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The big reveal of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese’s new branding took place on Friday, March 4, during our Open House. This was the culmination of a month long art intervention in which our professors, lecturers, graduate, and undergraduate students’ participated, placing stickers with various stages of the image all over campus. We celebrated our new branding with an afternoon filled with food, music, dancing, games, and prizes!  


We would like to thank Marta Gutiérrez for her inspiring and provocative piece that is sure to contribute to the stimulation of dialogue, critical thinking, and a search for knowledge upon which our department is built. Our thanks also go out to our own Jeff Maurer, Multimedia Coordinator and SLLC Website Administrator, for his exceptional digital work on the Gutiérrez’s piece, transforming the sculpture into our new branding.

Born in 1961 in Medellín, Colombia, the work of locally based artist Marta Luz Gutiérrez reflects her diverse professional background as a trained architect. Since moving to the United States to attend art school and graduating from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC with a BFA, her artwork has focused primarily on painting and furniture design. However, her work maintains a connection to her architectural background as seen in her search to communicate abstraction through her art, reminiscent of the colors and shapes of the field. The imagery that characterizes her work is inspired by elements of daily life, from newspapers, literature, and movies to nature. By incorporating a diverse array of materials into her work such as temperas, acrylic, oils, and photographs in her painting and wood, steel, and glass in her furniture making, the artist transcends the boundaries of the many disciplines that inform her art, contributing to her unique style and aesthetic. More recently, she has been working on more whimsical fiber and wire sculptural pieces.

Gutiérrez’s work has been featured in individual and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the United States, Colombia, and Spain. In 2011, Giorgio Armani sponsored a showing of her 26-foot-long, 140-piece installation titled El Mercado in the Armani Boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City. Her exhibit entitled Alicángaras y Mamarrachos / Critters & Doodles, took place in both the Colombian embassy in Washington DC and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond in 2014 as part of the “Celebrate Latin America Art: Colombia!” show. Gutiérrez’s most recent sculptural work will be featured in an upcoming show at the Julio Valdéz Studio Project Space in East Harlem, New York, from March 3 until April 11, 2016.

Based on Frutos, a multimedia fiber-based sculpture by Marta Gutiérrez, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese is pleased to unveil our new branding, meant to raise awareness of the importance of language and cultural proficiency and the humanities in general in attaining a true global perspective and becoming an effective global citizen. The fruit tree, or árbol con frutos, conveys all the attributes that a variety of philosophical, religious, and mythological traditions have ascribed to it: creation and life, foundation, connection between all things, knowledge, science, enlightenment, and immortality. In our abstract tree--that bears “fruto”--we choose to emphasize an attainable intellectual quest and the centrality of interconnection as the Ceiba tree of the Mayas. Our department fosters languages, literatures, and cultures that are of international, national, state, and local importance. We are the place to come if you want linguistic and cultural competence and if you want to develop a solid historical, social, political, and economic understanding of Latin America, the Latino USA, and the Iberian Peninsula in dialogue with the transatlantic and transpacific worlds.