THE RED TOUR: The EXPO Collective Hits the Road

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By Amelia Orozco

You’ve heard of art as therapy, as a hobby, but what about art as a service? That’s what the founders of the EXPO Collective intended art to be for their surrounding community. The Expo Collective, an L3C, collaborates with Blue 1647, an innovative creative space in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, to bring artists from all walks of life together and to provide a space to create and showcase their work.

EXPO has enjoyed wide success through its previous events like “For the Brown Kids” in 2014 and the “Quetzal Art Fest” in 2015 where, through visual arts and live painting. During the Quetzal event, nine murals were created and then donated to local non-profit organizations. Each piece was uniquely themed to highlight each respective organization’s mission and connection to the people they serve.

In 2016, EXPO is taking the show on the road, taking with it the same spirit of service. The Red Tour will feature Erick “Roho” Garcia exclusively as the featured artist. Roho is one of the founders and the creative director of EXPO and an art instructor for After School Matters. “Artists may forget and think that they can only show at a gallery,” says co-founder and communications and social media specialist, Christina Elizabeth Rodriguez. The network of artists strives to strengthen communities through the arts. “Some of the art has a strong message but some doesn’t. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a strong message there. It’s art for art’s sake,” adds Rodriguez.

The Red Tour is stopping by three major cities: Los Angeles, New York and back in Chicago. Roho, a native of Chicago, whose work is heavily influenced by the Chicano movement, will showcase his work, while simultaneously present a slideshow of his creative process and personally live deejay music that inspires him as he works. “That’s the most important part for me as an artist. The process makes you a better person,” says Roho. “You learn what to do and what not to do. Music is such a strong part of that,” he adds.

Before Roho obtained his degree from the American Academy of Art, he had already been creating murals and graffiti using stencils he created for such purposes. Some of these same stencils are still part of his process in some of his newer pieces. Each stop on the tour will be a unique experience in heritage, identity and culture. Learn more about the founders, artists and The Red Tour at

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