An Evening with Grammy-Award-Winning Chicana Artivista Scholar Dr. Martha Gonzalez

The 2023 Ramona Arreguín de Rosales Lecture presented by the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies
Martha Gonzalez standing in front of a black background
Event Date & Time
| -
Event Location
Weisman Art Museum

333 E River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455


The Ramona Rosales Lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the event. 

“Artivista: Music, Community & Social Movement in East LA”

Book cover of "Chican@ Artivistas" by Martha Gonzalez: Tan background with red, black, and white text above a stylized skyline of Los Angeles

A conflation of two words, artista (artist) and activista (activist), artivista signals more than just an identity. As Gonzalez will demonstrate, artivismo is a philosophy and way of existing through music and art practice. Via a multimedia talk that involves music, poetry, and song, Martha Gonzalez will discuss her book Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles (UT Austin Press 2020). Gonzalez will share the varying ways music methods have been implemented in East Los Angeles as a way to resist, organize, and build community beyond the confines of the stage. In this way, Chican@ Artivistas is a critical examination of artist/activist in East Los Angeles from the 1990s into the present.

Although the book project recognizes that earlier generations of Chican@ movement artists strived to advance social justice issues through music and art practices, Gonzalez's analysis is focused on the ways in which a new generation of artists from East LA learned from their elders, yet moved in new directions by utilizing their skills as artists to not only build and strengthen community, but doing so by drawing on music and art as tools of dialogue. Inspired by the Mayan Zapatista Movement that came onto international consciousness in 1994, Chicano and Chicana artists in East LA began to focus on creative expression as verb and action rather than object or commodity.

About Martha Gonzalez

Martha Gonzalez is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist) musician, feminist music theorist, and associate professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at Scripps/Claremont College. Born and raised in Boyle Heights Gonzalez is a MacArthur Fellow (2022), Fulbright Garcia Robles (2007-2008), Ford (2012-2013), Woodrow Wilson Fellow (206-2017) and United States Artist Fellow (2020). Her academic interests have been fueled by her own musicianship as a singer/songwriter and percussionist for Grammy Award (2013) winning band Quetzal. The relevance of Quetzal’s music and lyrics have been noted in a range of publications, from dissertations to scholarly books. Their latest recording “Puentes Sonoros” (Sonic Bridges) was released on Smithsonian Folkways in the fall of 2020. Gonzalez along with her partner Quetzal Flores has been instrumental in catalyzing the transnational dialogue between Chicanx/Latinx communities in the US and Jarocho communities in Veracruz, Mexico.

Gonzalez has also been active in implementing the collective songwriting method in correctional facilities throughout the US Most recently, and as a testament to the body of music and community work Gonzalez has accomplished on and off the stage, in the summer of 2017 Gonzalez’s tarima (stomp box) and zapateado dance shoes were acquired by the National Museum of American History and are on permanent display in the One Nation Many Voices exhibit. Finally, Gonzalez’s first manuscript Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community, and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles was published by the University of Texas Press. Gonzales is currently Scripps Humanities Institute director. Gonzalez lives in Los Angeles with her husband Quetzal Flores and their 18 year-old son-Sandino.

Event sponsors

Sponsored by the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies with support from


About the Ramona Arreguín de Rosales Lecture Series

This lecture series honors Ramona Arreguín de Rosales, who helped lead the creation of the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies as a student over fifty years ago. This fund supports an annual lecture by a scholar in the field of Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies.

Make a gift to the Romana Arreguín de Rosales Lecture Series Fund

Share on: