Art Travels: Images from CalArts MFA Artists Charmaine Bee and Maya Beaudry

Last summer as part of The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Travel Grant, Charmaine Bee (Art MFA 17) and Maya Beaudry (Art MFA 17) traveled to Beaufort, South Carolina, and the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, respectively, to conduct research and create work.

Beaudry traveled to Nelson Island in British Columbia, where she and her partner spent two months building a 10 x 10 studio from the ground up on a plot of land acquired by her parents in 1996. Through the building process on this island, which is accessible only by boat, Beaudry overcame multiple physical, logistical and emotional challenges and explored deeply the symbiotic relationship between mental states and living spaces, a central theme in her art practice. She hopes that the studio, which is near completion, will be a way to connect her CalArts friends, collaborators and Los Angeles community with British Columbia.

South Carolina native Bee drove across the country, from California through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and the Carolinas, in order to further her research on the historic and present-day dangers and vulnerabilities of traveling for African Americans. Bee referred to The Green Book Negro Travelers Guide (1936-66), a manual for safety for African Americans traveling within the United States during the Jim Crow era, and visited the sites described in The Green Book. During her journey, Bee expanded her itinerary to include visits to historically African-American business districts, significant libraries and historic collections, and tourist homes–private homes rented to African-American travelers when Jim Crow laws prohibited their stay in hotels. She plans to continue her research and create an installation work using sound, sculpture and performance.

The work of artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who taught at CalArts in 1990, often referenced concepts of travel and the potential to find meaning and different perspectives by changing settings and locations. The grant named in his honor is awarded to students in the School of Art who wish to travel domestically or internationally to pursue an artistic project.

Applications for the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Travel Grant for the summer of 2017 are due on March 23, 2017. For additional information and application instructions, contact the School of Art.

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