Artspeak Radio with Belger Art Center, Isaac Tapia & Rodrigo Alvarez

Artspeak Radio, Wednesday, November 15, 2023, noon – 1pm CST, 90.1fm KKFI Kansas City Community Radio, streaming live audio

Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd talks with artists Isaac Tapia & Rodrigo Alvarez, and Consuelo Cruz and Paul Maloney with Belger Crane Yard.

CONSUELO CRUZ Belger Crane Vice President Marketing and Community Engagement, and PAUL MALONEY Belger Crane Yard Studio Manager
• Holiday Studio Sale and Open House November 17-18 at Belger Crane Yard Studios
• Current exhibitions: Holidays at Belger Crane Yard Gallery, Time is a Circle: Generational Craft Practices, Ways to Train Songbirds: Sticky Gold Collective. Terry Winters
• Free First Friday Glassblowing Demo December 1 with visiting artists Roberta Eichenburg and Kale Stewart
• New exhibition opens February 1, 2024 – Salvador Jiménez Florez
• Artists in residence Joel Pisowicz, Gina Pisto, Logan Reynolds + Visiting artist Jonathan Christensen Caballero (who you were kind enough to interview in 2021). They are all participating artists in the Holiday Studio Sale and Open House.
Belger Art Center 2100 Walnut St. and Belger Crane Yard 2011 Tracy Ave.

ISAAC TAPIA was born in Mexico, where he lived until moving to U.S. when he was 9. He graduated from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in 2010 and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute. In his solo artwork, Isaac focuses on portraits that celebrate important members of his community. He paints primarily with oils but also enjoys watercolor and drawing.  Isaac had a solo exhibition at the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery in 2016.  In June of 2019, he was given a four week scholarship to attend the Illustration Academy by the National Endowment for the Arts and Interurban Arthouse.

RODRIGO “RICO” ALVAREZ was born in Rivera, Uruguay and moved to Kansas City in October of 2002,. He graduated from the Paseo Academy Of Fine and Performing Arts in May of 2007 and studied graphic design at Metropolitan Community College. In his solo artwork, Rodrigo explores the persistence and relentless force of Mother Earth by fusing organic figures into metal sculptures. By bending, melting, and bracing commonly used metals into harmonic organisms he hopes to portray the balance, power, and adaptability of nature.

IT-RA is a collaboration of Kansas City Muralist Isaac Tapia and Rodrigo Alvarez. The Duo began working together in the summer of 2017, when they were commissioned two murals at the Richardson Early Learning Center.
Since then the artists have been commissioned to paint over 40 Murals in the KC metro area. Their diverse body of work is united by vibrant colors, evolving designs and themes that celebrate their communities and honor their identities as artists who migrated to the US at a very young age.
In 2022, IT-RA Icons was selected among a cohort of vendors to paint a selection of murals at the Kansas City International Airport by Vantage Airport Group. The project quickly evolved to cover 5 walls with 9 murals, and the collaboration with our friends of the arts on 9 unique bench designs. The body of work for the murals encompasses icons, figures, memories, and experiences through our lens growing up and living in Kansas City.

Currently, Issac Tapia and Rodrigo Alvarez work is on exhibit, A Layered Presence at the Nelson Atkins Museum now through September 2024. Artists and art are multilayered.
Each artist in this exhibition is a nuanced individual, with many layers informing their identity and the stories they tell through their art. Among them are their experiences, passions, and roles in our community. These layers are interwoven with strong personal ties to Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Uruguay, and Peru.
Like the artists themselves, their art is also multifaceted—composed of layers of subject matter, materials, and meaning.  At the intersection of these layers, there is evidence of lived experiences. Artists also reckon with immigration and LGBTQIA+ issues as well as address family dynamics, ancestral relationships, healing, place, and more. While some of these layers reveal, others purposefully protect and conceal.
The power to authentically tell one’s own story is significant. It can foster connection, promote understanding, preserve history, and signify resilience. For this exhibition, the artists wrote labels to accompany their art and recorded audio interviews. Using the Smartify app, scan a work of art to hear more from each artist.

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