Mural Fest 2018

Betsy Casañas

Philadelphia, PA.

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Betsy Casañas is a Visual and Public Artist, an educator, a community activist and an organizer. She is the director of A Seed on Diamond Gallery (S.O.D.) and founder of Semilla Arts Initiative. Casañas has 24 years of experience in the arts and has created over 40 murals worldwide.

As a Latina artists who has been working in communities of color around the world I understand the importance of the people in these communities to see themselves reflected in the artwork and in the leaders of the their communities. We have been depicted in a negative light on social media, news and television as second class citizens who should be feared. I believe it is our obligation as artists to reflect the times we are living in and to highlight the people’s story and change the narrative that has been created for us. By normalizing and humanizing our collective stories we create communities that are more tolerant.

Semilla Arts is a grassroots initiative that uses art as a catalyst for social change and artistic collaboration as a means of empowering individuals and strengthening communities. Collaborative art is a process more accessible to a larger audience. It has a set goal that addresses the needs and conditions of its participants. It embodies multiple visions working towards a common goal. Collaboration within a community setting inevitably acts as a “Semilla” for changing social circumstances. It creates a safe, nurturing environment that cultivates self-esteem, creativity, dignity and respect. It empowers the community with a voice, preserves culture, establishes strong communities that reflect positive attitudes, builds skills and awakens talent found in its members. Semilla’s goal is to unite the community by actively involving them in the process of physically transforming their own neighborhood and by exposing them to solutions and possibilities. The vitality of any community can be found in the strength and stability of its members and in their ability to overcome the complexity of today.

In 2007 Casañas founded Semilla (Seed) Arts Initiative, a grassroots initiative that uses art as a catalyst for social change and artistic collaborations as a means of empowering individuals and strengthening communities through art. Collaborative art addresses the needs and conditions of the participants and embodies multiple visions working towards a common goal. Collaboration within a community setting inevitably acts as a “Semilla” for changing social circumstances, it creates a safe, nurturing environment that cultivates self-esteem, creativity, dignity and respect. It empowers the community with a voice, preserves culture, establishes strong communities that reflect positive attitudes, builds skills and awakens talent found in its members. Semilla’s goal is to unite the community by actively involving them in the process of physically transforming their own neighborhood and by exposing them to solutions and possibilities. The vitality of any community can be found in the strength and stability of its members and in their ability to overcome the complexity of today