A Low Brow Art Show proved to be more than its name, a form of art that pokes fun at convention, would suggest. The show, held in CSUN’s Grand Salon, attracted numerous visitors each of whom paid five dollars to gaze at the beautiful artwork created by local Chicano artists. The proceeds went to benefit undocumented students.
Sponsored by Jarritos, a popular Mexican soft drink, and hosted by Dreams to be Heard, an undocumented student support group at CSUN, the exhibit showcased many craftworks that were for sale. All entry fees and half of the proceeds from purchased artwork went towards the Adelante California Scholarship Foundation, which assists undocumented students in furthering their education.
The art show also featured petitions in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The DREAM Act would allow immigrant students who graduate from high school and are of upstanding moral character to earn conditional permanent residency in the U.S.
The Act benefits AB 540 or undocumented students in California’s higher education system who are ineligible for financial aid and barred from applying for state credentials among others. The organization Dreams to be Heard was selling T-shirts and posters in support of the DREAM Act.
Paintings, posters and decorative hand-made jewelry were also on sale at the show. Former Chicano studies graduate Jake Prendez was one of the artists whose work was displayed in the exhibit. Prendez was able to spread the word about the art show through MySpace and Facebook. Prendez said he was really happy with the turnout. He understands the importance of education and wants AB 540 students to have the same opportunities as other U.S. citizens.
‘We want to create a way for all students to be eligible to go to college,’ Prendez said.
The majority of Prendez’s paintings were up for sale. His work was similar in style to the Chicano art he grew up with and some of his art was stencil-like portraits of his family.
Fellow artist John Carlos de Luna also had his artwork on display. The muralist was committed to making his work as meaningful and important as the exhibit.
‘I think it’s my responsibility as an artist to give my work to a cause,’ Luna said. ‘So it can be something that has a meaning and can be used for many positive things.”
Luna sold posters for ten dollars, the money going towards the scholarships. He noted that education is important for everyone.
Prenez’s wife, Esbeydy Cruz, manned the entrance of the art show. She took money and handed out samples of the satirical magazine ‘Puro Pedo’ of which her husband is Editor and Chief.’ Cruz volunteered her services to help pass the DREAM Act and to aid the AB 540 students especially. She is a strong advocate for the Adelante California scholarship and feels the art show will help.
‘We chose that organization because they sponsor AB 540 students regardless of college,’ Cruz said.
Cruz says that it’s ‘ridiculously hard’ for undocumented students to afford higher education and obtain meaningful careers due to the limitations placed on them.
Diego Martinez, a CSUN mechanical engineering senior, wanted to attend the show but wasn’t able to. Martinez was once an AB 540 student until he received residency four months ago. He understands the frustration of not being able to get certain jobs or financial aid because he was undocumented at the time. Martinez isn’t sure the art show is enough to help.
‘I feel that it can’t raise enough money,’ Martinez said.’ ‘ ‘
Regardless of the monetary outcome of the art show, the turnout for the event brought together people from many different walks of life, various ethnicities and cultures, who offered their support for a cause.