May 27, 2020 — An interview of J. Leigh Garcia, (2015, B.F.A., Studio Art: Printmaking) appears in Juxtapoze Art and Culture Magazine in the In Session section. The article, Leigh Garcia: A Commitment to Social Activism Through Art at Kent State, Garcia talks about the quick escalation of the pandemic and "even though the semester is over and grades submitted, there’s a lot of unfinished business. In a way, I think we all need some closure on the experience." Garcia is an assistant professor at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, in the School of Art.
"When we first transitioned to remote instruction and that state of Ohio issued a “stay-at-home” order, all of my energy went into teaching. I rewrote projects, navigated virtual communication, and made sure my students could access materials. It was a really stressful few weeks because I was not only figuring out logistics of how to move online but also because I felt a strong sense of moral and ethical responsibility. How much could I have expected of my students when so many had lost their jobs, were forced to move out of their dorms and were struggling with their mental health, all at the same time. Not to mention they were dealing with the fear of themselves and their loved ones actually getting the virus. As a professor, I always push my students to reach their full potential, but during a pandemic, supporting them on a personal level feels more important. The question of how to balance course expectations and personal support weighed heavily on me and still does. Because of that, it’s been hard to focus on my personal artwork." Read the article.
More about Garcia
Garcia is an artist born and raised in Dallas. Following the roots of her own biracial ancestry, Garcia explores the complex relationship between Texans and Mexicans—particularly, the racialization and displacement of unauthorized Latinx immigrants. Garcia frequently creates and exhibits work with collaborative art partners in projects such as Soñé una Milpa, We Are Women United Against Hate, and Resiliencia
Garcia received her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and B.F.A. from the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She has received numerous awards for her work including Southern Graphics Council International Best in Show, Arts Institute Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts, Madison Arts Commission Art Education Grant, and Madison Print Club Madison Printmaking Award. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, Texas; California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, the University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Texas Christian University Collection, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Ga.; Special Collections Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.; Wisconsin Union Art Collection, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Ga.; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kan.; and the Printmaking Educational Collection, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.