Washington, D.C.—The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has named
Judith Baca, an artistic director and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the 2017 recipient of AASCU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Baca received her B.A. in 1969 and M.A. in 1980 from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and is known for
large-scale public murals and art that involves extensive community organization and participation.
“CSUN alumna Judy Baca embodies our university’s commitment to uplift students to their full potential and realize their dreams,” states CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Her work celebrates the diversity of Los Angeles and our nation, giving expression and voice to traditionally underrepresented communities. We
at CSUN are immensely proud that AASCU has selected Ms. Baca for AASCU’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award."
Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974 and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in 1976. She still serves as SPARC’s artistic director and designed one of its most well known murals, the Great Wall of Los Angeles. The
mural spans half a mile and involved collaboration between more than 400 youth and their families from diverse social and economic backgrounds, artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members. Baca also created and leads the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab, which produces large-scale,
digitally generated murals; public art; and community cultural development practices.
For more than four decades, AASCU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award has been presented to an individual who has achieved acclaim in her or his field and who has made a significant contribution to the public, intellectual or cultural life of the nation. Through this award, AASCU directs national attention to the value of
society’s investment in America’s state colleges and universities. Baca will be presented with this award during AASCU’s 2017 Annual Meeting on Oct. 24; she joins a long list of past honorees, including President Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.
AASCU is a
Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 400 public
colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and
teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student
populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their
regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions
Delivering America’s Promise of Opportunities for All.