UCR ARTSblock receives $125,000 to explore Latino science fiction

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Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER
Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER

On June 12, UCR ARTSblock was awarded a $125,000 research grant for an upcoming exhibition of work called, “Critical Utopias: The Art of Futurismo Latino.” This exhibition will explore Latino science fiction in the visual arts as a social, cultural and political critique in futuristic utopias. The research will be conducted by select arts and humanities professors at UCR. This grant comes courtesy of the Getty Museum and is part of the museum’s “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” initiative, which studies the connection between Los Angeles and Latin American culture.

“‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ raises complex and provocative issues about present-day relations between north and south and the rapidly changing social and cultural fabric of Southern California,” said President and CEO of the Getty Trust, Jim Cuno, in a press release. Thus far, the Getty Foundation has awarded $5 million to arts institutions throughout Southern California for the initiative, which will present 46 exhibitions and events from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

UCR was selected for this award based on its status as the home of the Eaton Collection, the world’s largest science fiction collection and its successful implementation of the only Science Fiction and Techno-culture Studies (STFS) program in the nation. UCR was also chosen as a recipient of this grant for its diversity and commitment to the Hispanic community.

As Sherryl Vint, a UCR English professor and the co-director of the SFTS program said in an email interview, “UCR is a Hispanic-serving institution … and the particular focus of this Getty grant thus addresses the specific local community.” The UCR research team for this project is composed of Vint, along with five other UCR faculty members. The research continues UCR’s focus on science fiction and draws on the UCR faculty (such as Vint herself) devoted to science fiction.

“Since I’ve come here (in 2012) I’ve made one of my priorities to develop programming and courses based on science fiction written by people of (color),” Vint furthered.

“Futurismo Latino” will be comprised of the exhibition galleries at UCR ARTSblock’s three venues: California Museum of Photography (CMP), Culver Center of the Arts and Sweeney Art Gallery. ARTSblock is located on 3800 Main Street in downtown Riverside.

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