Otis College of Art and Design logo
Events
  • Otis Books is pleased to publish Tim Erickson’s debut collection of poetry, Egopolis, a textual journey through destruction, resistance, city, and the Ego, from ancient times to the present day. Erickson’s work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Salt Anthology of New Writing. He lives in Salt Lake City.

  • Otis Graduate Writing students will read from their works-in-progress.

  • David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and currently teaches at USC. He is the author of the novels Little, The Hiawatha, The Translation of Dr. Apelles, named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, as well as a critical work, Native American Fiction: A User's Manual. In 2012, he published another nonfiction work, Rez Life.

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.

O-Tube

Laton Live

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Sheri Mobley (323) 668-0874

smobley@mobleymarketing.com

laton-live

 

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY FARM TOWN INSPIRES URBAN ART STUDENTS (AND VICE VERSA)

Los Angeles-based Otis College Creates Public Art Together with Residents of Laton, CA 
Laton LIVE! on March 21 To Showcase Creative Collaboration

LOS ANGELES, CA, March 2, 2009 -- A small farming community in the San Joaquin Valley is the focus of a multidisciplinary art and design project developed by Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.  Laton, California will be the subject of a unique art installation - celebrating the town and its residents - premiering on March 21, 2009.

Led by Suzanne Lacy, noted artist, author and Chair of the Otis  Graduate Public Practice program, Otis students traveled to Laton in August 2008 to explore how art could support local agendas and contribute to the small and struggling rural community.  The San Joaquin Valley is known for having some of the highest poverty and school drop-out rates in the nation, as well as poor air quality.  Lacy, born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, was familiar with both the problems and opportunities in the Central Valley.  Consuelo Velasco, Manager of Otis Graduate Public Practice, grew up on a small farm in Laton and has focused her own Master’s research on art in rural contexts.

Otis students accustomed to life in a large metropolitan area found them selves examining global problems in an unfamiliar rural setting.  “This is an immersion course leading our students to a consideration of the cultural, economic and identity issues in one of the most misunderstood and “invisible” areas of the Golden State,” said Samuel Hoi, President of Otis College of Art and Design. 

Working with Laton residents (population 1,200), local organizations, and public schools, Otis students and faculty identified two important concerns: supporting youth in civic engagement, and building community pride.  The collaboration resulted in art projects that will soon be seen all over town, including:
 

Signs of Welcome 

When Otis student Bosuel Kim arrived in America, the first town she saw outside of Los Angeles was Laton.  After meeting Laton High School Metal Shop teacher Dale Costa, she learned that the     Welcome to Laton sign had been removed by vandals, and she set to work designing a unique new sign, now under construction by high school students.  
   

Picturing Laton
A series of photographic projects are in motion, including free family portraits taken at Christmas by Otis student Shatto Light. Raul Vega, Los Angeles-based fashion and celebrity photographer, is also     working to create a series of portraits of local residents.  Vega, born and raised in nearby Reedley, California, says “Now that I’ve been away I have a different perspective. I can see an austere beauty in Laton, a naturalness between the people and the land, creative people with vision and good intentions.“
   

Painting the Town 
Enlivening the center of Laton, student and muralist Roberto Del Hoyo has decided to literally paint the town. Local merchants are cooperating in the colorful “face lift,” all done by volunteer labor. In exchange, local residents are given coupons for exchange at another artist/community project, the Laton Free Store.
 

The Town is a Stage

“If there is a blank wall on the main street, expect it to be alive with large scale scenes of life in Laton, from dancing to cooking, working to welcoming,” says Kate Johnson, Otis faculty member and video producer who is working with students and residents on a site-specific installation: 8 wall- sized video projections of Laton residents who are, in effect, opening their doors to the surrounding region. 

The culmination of this public practice project is a free, one-time art event, Laton LIVE!, to be held in downtown Laton at sundown on March 21, 2009.  Laton’s main street will be closed to traffic, and the two-block-long downtown will be transformed with lights, live music, art displays and food, including a local favorite - grilled Portuguese sausage.  In addition, the Lions Club will sell tickets to the Laton Rodeo, and the all-volunteer fire department will celebrate its 100 Year Anniversary.

“In the face of the Wall Street meltdown, the help-your-neighbor values of rural life and the resiliency of local Main Streets gives us hope,” says Lacy of the project.  “We are getting as much, or more, out of this association as the residents,” says Otis student Nathalie Sanchez, who has worked with farm workers near Bakersfield as part of an earlier college service project.  “Through programs like this, students learn how to address complex social relationships—after all, creativity is an important part of community development.”

Otis Connects: San Joaquin Valley is part of Otis College’s Public Practice Graduate Program and the Integrated Learning Program. The San Joaquin Valley project has been partially funded by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation.

Otis Connects: San Joaquin Valley is part of Otis College’s Public Practice Graduate Program and the Integrated Learning Program.  The San Joaquin Valley project has been partially funded by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation.

 

 

About Otis

Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a national leader in art and design education. The College mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, and design stars at Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney.
 
Otis enrolls approximately 1,100 full-time students, and offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media (Game and Entertainment Design, Animation, and Motion Design), Fashion Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design), Fine Arts (Painting, Photography, and Sculpture/New Genres), Product Design, and Toy Design.  Otis also awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing.   

The five-acre main campus is located on L.A.’s Westside near the beach and LAX; Fashion Design is in the heart of the downtown fashion district; and the Graduate Studios are on the Creative Corridor in nearby Culver City and in the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.

2,700 adults and children participate in Continuing Education art and design classes and workshops.