Our new Get to Know Your A2AC Instructors! series dives into who the amazing A2AC instructors are, what they do outside of the A2AC, their favorite teaching moments, fun facts, and more.
The next instructor in this series is Sonimar Maldonado-Alvarado!
Click on the Questions to see Sonimar‘s answers!
“I learned that no matter the age, we can make great things happen together if we open up to different possibilities.”
Tell us about yourself.
I am a 27 years old female Latin art administrator, teacher, researcher, and artist from Puerto Rico. I received my MA in Art Administration at Eastern Michigan University with a Badge in Mentoring. I also got an MFA in Studio Art from American University with a Minor in Art Management, a BFA, and an ASS in Painting and Drawing from Pratt Institute.
I work as the Development and Communications Associate at the Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC). I recently served as a panelist for the MACC Operational Support grant, curated an exhibition at 22 North Gallery, and have shown at the Indiana University East in Indiana and the Ann Arbor Art Center in Michigan.
My research focuses on understanding eureka moments within the arts and how they impact arts participation. This research was presented at the 2022 STPA Conference in Seoul, South Korea, and the 2022 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Washington, DC. My artistic focus is on creating colorful hard-edged abstract paintings inspired by the process of self-discovery. Outside of teaching and creating, I enjoy time with family, dogs, and crafts. I recently picked up sewing and quilting, and I also love cooking and baking.
What does your creative practice look like?
I make colorful hard-edged abstract paintings inspired by the process of self-discovery. The method utilizes control and chance to demonstrate a clear resolution while retaining a sense of mystery that inspires curiosity in the audience. I also create prints of people’s outfits on the streets. These are inspired by my fascination with the outer self, specifically with people’s clothes. My prints try to understand what and why people choose and wear their daily outfits.
For my paintings, my process of creating is both spontaneous and thought-out. I begin with a blank panel and cover it with tape; then, I cut out the desired shape, organic or straight lines. I add a thick layer of color in the cutout and then take the remaining tape leaving behind the initial desired shape. Then things get interesting because I repeat the process while considering the previous shape and color. I repeat this process 5-10 more times, making each layer a one-shot opportunity and becoming more complex and unpredictable with each added layer. Ultimately, I am left with a beautiful roadmap filled with decisions and complications, color and wonder. It’s so much fun, and I often want to keep doing more.
My prints are different. If my paintings are colorful and complex, my prints are contemplative and simple. They see the people around me and study their clothing choices. I have been observing people’s clothes for a long time, “What about what they wear makes them feel comfortable and confident in their skin?” “How do their daily costumes influence how they act and speak in front of others?” “How am I different?” My prints are an observational diary of people and their clothes.
What is next for your artistic career?
I aim to do 1-2 exhibitions a year to slowly build my repertoire. I will have a couple of exhibitions lined up for next year at the A2AC and 22 North Gallery. Other than that, I am looking forward to pursuing academia and higher education and continuing my creative practice.
What are your favorite teaching moments?
Just the last two years. I started as a Summer Camp Teacher at EMU during the pandemic (if you can imagine an online art camp), and once I started working at A2AC, I decided to try my hand at a different type/style of teaching. I believe the more you expose yourself to different things, the more you learn about yourself. My favorite class to teach is painting because it is my primary medium and, therefore, the one I feel the most comfortable in.
The big mural painting I did with my students at summer camp. It was 6 high schoolers and me coming up with a theme, planning a painting, and making it happen. At first, I was hesitant to give this project because I didn’t know if we could work together to create something as big as a 6ft x 6ft painting, but we slowly figured it out, and they often invited me to participate with them. I learned that no matter the age, we can make great things happen together if we open up to different possibilities. I love talking with students and seeing what they have to say or what they think about when it comes to different projects and ideas; it feels like we are growing together, and that is special.
For me, the arts are an opportunity to see the world through a different lens and learn from others’ lenses. A2AC is where everyone has an equal opportunity to learn, express, and create.
What would you say to someone interested in art but nervous about taking a class?
Do it! You will never know if you love it unless you try it repeatedly. I can help you if you let me 🙂