date, she has produced, marketed, managed, and/or funded over 100 museum exhibits, and managed several national tours of traveling exhibits and art shows. She is also a lifestyle photographer who blogs about the arts at www.DowntownMuse.com. Her work online can be seen on Instagram as @DowntownMuse.

SPECIAL THANKS

  • Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli generously allowed use of clips from his song “LaLaLa” for the intro and outro of this podcast.
  • Eva Crawford designed the logo for “Son Cuatro: In Conversation” and created the episode artwork.
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