The University of Wisconsin- Whitewater’s Department of Art and Design with support from the Visiting Artists Fund, welcome Cruz Enrique Espana, an internationally acclaimed folk artist to campus. He will give a free public lecture on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from 3:15- 4:45pm in the Greenhill Center of the Arts Ceramics Area Room 1037. The public is welcome.
Cruz Enrique Espana (b. 1950) is an internationally acclaimed folk artist from Antigua, Guatemala. He is the eldest of ten children whose father was the Antiguan potter Jose Guillermo Espana. Enrique began working in his father’s ceramic factory as a child, and though the expectation was that he would someday take over his father’s business, Enrique dreamt of being an artist in his own right. Upon marrying his wife, Enrique broke from his father’s business, opened up his own factory, and began to make one of a kind ceramic sculpture. His community was in disbelief, for clay was not considered an artistic medium. But Enrique’s work sold, and soon he was invited to participate in folk art exhibitions within Guatemala and abroad. He was invited to travel to Mexico, then Cost Rica and eventually the U.S.A. More invitations followed from Germany, Taiwan, and Italy. Enrique again visited and taught the in United States. He continued traveling, exhibiting, and teaching for the span of his career, and after over 60 years of working with clay, he is still a highly prolific and internationally recognized artist. His visionary art work and widespread international attention has enabled Cruz Enrique Epana to become the pride of Antiguan ceramics.
Of particular note, is that Enrique identifies, first and foremost, as a teacher. He loves learning, and mentors learners of all ages as they find their way with clay. He has been doing so for as long as he has been working within the medium. Currently, Mr. Espana has taken on the responsibility of mentoring fifteen women from Fuego, Guatemala, a town that was devastated, in June 2018, by the eruption of Volcan de Fuego. Many of the women in this group lost their homes or were widowed during the natural disaster. The goal of Enrique’s mentorship is to enable the women to establish a ceramics cooperative so that they can replace the significant loss of security they have endured during the past eighteen months. The UW-W ARTSTUDIO 251 (Ceramics I) classes, along with the Ceramics Guild, ENACTUS, the College of Business, and the Department of Languages and Literature, are partnering in a Community-Based Learning project with Mr. Espana, LaUnion Spanish School Entrepreneurship Program (Antigua, Guatemala), and the fifteen women from Fuego, Guatemala, in order to realize this goal, and is a part of a greater alliance among these groups that has been named the Quetzal Collaborative.
The public lecture by folk artist Cruz Enrique Espana on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from 3:15- 4:45pm in the Greenhill Center of the Arts Ceramics Area Room 1037 is free and open to the public.