Anoka-Ramsey Community College art faculty member Anthony Marchetti was recently awarded a $10,000 Minnesota State Arts Board artist initiative grant for a project, titled “Occidente Nuevo: Recycled Tijuana.”
Marchetti has been traveling to Tijuana and the surrounding area to photograph the results of the cross-border transmigration of building materials and small suburban homes from San Diego, Calif.
Collaborating with fellow Anoka-Ramsey art faculty member Laura Migliorino, Marchetti photographs architecture, while Migliorino creates portraits of people living in the structures.
Tijuana receives and recycles San Diego’s abandoned structures, reconstructing the materials into buildings for living and working.
This cross-border movement of traditional American tract homes has influenced new housing design in Tijuana, according to Marchetti.
Tijuana’s new suburban developments are constructed using a type of tiny box architecture, reminiscent of post-World War II era planned communities in the U.S., Marchetti said.
“Although geographically only 20 miles apart, few cities could be farther apart economically,” he said.
“San Diego calls itself ‘America’s finest city,’ boasting some of the wealthiest subdivisions in the U.S., while Tijuana is viewed as decadent, transient and very poor.”
As part of the grant, Marchetti will produce 15 images for a collaborative two-person exhibition with Migliorino, which will appear at Casa del Tunel in Tijuana, Mexico, in September and again at Concordia University in St. Paul in 2013.
This marks Marchetti’s second Arts Board grant. In 2010, he received his first grant for $5,800 to start his Tijuana project.
Activities are funded, in part, through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota Nov. 4, 2008. Grants are awarded for career-building and for the creative development of artists in all artistic disciplines including dance, media arts, music, photography, poetry, prose, theater and two- and three-dimensional visual arts.