The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego has announced their next commissioned art installation, El Más Allá, slated to open this fall. Despite being closed due to the pandemic, the Museum continues to work closely with Tijuana-based artist Panca (aka Paola Villaseñor) on an installation that will transport visitors to a world that is, like the English translation of the title, beyond what we currently know.
Panca is The New Children’s Museum’s 2020 artist in residence, working with the community through the Museum’s long-running Mass Creativity Program which was held virtually this year. As a child, Panca visited The New Children’s Museum and recalls painting the outdoor truck, which was one of her first experiences with painting something on a large scale. This left a big impression on her and has inspired her artwork today.
Panca’s artist residency was heavily influenced by the global health crisis and current events, prompting her to focus on how art can help children and adults process the challenges we are facing. She created several imaginary characters with this in mind, each designed to help children work through emotions and collaborate with each other.
Quite possibly the Museum’s most ambitious and immersive installation yet, El Más Allá will feature a wide range of inventive experiences including interactive sculptures, colorful 20-foot murals and a monumental 40-foot slide to transport visitors from the Museum’s main level into the installation on the lower level.
The Museum continues to fundraise for the installation. Lead funding comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with generous support from The Dow Divas Investment Club and the Museum’s Board of Directors. More information about the installation and underwriting opportunities can be found at www.thinkplaycreate.org/el-mas-alla.
Panca (aka Paola Villaseñor) is an international artist who lives and works in Tijuana. She is known for her playful street art, which has appeared everywhere from walls in Mexico City to the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Her mural, SMILE, currently adorns The New Children’s Museum’s entry bridge, welcoming visitors with bright colors and playful smiles. El Más Allá will be her second commissioned work for the Museum.
The El Más Allá mural was inspired by Panca’s virtual Mass Creativity workshops with the following community centers: Barrio Logan College Institute, Casa Familiar Civic and Recreation Center, City Heights Weingart Library, Paradise Hills at Skyline Hills Library, The San Diego LGBT Center, Solutions for Change and South Bay Community Services.
Panca’s imaginary character Maslow is a triangle-shaped creature based on psychologist Abraham Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs.