Dr. Cindy Urrutia has been named the new coordinator of the Center for Creativity and the Arts at Fresno State.
Since being founded in 2011, CCA has served as an intellectual and imaginative space for the community to engage with the arts — an outlet of expression that includes poetry, music, theater, photography, drawing, painting and film.
“When you have a conceptual space, you aren’t bound,” Urrutia said. “It opens the gates to creativity.”
Each year, CCA introduces a new theme specific to the Central Valley. The inaugural theme was “Immigration, Migration & Labor” followed by “Consumption & Sustainability.”
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Until Urrutia, CCA was headed by faculty members from various departments at Fresno State.
“It was very difficult to sustain,” she said. “I’m the first person to be fully dedicated to CCA.”
She said she’s open and receptive to ideas and suggestions from faculty members, students and the community.
The self-proclaimed Americanist said she’s excited for her new role. Her expertise is in 20th century American art and culture, African-American art and the influence that Latin American art has had on American artists.
“My background is very interdisciplinary,” she said.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Urrutia moved to Guatemala with her family at a young age. She lived in Boston for four years while earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations at Boston University.
Subsequently, she returned to L.A. to pursue a master’s degree in art history from California State University, Los Angeles.
While earning a doctorate in visual studies at University of California, Irvine, Urrutia managed a luxury brand and taught several courses at Westwood College in L.A.
“I would also procure art for private collectors,” she said with a smile.
Now, Urrutia is committed to growing the foundation of CCA. For her new role, she will coordinate and develop programming, curricula, exhibitions, lectures and community events.
But she won’t work alone. She will work closely with the CCA Steering Committee, Programming Committee and Advisory Board. Together, Urrutia said, they will select a new theme for 2016-2017.
And with a new theme comes world-renowned artists.
In November 2012, CCA welcomed environmental artist Patrick Dougherty as part of “The Green Art Project.” With a love for nature, he creates larger-than-life structures from twigs, roots and moss.
His whimsical masterpieces have been showcased throughout the United States, and as far as South Korea, Japan, France, Ireland, Serbia and Belgium.
It took Dougherty nearly a month to construct “Learning Curve” near the Conley Art Building at Fresno State, but his presence didn’t go unnoticed as the community watched him with interest and curiosity.
In spring 2014, CCA welcomed media artist Joseph DeLappe as part of “The Drone Project.” With the help of the community, he constructed a 3D, life-size military drone made from corrugated plastic.
When Urrutia isn’t keeping busy with the arts, she can be found blogging about health and wellness, meditating and practicing yoga, gardening and hiking.
“I’m in the process of writing a book,” she added. “It has to do with health and wellness, and living a life as best as we can regardless of physical limitations.”
Her interests extend to include photography, classical music and Mesoamerican cultures, as well as playing cello. Her all-time favorite musical is “Les Misérables.”
“I enjoy film; I enjoy theater,” she added. “I have a real, genuine appreciation for all of the arts.”
Urrutia said her short-term goal is to introduce K-12 students to the arts through CCA. As for her long-term goal, she hopes to expand CCA from an imaginative space to a physical area.
“I’m passionate about the arts. I’m passionate about CCA,” Urrutia said. “And I’m also passionate about health and wellness.”
To learn about CCA, visit www.fresnostate.edu/artshum/cca.