21 color plates, 5 halftones

Creative Collectives

Chicana Painters Working in Community
By María Ochoa



A compelling blend of art history, social analysis, and personal testimony, Creative Collectives presents a new paradigm for understanding Chicana/o studies. By following the artistic and ideological journeys of two groups of northern California Chicana artists, María Ochoa argues that the women involved in these collectives created complex images whose powerful visual social commentary sprang from the daily experiences of their lives.
Ochoa's artistic narrative first focuses on Mujeres Muralistas, a pathbreaking San Francisco group of mural painters organized in the early 1970s at the height of the Chicana/o Movement. The story then turns its attention to Co-Madres Artistas, a group of artists who came together in the 1990s after spending decades tending their families, becoming successful in their careers, and launching key Chicana/o cultural institutions in the Sacramento Valley. Ochoa tells the stories of the individual members of these collectives to show how they combined art and activism.
Through an innovative application of oral history interviews, a fascinating compilation of individual and collective stories emerges. Creative Collectives is notable for its skillful weaving of personal recollections, representational analysis of mural and easel painting, and social movement narration.

Contributor Bios
María Ochoa teaches at San José State University in the Social Science Department. She is co-founder of the Research Cluster for the Study of Women of Color at the Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1999 the California State Assembly honored her as a "Woman of the Year" for her contributions in the visual arts.