Partners-in-Art at California State University, Fresno, is a collaborative project involving the university, local schools, arts agencies, and community participants. The project takes advantage of the San Joaquin Valley’s tremendous ethnic and cultural diversity by engaging youth through art. It also takes advantage of the university’s strong commitment to community service as an essential educational experience and vital part of campus culture. The results both reflect and shape cultural values to provide for a future that unites youth of all backgrounds.
Although the fertile San Joaquin Valley is one of the richest agricultural regions in the country, great economic disparities exist that lead to food insecurity. Some Fresno neighborhoods have extremely high concentrations of poverty. “Hungry for Art/Art for Hunger” is a major component of Partners-in-Art that seeks to combat this problem. Participants first create original artworks in multiples, such as photographs, relief prints, or ceramic bowls. Then they donate their art items to be auctioned or sold at special fundraising events. The money raised is given to community agencies that help those in need.
Visitors to the festival viewed agricultural products grown in the San Joaquin Valley, created relief prints of their favorite foods and chose their own materials and patterns for a large scale loom project.