Alta Live: The Fresno Vibe—Art, Poetry, and Free Expression

A collection of poets and artists join Alta Live for a conversation on who is creating art in, about, and influenced by Fresno—and what it says about Central Californian culture.

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This Alta Live featured Fresno Artists Teresa Flores, Anthony Cody, Joseph Rios, and moderator Sara Borjas. If you missed any part of our conversation, you can catch up right here.

Here are some notable quotes from the event:

  • On creating art in unexpected places: “We have so little, so in some way we have everything and nothing to lose. And for me, that’s this weird balance of having the ability to risk everything, because it can’t get any worse—right, it can’t get any worse than writing a poem for no money when you have no money, when you have bad air…knowing that if you don’t do anything, no one’s going to think twice or blink twice. Because that is anticipated here, to get swallowed up.” Anthony Cody
  • On history and feeling connected beyond Fresno: “So many peoples have come here, be it Armenians or Cambodians or Hmong or people facing actual execution, have found or made home here. That’s also a part of that interconnectedness—these global movements of peoples find themselves here and find safety here.” Joseph Rios
  • On the Experimental Quesadilla Lab and art that travels: “You can make the art out there in public, and then you can take it back home, and it redistributes. Cooking is an art, and it is a way of expressing yourself as well. So that’s where I am in this idea of social practice and art. And that’s what I enjoy doing as a part of my work. I like drawing and painting on my own, but I really like being able to make these spaces in public for people to use their imaginations and then go off and do it on their own. That’s something that can plant some seeds for the future.” Teresa Flores
  • On clarifying the narrative: “I do feel a responsibility to let people know what kind of people live in Fresno, and not just the people who grow your food and pick it but the people—like each other in the Zoom—who help you through personal hardships.… We work together in art, but there’s something about being working-class and from that—we don’t just look out for each other in art; you look out for each other in life, materially. And I want people to know and to respect that type of generosity and that type of dignity we regard each other with. And my hope is that my work will garner that dignity for people who don’t get to experience it.” Sara Borjas

    Check out these links to some of the topics Flores, Cody, Rios, and Borjas brought up

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