Why This Matters: Artist Rosalía Torres-Weiner is making the arts more accessible by using her Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio to take art directly to Charlotte communities.
By Giovanna Torres
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
“Art is not only in museums.”
The phrase, which decorates Rosalía Torres-Weiner’s new mobile art truck, takes on a deeper meaning as the truck makes its way through the city of Charlotte and surrounding communities.
From a distance it might look like a food truck, but Torres-Weiner and her self-funded Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio are not part of the food industry.
“I wanted to bring the arts to our community,” said Torres-Weiner, a self-described “ARTivist” and well-known community leader, “especially now that people are afraid to go out to buy groceries and bread. My idea is to bring the arts to underserved neighborhoods and provide art workshops, especially for children. Art is powerful and not just to hang on the wall. It’s a weapon to express our stories.”
Torres-Weiner’s art is known for having bright and vibrant colors, as well as references to her Mexican roots and Latino culture. Throughout the years, she has participated in many local projects and exhibits, and says some of her best work has emerged when working with her community – you need look no further than her “Papalote Project” mural and her “The Magic Kite” story (with the theatrical version produced by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte) to understand what she means. Her creative process is constantly fueled by community engagement.
That’s where the art studio comes in.
Torres-Weiner had wanted to buy a truck for six years. When she painted murals in the streets, people would stop by and ask her where they could find her art. All of a sudden, her own answer gave her an idea.
“I want to come where YOU are,” she recalled.
It wasn’t an easy find; the truck came from Los Angeles. Her husband and son drove it to Charlotte in three and a half days. The 24-foot step van (similar to a food truck) was already outfitted with lights, speakers, an LCD TV Monitor and an 8-x8-foot awning.
So what plans does she have in mind for her biggest project yet? Besides using her mobile art studio to bring a variety of workshops (including visual arts, music, performing arts and cultural heritage programming) to targeted locations, she wants to offer mini-residencies to other artists, providing them the ability to connect with the community and engage them directly in the arts in their own neighborhoods.
“I am all for my people because, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have these stories to tell,” she said.
When asked what inspires her, she didn’t hesitate: “My inspiration is our colors, our people, their stories, passions, and struggles.”
You can expect to see more of Torres-Weiner and her Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio around town, especially in the summer. She already has a full agenda, including several workshops, arts programming and lots of “artivism.” Follow her Facebook page for more information and for the upcoming locations of the Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio.