© Latinas in History 2008
SANTA CONTRERAS (1951 )
Santa Contreras Barraza, who hails from Kingsville, Texas, founded a Chicana/Latina visual arts organization, Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste (MAS). In 1985 Barraza moved to Pennsylvania, accepting a teaching position at La Roche College. Raising a child as a single parent and establishing an artistic career was not easy but she received a fellowship to study printmaking at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York City. The following year she joined the advisory board of the INTAR Latin American Gallery, and soon thereafter, she joined the faculty of the School of Visual Arts at Pennsylvania State University. Barraza returned to Texas in 1996 and was commissioned to paint a mural at the Biosciences Building of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Since 1998 she has chaired the art department at Texas A&M University, Kingsville. Her works have been included in individual and collective exhibitions in galleries and museums across the United States and Mexico. In addition, in 2001, Texas A&M University Press published Santa Barraza, Artist of the Borderlands, the first scholarly work on the life and work of a Chicana artist. The book received the 2001 Southwest Book Award.