Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Judith Francisca Baca, native Angeleno, is a visual artist, an arts activist, a community leader and a professor of visual art.
As a visual artist, Judith Baca is best known for her large-scale public murals. Her art involves extensive community organizing and participation, addressing multi-cultural audiences. In the internationally known GREAT WALL OF LOS ANGELES mural in the Tujunga Wash Flood Control Channel, Baca designed a work which incorporated 40 ethnic scholars, 450 multi-cultural neighborhood youth, 40 assisting artists and over 100 support staff to paint a half mile long mural on the ethnic history of California. Painted over five summers, this exciting work describes decade by decade the contributions and struggles of California's diverse peoples from prehistoric times to the 1950's. Unique among murals in its conceptual approach, the GREAT WALL also provided an educational program of training in inter-racial relations for the project's participants and for the people in the surrounding community.
Recently completed works include an interactive digital mural for the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a social justice high school located in downtown Los Angeles, the Cesar Chavez Memorial at San Jose State University, the Robert F. Kennedy Monument at the Ambassador Hotel site (the site of Kennedy’s assassination), which is now the LAUSD K-12 RFK Community Schools, the Central American Resource and Education Center (CARECEN), Central American Resource and Education Center (CARECEN), the Durango Latino Education Coalition, the Venice Boardwalk, the Denver International Airport, the University of Southern California, the Baldwin Park Metrolink station, international exhibition entitled “Art of the Other Mexico” and an interior mural for the Southern California Gas Company's new downtown Los Angeles headquarters. Baca continues to work on the WORLD WALL: A VISION OF THE FUTURE WITHOUT FEAR, seven 10 foot by 30 foot portable mural panels on canvas. This 210-foot mural in seven parts addresses contemporary issues of global importance; war, peace, cooperation, interdependence, and spiritual growth. As the WORLD WALL tours the world, additional panels by artists from different countries will be added to complete this visual tribute to the “Global Village.” Completed panels include artists' work from Finland, Russia, a joint effort from Palestine and Israel and Mexico; currently the Canadian artist team is completing their contribution to the traveling mural.
Baca's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, published in numerous periodicals, journals, and books, and documented in several films. She has received awards and recognition for her work from community groups such as the California Community Foundation, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the AFL/CIO, the California State Assembly, the United States Senate and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Baca was the recipient of the 2010 National Award in Public Art presented by Americans for the Arts and the Public Art Network; the 2012 Mario F. Vasquez Leadership Award from AFLCIO (Los Angeles County Federation of Labor), recognized for exceptional leadership skills that encourage future generations of Latino labor activists; the 2012 Outstanding Latino/a Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education; the 2003 Education Award from the National Hispanic Heritage Awards and a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a founding faculty member of the new California State University- Monterey Bay, where she helped to develop a Visual and Public Art Institute. After 13 years at UC Irvine in Studio Arts, she now serves a Senior Professor in the UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana & Chicano Studies and the UCLA World Arts and Cultures Department. To advance the field of muralism, in 1996 Baca created the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital/Mural Lab, a research, teaching and production facility based at SPARC.
Recent Awards and Achievements
Mario F. Vasquez, Cinco de Mayo Leadership Award, May 2012
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFLCIO
Recognized for exceptional leadership skills that encourage future generations of Latino labor activists.
Los Angeles, CA
Urban Legend Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, April 2012
LA Mart Design Center, Source Galleries
Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Latino/a Award, March 2011
AAHHE (American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education)
Cultural Award in the Fine and Performing Arts.
San Antonio, TX
National Award in Public Art, June 2010
Presented by Americans for the Arts and the Public Art Network.
InnerCity Struggle "Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez Activist Scholar Award", October 2009
6th Annual Awards Dinner and Celebration “15 Years of Community Organizing in the Eastside.”
Los Angeles, CA
Judy Chicago’s “Through the Flower” Feminist Pioneer Award, September 2009
Recognized for contributions to feminist art movement. Through the Flower is one of the ten Founding Program Partners of The Feminist Art Project housed at Rutgers University
Champions of Change Award, May 2009
Corky Gonzalez's Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios
White House Visit, May 2009
Invited to the White House for Arts, Community, Social Justice and National Recovery Briefing
CA Senator Jenny Oropeza Selection for Artist of Distinction Award, April 2009
UCLA Chancellor Visit, March 2009
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block visit to the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab
Georgia College State University Residency, March 2009
Self Help Graphics Master Artist Series, 2008
“Absolutely Chicana” Print Series produced by Judith F. Baca.
Los Angeles, CA
Cesar E. Chavez Monument “Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice,” September 2008
Monument dedication of San Jose State University
San Jose, CA
Walt Disney Concert Hall – Mexico City’s Philharmonic Orchestra, 2008
Designed the visual presentation for Disney Hall on Los Angeles Murals and America Tropical and collaborated with two UCLA Professors: Jose Luis Valenzuela for the premiere of composer UCLA Prof. Steve Loza’s piece inspired by David Alfaro Siqueiros “America Tropical.”
Los Angeles, CA
Provincetown Residency: Gaea Foundation's Sea Change Residencies, August 2007
UCLA Latino Alumni Association: Madrina Award, 2007
The Brian P. Copenhaver Award, Innovation in Teaching with Technology, May 2007
College of Letters and Science, UCLA
KCET “Women's History Month,” March 23, 2006
Los Angeles, CA. Awarded the 2006 Local Hero of the Year .
Stanford Diversity in the Arts Program, winter 2006.
This residency at Stanford Univ. will include a commission to produce a new mural for the Chicano Center on Campus.
McKoll Art Center Charlotte North Carolina Artist in Residence Fellowship Winter 2005
Selected through a national competition to participate in a residency, which will culminate in an exhibition at MAC.
Featured in May 24th issue of People Magazine, 2004
“Back to the Wall, Artist Judith F. Baca“
John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2003
Fellowship Term, September 1, 2003 – June 30, 2004
Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College 2002
Distinguished scholars/artists reside on campus to convene with faculty and students.
Commission on the Status of Women, 2002
The County of Santa Clara's Commission on the Status of women award for Outstanding Female Role Model for 2002 is given each year to women who are making a positive difference in the quality of life for many.
Hispanic Heritage Awards, 2001
Educator of the Year Award recipient at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC
Liberty Hill Foundation, 2001
Creative Vision Award recipient at annual Upton Sinclair Dinner
California Community Foundation, 2001
Selected as one of 85 Unsung Heroes of nonprofit community and featured in the Foundation's annual report
Women's Museum, 2000
Honored in “Unforgettable Women” exhibition in museum in association with the Smithsonian Institute