Whittier College Alum Earned Lifetime Achievement Award

February 20, 2022

Linda Vallejo

Artists Linda Vallejo ‘73 has earned the high distinction of a lifetime achievement award. The award was bestowed upon her by the Women's Caucus for Art, a national nonprofit that aims to encourage social activism and feminism through art. Vallejo was among five award recipients for 2022.

“I’m really grateful to be in such great company, and it’s wonderful to be remembered for a lifetime of creativity. It’s a beautiful thing to be remembered and to be accoladed for years of hard work,” said Vallejo in a recent Downtown Los Angeles News article.

Vallejo’s most recent work, Brown Belongings (https://lindavallejo.com/), consists of 125 different types of pieces that focus on the politics of class and color. This collection began with an awakening she had while looking at salt and pepper shakers molded as pilgrims. She decided to paint them brown to honor the true heroes of the first Thanksgiving, the Indigenous Americans. She then went on to buy antique models and figures, some consisting of historical figures like presidents and royalty and painted them brown.

Vallejo hopes she can spark conversations with her work. “(The goal) is to begin a conversation, to begin a dialogue about what it means to be a person of color in the United States today,” Vallejo said. “To share our thoughts and insights with each other, and to begin a dialogue about this on multiple levels and have a friendly dialogue where people with difficult questions are respectful to each other and are kind to each other as Americans.”

Vallejo has a long history in the art field, gaining experience and recognition through a myriad of art forms. She aims to create work that reflects her experiences and commentary on the implications of existing as a person of color in American society. She incorporates her decades-long research on Chicano, Latino, and Indigenous American culture into her art. Vallejo has permanent works in many museums including the Museum of Sonoma County, National Museum of Mexican Art, and East Los Angeles College Vincent Price Museum, among others.

Vallejo earned a bachelor’s degree at Whittier College, studying fine and studio Arts. She then went on to earn her MFA in printmaking at California State University, Long Beach.