Favianna Rodriguez: 2015 HIPGiver
Favianna Rodriguez, Artist and Culture Strike Executive Director Written By: Camila Guiza-Chavez
It is said that art touches a dimension of the human spirit that words alone cannot reach, and for that we have artists. Now take an artist and instill her with a deep sense of compassion and giving, and there you have Favianna Rodriguez: a real catalyst for social change.
Rodriguez is the Executive Director of Culture Strike, an online magazine and advocacy organization that mobilizes artists around issues of migrant rights. She is also a talented artist herself: she uses vibrant prints to fiercely tackle issues such as migration, globalism, economic injustice, and patriarchy. In pursuing her life’s goal, “to create profound and lasting social change in the world,” Rodriguez has been fearless in taking on new endeavors, both in the nonprofit and the small business areas in the San Francisco Bay Area. She co-founded Presente.org, an online community organizing network that works to strengthen Latino communities. She also co-founded the EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) and its public arts program, Visual Element, which trains young artists in the Mexican tradition of muralism. Rodriguez is also a cultural stategist and educator, and has participated in acitivities at the Ford Foundation in New York; School of the Art Institute in Chicago; the de Young Museum and The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco; the Habana Hip Hop Festival, in Havana, and El Faro de Oriente, in Mexico City. Rodriguez is also a teacher, and has led workshops at Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles; the de Young Museum and The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco; Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass.; the Habana Hip Hop Festival, in Havana, and El Faro de Oriente, in Mexico City. Rodriguez’s art has been exhibited at such notable venues as the Museo del Barrio, in New York City; de Young Museum and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in San Francisco; the Huntington Museum and Galería Sin Fronteras, in Austin, Texas, and in Chicago and Providence, RI. Her works have been seen abroad in Rome and Tokyo, as well as England, Belgium and Mexico. Rodriguez, who grew up in Oakland and still currently resides there, recalls being on the receiving end of people who gave selflessly, “I was the direct beneficiary of peoples’ charitable contributions; whether it was for an organization, or for a meaningful cause,” she says, recalling as an example the aid she benefitted from after graduating high school. “I received over $30,000 in scholarship money that largely had been raised thanks to individual donors,” she says. In addition, Rodriguez was able to explore her artistic talent in programs that were directly funded by individual donors. “Both my entire politicization and growth as an artist can be directly attributed to nonprofit organizations, which functioned on shoestring budgets, but that were extremely effective nonetheless,” she says. “Now in my professional art life, giving is something I have built into the way I run my art career. I want to continue the cycle of opening doors for young artists of color.”
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.