Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez is the Executive Director of MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana an inclusive contemporary arts space located in downtown San Jose, CA. At MACLA she’s institutionalized the organization’s commitment to commission significant new work annually and use art as a vehicle to bring people of various socio, economic and cultural backgrounds together to promote social change. In 2011 she partnered with the Black Eyed Peas and Adobe to launch a free digital media youth academy at MACLA.
Anjee has worked as a curator, writer and cultural worker in the Bay Area for the past twenty years. Curatorial highlights include projects with artists Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Teddy Cruz, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Consuelo Jimenez-Underwood, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Favianna Rodriguez, and the Tijuana-based artists collective Torolab. In 2007, she was the guest curator for the Oakland Museum of California’s annual Days of the Dead exhibition, Ancient Roots/Urban Journeys.
She has served as a nominator, juror and panelist for the 3ARTS Awards, Creative Capital, Creative Work Fund, and Alliance of Artists Communities and presented at conferences including: ArtPlace (2014), Grantmakers in the Arts (2009, 2011), and the Ford Foundation’s 2010 Space for Change convening. Anjee served as an advisor to the William and Flora Hewett Foundation’s Bay Area Cultural Asset Mapping project. She is an advisor for the Knight Foundation’s National Arts Advisory Committee which guides the foundation on the best ways to promote artistic excellence that engages, inspires and brings communities together. Anjee earned a BFA in pictorial studies from San Jose State University and holds a MA in Visual Criticism from California College of the Arts.
- “40 Under 40” Award from the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal 2009
- Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar that helps donors make informed philanthropy decisions named MACLA as one of the 21 most effective and highest-impact arts and culture organizations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area in both 2012 and 2010.
- MACLA’s facebook page
- San Jose Mercury News – ArtPlace Grant to MACLA
- San Jose Mercury News – Peapod Academy at MACLA
- NBC – Peapod Academy at MACLA
About Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez’s Thesis Project
Homeland Insecurities: Diaspora and the Public Sphere
This catalog selection features two excerpts from a larger project that explores the nature of diaspora and diasporic public spheres. The first excerpt focuses on local markets in the San Francisco Bay Area and defines a key theoretical term for the larger project. I use the markets as a starting point in understanding the visual dynamics of diaspora as encountered in everyday life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The second excerpt focuses on the piece Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (English Version) by the Atlas Group, shown at the international art exhibition Documenta 11. The analysis of Hostage serves as an example of the dynamics at play within a diasporic public sphere. Together these two examples begin to address the ways in which people connect to their homelands and how homelands are represented from a distance.