Fresno State’s Partners-in-Art is among 25 university programs across the United States selected to display its student works June 27-July 1 and July 4-8 at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Paulette Fleming, a professor of Art and Design and co-founder and executive director of Partners-in-Art, will lead a delegation of seven Fresno State students and two staff members to the nation’s capital. They will be honored for their dedication to educating central San Joaquin Valley youth in art through the “Hungry for Art/ART FOR HUNGER” project.

From 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. each day, visitors to the annual festival can enjoy the works created by Partners-in-Art participants and a large-scale fiber art work crafted by Fresno State art students. Guests can weave their own patterns on a loom, view agricultural products grown in Central California and create relief prints of foods.

The 45-year-old festival, presented by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and co-sponsored by the National Park Service, recognizes traditions from across the U.S. and around the world. It attracts nearly a million visitors for concerts and special events that celebrate diverse cultural traditions.

This year’s theme is “Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150.” It commemorates the 1862 legislation signed by President Lincoln establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities of which Fresno State is a member as an Hispanic-Serving Institution.

The festival’s events and activities focus on the current work of public and land-grant universities and the USDA: reinventing agriculture, sustainable solutions, transforming communities and building on tradition.

Fresno State’s “Hungry for Art/ART FOR HUNGER,” housed in the Department of Art and Design of the College of Arts and Humanities, is a collaborative effort between the university, schools, art agencies and local artists.

“Youth of all backgrounds and university art students are brought together to create artwork that is auctioned at special fundraising events to raise awareness of food insecurity and hunger in the Valley,” Fleming said.

Through art classes, workshops, field trips, art hops and tours, participants engage with art that builds on traditional crafts and folk art, she explained, such as coiling, jewelry making, weaving, embroidery, ceramics, papermaking, printmaking, dyeing, batik and papier mâché.

“We are very grateful to have the Smithsonian honor the Fresno State Partners-in-Art program for the role that we are playing in preserving traditional art and crafts media and for conveying the artistic, cultural and ethnic heritage of our region to the next generation,” she said.

Joining Fleming will be William Raines, the program’s artistic director, recent master’s graduate Ronda Kelley of Fresno and art graduates Maria Carrillo of Corcoran and Jerica Guzman of Reedley. Current students making the trip include program intern Jasen Costa of Visalia, Kristin Habib of Fresno, Vanessa Fuentas and Nichole Ornelas, both of Fresno, and Sydney Morrow of Seaside, a teaching assistant for the program.

For more information about Partners-in-Art, contact Fleming at 559.278.3000. For festival info, contact Becky Haberacker of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at 202.633.5183.

(University Communications student news assistant Nicole Maul contributed to this copy.)

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