Ortiz chosen as June 2015’s “Author of the Month” on Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Ortiz for its website’s “Arte Público Press Author of the Month” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.
Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.
About the Author:
RAQUEL M. ORTIZ was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, and has been making art and telling stories ever since she was a little girl. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Salamanca and has worked at The Brooklyn Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Raquel is the author of El arte de la identidad (La Galera, 2011), the documentary Memories of the Wall: Education and Enrichment through Community Murals and textbooks and educational materials for children in Puerto Rico and the United States. She lives in New York City, where she is a professor at Boricua College.
About her latest book, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical
When Sofi walks through her barrio to the local store, she always passes a huge mural with images from Puerto Rico: musicians, dancers, tropical flowers and—her least favorite—a vejigante, a character from the carnival that wears a scary mask.
One day on her way home from the bodega, she stops in front of the mural. Is one of the dancers inviting her to be his partner? “Okay, let’s dance,” Sofi giggles, and suddenly she’s in Old San Juan, surrounded by dancers and musicians playing bongos, tambourines and güiros. She begins to dance and sing with her new friends, but her pleasure turns to fear when the vejigante—wearing a black jumper with yellow fringe and a red, three-horned mask—spins her around and around! What does he want from her? How can she get away?
This story about an imaginative girl and a magical mural is an engaging exploration of Puerto Rico’s cultural traditions as well as an ode to public art and the community it depicts. Featuring Maria Dominguez’s lovingly rendered, colorful illustrations, this bilingual picture book introduces the topic of community art to children ages 4 to 8. After reading this book, children—and some adults too—will want to make and share their own artistic creations!