How is the American identity defined today? When a certain Fanta-faced presidential nominee is targeting American minorities with threats of deportation or supporting heightened “security” of browner neighborhoods, the question takes on a new urgency. Two artists, Victoria Suescum and Lee Michael Peterson, tackle the question by exploring their identities as Latin@s (the gender neutral term for people of Latin American roots) within American culture in the new ¿Identity? exhibit up through Sept. 8 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 

Suescum was born in Panama and relocated to the states in 1988, and her experiences as a global citizen seep through her tropically colored, large-format oil paintings. The JSMA writes that her work is inspired by “hand-painted Spanish-language storefront signs. Images that are typically overlooked in the street are repurposed and re-presented in the museum gallery setting.”

Peterson, who was born to a Hispanic mother and a Caucasian father, grew up in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. The painter creates jarring, offbeat mix-media portraits employing an interesting method: “Peterson uses modern technology as the starting point for his drawings, Googling the names of his friends and creating portraits of other people with the same name. By switching out the faces of his friends for strangers, Peterson questions the role of a name in establishing identity,” the JSMA writes.

At 5:30 pm Wednesday, July 20, Suescom will give an artist talk, “Latin@ Art and Identity Across Generations,” at the museum.

The White Lotus Gallery (767 Willamette Street) opens the exhibit Presence and Timelessness with a slew of knockout artists working in all mediums — Toko Shinoda, Kozo, Satoko, Jon Jay Cruson, Charlie Search, Lynda Lanker and Gary Tepfer — Saturday, July 16, with an opening reception from 2 to 4 pm. The show will be up through Sept. 3.

Congrats are in order: On Wednesday, July 13, Lane Arts Council, in partnership with the city, hosted its Community Arts Grant award ceremony at the Actors Cabaret of Eugene. LAC awarded more than $56,000 to local arts organizations and projects including Maude Kerns Art Center ($6,000), DanceAbility International ($4,000), Wordcrafters ($1,500), Free Shakespeare in the Park ($1,500), Veselo Community Folk Dancers ($1,100), the 2016 Austism Artism Show ($1,500), the Eugene All-Ages Poetry Slam at Tsunami Books ($1,500) and many more. To see the full list, visit

Former EW cover star Perry Johnson (“Shining Like the Sun,” 10/1) teamed up with mentor and wood-print artist Josh Krute (“If I Tree Falls,” 6/23) for a mentorship at Whiteaker Printmakers. The fruits of their labor, bright and bold hand-carved woodblock prints by Johnson, will be up through July at Red Wagon Creamery (55 W. Broadway).

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