Mario Mesquita

Portland, OR |  Artist | @mariomesquitastudios @paletassamo

Project Title: Paletas Communal Social Club 
Identies/Ideas in Artists Work: Black and indigenous spaces, Disabled/accessible, Women representation, LGBTQIA, Performance/audio /smell/touch, Politics/Activism, Public Process, Research, Learnings & Decision Making, Unconventional mix materials
Location: Santa Monica and San Diego, CA 

Facing the future after this past year and a half, now almost two, through a moment of national and global economic upheaval, social reckoning, and that of surviving and thriving under a pandemic. Paletas: Communal Social Club (nee Santa Monica) strives to bridge communities in Southwest San Diego together through a series of public park social interventions. Community members get an opportunity to share their reflections of this past year and a half through collecting expressions and stories of resilience, ways of thriving, memories, and expressions all crowdsourced through mini-interviews and/or questionnaires given over the Paletas mobile lab in exchange for popsicles.

Gathered written and audio mini-interviews will be assembled together into a day a culminating showcase of two or three temporary kinetic and free-standing monuments reflecting collected interviews (physical, ie. filled out postcards or audio interviews broadcasted during the day or weekend via speakers or short wave radio). Community members will be able to actively participate in the culminating showcase through relevant socially distant activities, kinetic temporary monuments, and popsicles. We will be able to make up for a missed time, connection and milestones. Through these activities, we will have the chance to create new memories of our own.

How do you reclaim the collective sensory experiences that will tell the story of your community? 

Asking, listening, collaborating, responding together, and making solutions come to fruition as a collective rather than an individual. Creating a platform that diminishes barriers for people to share the story of the communities to the people of their own community and others.

Who is your audience? How do you imagine your work will inspire change?

Currently, the Paletas Communal Social Club will be taking place in Southeast San Diego starting in winter 2022.

I believe through the process of sharing stories, being heard, and listening to others, community members will be able to find common ground between one another renewing and building new connections between one another. Paletas provide the space for interaction.

Is there a call to action you want the reader to do or take? 

What does the public interacting with one another look like now?
What does it take to change a cultural shift?
What does it look like to help one another out?

A simple task goes a long way. I would encourage everyone to listen to a strangers story and collaborate on solutions that enhance.

Mario Mesquita is an interdisciplinary-socially engaged artist based in Southern California. His work examines relationships, identity, knowledge sharing, and the social boundaries created within the context community spectrums through social practices, dialogue, and visual representation. Mario has worked with the city of Santa Monica, exhibited at San Diego Art Institute, Museum of Latin American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, presented at the Americans for the Arts Conference; and as a founding member of the Michelada Think Tank, presented at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Open Engagement Conference, as well as Common Field. Currently as Education Manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, he coordinates and manages partnerships with local area schools and public programming for opportunities of learning, and mentoring the Teen Advisory Group. He holds an MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design and most recently a fellow of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Program.

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