Library Ambassador Hosts Zine Workshop


Catherine Gonzalez at the DIY Zine Workshop held on April 8. Image provided by Andrew Gressett.

Art history senior Catherine Gonzalez will graduate from the University of Houston this semester. Through her studies of the analysis of art and visual culture, Gonzalez was immersed in the abstract realm, yet she wanted to explore art’s practical, tangible side.

After her freshman year, she jumped into internships. Her curiosity was piqued during her curatorial internship at Austin’s Mexic-Arte Museum, where she encountered the visual art form known as the zine.

She noticed that her colleagues at the museum, including art historian and curator Claudia Zapata, were working on a zine called ChingoZine, which she helped to promote with friends and family.

What’s a zine? “It’s a little handmade book, and it could be anything from drawings to photography to poetry,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of people make them for fun, to distribute their work.”  Zines combine thematic elements that represent ephemeral, creative concepts in a personalized package.

At UH, Gonzalez became involved with the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library Ambassadors, a new student organization that promotes the library’s collections and services. The group organizes events and activities that highlight library resources, promotes student research, and integrates UH art disciplines. Each member of the Library Ambassadors receives advanced research training, enabling them to guide their fellow students on the use of library resources.

“The Jenkins Library Ambassadors facilitate how students can create a relationship with the library,” said Gonzalez, who wanted to give back to fellow students in her own way. She brainstormed ideas with the group: what would be a creative way to help UH students?

The idea for a DIY zine workshop emerged. Gonzalez sought advice from local business owners who regularly run creative workshops, and was also referred to artists from Zinefest Houston, who agreed to be the facilitators of the zine workshop at UH. Gonzalez approached the artists of Antena @ Blaffer, and they offered to share their space in the Saleri Studio and co-host the workshop.

Library ambassadors and students from painting, photography, interior design, architecture and graphic design participated, and the result was a collaborative zine, comprising collages created with content ranging from Art Forum to Japanese comic books to scuba diving publications.

Gonzalez organized the workshop through networking, a practical skill that is essential for success in life after college. She says that people are quite approachable if you just allow yourself to be open and find common ground. She gained confidence in crafting her own creative event at which students enjoyed themselves while learning how to harness inspiration.

After graduation, Gonzalez hopes to meet more artists in the industry. “I love the Houston arts scene,” she commented. “There are really unique institutions that have opportunities to either host or curate fantastic exhibitions.”

Gonzalez says that curators hold a unique place in organizing and showcasing the past and present in art form, and she wants to fulfill that role. “The world is so complicated,” she said. “We don’t really remember that there are things like slowing down and looking at a painting. The role of curating is essential for preserving what your culture is producing. I want to be the example of why art is important.”

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Posted on April 28th, 2014 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on Library Ambassador Hosts Zine Workshop