2019 Fellow
Joel Garcia
Artist, Arts Administrator, and Cultural Organizer, The Decolonial Initiative Task Force
Los Angeles, CA

Joel Garcia (Huichol) is an artist, arts administrator and cultural organizer with 20+ years of experience working transnationally focusing on community-centered strategies. His approach is rooted in Indigenous-based forms of dialoguing and decision-making (non-hierarchical) that uplifts non-institutional expertise. Joel uses art and organizing to raise awareness of issues facing underserved communities, inner-city youth, and\ other targeted populations. 

He’s the co-founder of Meztli Projects, an Indigenous based arts & culture collaborative centering indigeneity into the creative practice of Los Angeles by using arts-based strategies to advocate for and organize to highlight issues impacting native artists and youth.

He served as Co-Director at Self Help Graphics & Art (‘10-’18), and Co-Chair of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities-Boyle Heights Youth Development Campaign. He's a fellow of the Intercultural Leadership Institute, Monument Lab and uses printmaking to explore masculinity through Indigenous perspectives through his project “Tatewari.” He has been awarded a grant by the “Ready to Rise Initiative” a Youth Development project of the California Community Foundation/Liberty Hill Foundation funded by the LA County Probation Department to support new strategies using art and  Indigenous-based practices to support youth and reduce violence.

In partnership with Tongva artist River Garza, they will co-facilitate “Memory and Futurity in Yaangna,” a project that strives to recenter the narrative relating to the Columbus Statue and its removal on the Original Peoples of Yaangna, present-day Los Angeles and its descendants by uplift authentic stories of place through community-centered and restorative practices, as-well-as envision new possibilities of engagement with civic/public art by and for Indigenous Peoples.