October 19, 2013

Buena Vista Archive

Land Arts has a continuing relationship with the Barrio Buena Vista Community that spans over 5 years. Each year Land Arts students engage and collaborate with the community to develop a project. In the past, projects have responded to the needs and interests of community members. This year, students worked to create a way of highlighting and preserving a community resource - the unique history of Barrio Buena Vista.



A show plan was outlined and within less than 48 hours students collaborated on a showcase of materials gathered from the community to display at Centro Artistico y Cultural gallery, which is located in the neighborhood. Through an intense ideation session, proposals ranging from public art installations, tree plantings, to other infrastructural creations were all considered. From this conversation, the concept of creating an archive or collection arose from the many possibilities. 

This concept of an archive, would be activated through a public engagement where neighborhood members could bring their photographs and memorabilia to the gallery for display. This event would provide an opportunity for items to be photographed and catalogued both digitally and in print media on site. This initial event would “start” the archive, additional materials could then accumulate over time under the supervision of a local resident.

In addition to the photo archive, other forms of creative re-representation were also initiated.

A photo booth was set-up to document current residents as well as participants of the event. Also, a wall of possible future projects (created during the ideation process) were posted on a wall where residents could comment and contribute their ideas for projects that they would like to see happen in their neighborhood.



A room was designated for the collection of words - a space that asked visitors to write one word on an index card, which would describe the most important thing in their life. These words would later be added to a file in the archive.

Andre Liptay processing images

Images that were photographed or scanned were processed and printed on site. The prints would then be hung on the walls of the main gallery.

Over the four hours of the event, the walls of the gallery began to fill with images and information. Many community members reviewed the collected images and provided accounts of the people and places they represented. The atmosphere became a living environment of past, present, and future manifestations of a place called Buena Vista.



Land Arts students Randal Romwalter, Margaret Shuster, and Chitra Sangtani looking over photographs a local resident contributed.


This video presents materials contributed by the Buena Vista Community for the Buena Vista Archive as these photocopies of objects, images, and photographs were displayed on the walls of the Centro Artistico y Cultural and subsequently archived by Land Arts in the filing cabinet at the close of the event.

BUENA VISTA ARCHIVE: A filing cabinet designed to hold the evolving archive of Buena Vista and the Centro Artistico y Cultural.

The Buena Vista Archive was a collaborative project created by Land Arts of the American West students in partnership with the Centro Artistico y Cultural and the Buena Vista Community

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