|OC Fair & Event Center Selects California Artists Ricardo Mendoza & Josh Sarantitis to Design Agricultural Memorial|
Mendoza is the first-generation son of a Mexican immigrant mother and grew up in Costa Mesa. His grandfather, who was on the Mexican Consul, worked directly with the United Farm Workers (UFW) Union President Cesar Chavez to protect the rights of migrant farm workers and their families. As the lead artist on the OCFEC project, Mendoza has had public art installations at the Monterey Park Library, Seily Rodriguez Memorial Park in Hollywood, Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy in Los Angeles and across the world in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and France.
Sarantitis comes from a family of immigrant laborers who worked in the tobacco fields of Ybor City, Florida and on the docks of Oakland. Sarantitis also worked with Chavez and UFW in the early 1990s to educate students and organize farm labor campaigns. As the lead fabricator on the OCFEC project, Sarantitis collaborated with Mendoza on the MTA Firestone Blue Line Station piece “The Will to Progress” in Los Angeles in 2004 and collaborated with sculptor Alex Garza on the Cesar Chavez Overpass in Tucson, Arizona.
OCFEC collaborated with Arts Orange County, the county’s non-profit arts council, to commission a California-based artist or artistic team for the new memorial. Mendoza/Sarantitis’ winning design was selected from a pool of 49 applications, which was first narrowed to five by an independent panel of judges that included California State University of Fullerton’s Gallery Directory of the Begovich Gallery, Director of the Exhibition Design/Museum Studies Program and Associate Art Professor Mike McGee; the City of Laguna Beach’s Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl; and Tomas Benitez, Grant Manager of the Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts and Education in Los Angeles. After in-person presentations by each finalist, a selection committee of OCFEC staff and Board members Nick Berardino and Ashleigh Aitken selected Mendoza/Sarantitis’ proposal, which was then approved by the OCFEC Board at their June meeting.
The Agricultural Workers Memorial, approved by OCFEC’s Board of Directors last year, will be located on-site adjacent to the Millennium Barn in the Centennial Farm, a year-round working farm designed to educate about the rich agricultural history of Orange County and its importance to daily life. Mendoza/Sarantitis’ design includes a central sculptural table surrounded by a field of raked sand and a perimeter timber bench with large-scale entry portals made of rammed earth. An all-inclusive budget of up to $90,000 has been allocated for this project, which is expected to be completed by July 2014, in time for the 2014 OC Fair.
The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500.
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