I was born in Santiago, Chile, lived in Mexico City for 15 years, and since 1988, I have lived and worked in inner-city communities in the south Bronx, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. I have sought to integrate my love for people and that natural world through my work as a pastor and an artist. I co-founded the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts as a vehicle for that work.
While I work with watercolor and have worked on large scale painted mural projects, my true passion is creating mosaics, both large and small.
Mosaics have been made since the first testimonies of human life in the world. Since those times, mosaic have been used as artistic expression of what is relevant for people and their communities. Empty walls can become voices for everyone in our communities. In my experience, to make mosaics can be the most collective and participative form of art. These are some of the virtues of this art form that I have discovered:
I have led mosaic projects with elementary and high schools, universities, senior centers, youth programs, churches and neighborhood groups. Projects I have led include:
Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis, MN:
With administration, neighborhood and faculty from three departments (Spanish, ESL and Health Careers), we created a 53’ mosaic mural on the handicapped ramp and several mosaic mini-murals for concrete garbage and recycling containers on the campus. The mural depicts a river of immigration of families to Minneapolis and the high school. In the river are individual seeds designed by students, telling their family story, connected with water images created as a group.
Minneapolis Area Synod:
I worked to create a mosaic triptych that connected to the themes of the assembly: Loving the Earth, Ending Hunger, Building Community. I completed two of the 5’ x 3’ panels in my studio, and then guided people at the assembly to create the third one. Close to 100 people participated in the fabrication, which has since travelled to various churches.
Austin, MN Arts Festival:
For six years, I was a teaching artist at the Festival, creating mosaics with hundreds of residents. These installations grace flower pots on Main Street and panels in schools and the city center/.
Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center:
For five years, I have worked with participants who have MS and other debilitating diseases create mosaics for their gathering and activity spaces. I have trained youth artists to partner with center participants, who may not be able to physically manipulate tools, but whose artistic vision can flourish in a cooperative setting.
Other commissions and residencies include:
I trained and mentored mosaic groups at Edina Community, Holy Trinity, Gethsemane, and Redeemer Lutheran Churches, and guided them in creating public art on their campuses.
I was the principal designer of St. Paul’s Lutheran’s (Minneapolis) Peace Garden, which integrated art, fruit trees, pollinator gardens and gathering space in a green space next to the sanctuary.