Photo by Kseniya Sovenko.
Juan Alonso-Rodríguez arrived in the United States from his native Cuba exactly one month before his tenth birthday. He is a self-taught artist whose transition from music to visual arts coincided with his move to Seattle in 1982.
In addition to being a successful visual artist, Juan is an activist for arts and social justice, and a strong voice for inclusion in the arts. In the 1980s, Juan lobbied the city, county, and state arts commissions to include at least one person of color on selection panels. He created and funded the Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Latino/a Scholarship. He continues to speak out publicly for more representation and inclusion of Latino and Latina artists. In 2015, he led an online campaign to include more artists of color in survey shows such as Out of Site, a presentation of local artists held during the first Seattle Art Fair.
Since 2007, Juan has maintained a studio in Pioneer Square, using his own space as a tool to bring awareness to the mission of chosen non-profits. He hosts an annual fundraiser, selling work and collecting donations for organizations like Planned Parenthood, Chicken Soup Brigade, Arts Corps, Northwest Harvest, ACLU, Lambda Legal, and many others.
In 2015, Juan was selected as the Artist in Residence at Town Hall Seattle where he created a lecture/discussion series and CONNECT, an event to introduce artists of different disciplines to each other and to resources such as Space-Finders (studios), Lawyers for the Arts, publications, curators, arts organizations, fabricators, shippers, and consultants.
His work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada, and Latin America and is included in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Microsoft, Swedish & Harborview Hospitals, and General Mills. Juan has created public artworks for CenturyLink Field, Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, King County Housing Authority, Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, and several schools. His awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant, and a residency at the Centrum Foundation.
Juan currently serves as a Seattle Arts Commissioner and is a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee.
Visit Juan's website.