A MAP Project

Interview

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Rachel Rushing, Emily Riggert, and Sunset Art Studios team installing Let's Talk exhibition

From an interview conducted via email between Will Szendrey of MAP, and Rachel Rushing and Emily Riggert of Sunset Art Studios in June 2018.
 
 
Will Szendrey(WS): Both of the works of art from Sunset Art Studios made for Hablemos focus heavily on the imagery of familiar spaces in a neighborhood and the emotions that gentrification of these spaces can evoke. In general, what does gentrification look like in Oak Cliff
Sunset Art Studios(SAS): We’ve been discussing this a lot, and we’ve found these questions very challenging. We struggle with speaking as an authority on gentrification- Sunset is here to provide space for conversation and listening, creating platforms for other people who have more direct experiences with this and amplifying their voices. Emily and I are both aware of our positions of privilege and to speak out as authority on something that is not necessarily our own personal struggle would be disingenuous. We don’t want to take the words from someone else or take credit for their experiences. That's what we were hoping to do with Hablemos- be a facilitator for giving other people a chance to talk while we take on a supportive and listening role.
 
Our priority as a studio, in reference to gentrification, is to listen, support, and learn as we take a critical view of the role of the arts in this process that often results in the displacement of families and even entire communities. 
 
 
WS: Oak Cliff is currently your home, so speaking out against and resisting gentrification in the area is clearly important to you. What significance does this opportunity to contribute to a project with MAP hold for you as residents of Oak Cliff?
SAS: We are excited to work with MAP as a way to contribute to the larger conversation of gentrification happening across the country. It has also been hugely important to be able to create connections between MAP and local artists who can work with communities they have grown up around to express and process what it has been like to live through the dramatic changes Oak Cliff has been through in the last 15-20 years.