This week we speak with Alejandra Díaz, who is the Creator and Founder of DIALOGARTE RADIO (DIALOGUE-ART RADIO), a program to promote community communication and at the same time to use it as a tool to network for cultural management in a local and international context. She works with artists and cultural managers from Oaxaca mostly, but engages with other managers from Latin America such as Ecuador, Argentina and Guatemala. Dialogarte Radio is broadcast on the community radio Zaachila Radio 96.3FM, in the community Villa de Zaachila, Oaxaca, México. Alejandra studied communication at the University of Puebla and achieved a Master’s Degree in Cultural Management at the University of Oaxaca. She has worked at artist residency programs in Oaxaca as well as at the International Relations Department at the Oaxaca Mayoralty. Earlier this year Alejandra visited Latin radio stations in Poughkeepsie & New Jersey where she talked about the experience of DIÁLOGARTE RADIO (DIALOGUE – ART RADIO). Recently she gave an open talk with Jorge Ayala from SER NY at La Bodega Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. We are very excited to share Alejandra’s Frank Talk with you here! #radioforartists #radioparalagestioncultural #dialogarteradio
What was your first job in the Arts?
When I was 23 years old I worked as staff manager of artist residency at the headquarters of Oaxaca, Mexico for around 6 months; during that time I had a chance to accompany the artistic process of textile artists from New York, San Francisco, London, and Paris; that involved session instructions in charge of textile artists from Oaxaca as well as readings about History of Art.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
I am very grateful because this job helped me to develop communication strategies to make networks with artists from New York & London through knowing each one’s cultural background. Besides, I realized about the issue to have a reciprocity relation with the different communities involved in an artistic process.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I guess it was when I realized that I can use my communication strategies & cultural management knowledge to make Art as a main character at spaces with political & economic interests to opening work opportunities for the artistic community where I come from in a local & international way.
What do you do now?
Since 2017 I’ve been working on the radio program “Dialogarte Radio” (Dialogue – Art Radio) in the community radio Zaachila Radio, with plastic & printmaking artists mostly from Oaxaca and a couple from Argentina, Ecuador and Chile; the above with the intention to support the emerging art circulation & sale from Latin America in abroad.
At the same time, I am supporting emerging textile artists from Mexico City, Oaxaca & London; to promote their fashion brands as a model and through PR services with the purpose to increase the local desire. Recently I had the chance to be part of the IV Community Communication meeting in Oaxaca, México by the non- profit organization Ojo de Agua Comunicación, the above with the intention to support the promotion & defense of the community communication because I realized that I can help to empower different communities; artistic communities for example.
Where are you from?
I was born in Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico; and I developed my work experience at Oaxaca city.
What is the arts community like there?
In Oaxaca city I consider that artistic community is very unified and they support each other through emerging projects and spaces about contemporary art, printmaking, plastic arts, photography and textile art. There are collectives, artists and groups working in topics such sexual diversity, linguistic diversity, theater for deaf people, cinema for blind people, local music preservation, among others.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
Of course. Because of the fact that we are very concerned to use Art to open discussion around stereotypes & prejudices, to share and talk about our backgrounds and cultural expressions as well as to improve our environment, without racist, sexist & classist speeches.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Maybe, I would say that it’s important to have a reciprocity relation with the different communities involved in an artistic process as well as to support artistic projects that don’t invite racist, sexist and classist behaviors; and help to question and open the discussion about stereotypes, prejudices and exoticization.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
I will say the radio program Diálogarte Radio ( Dialogue-Art Radio) because I realize how community radio and cultural management tools can combine to make cultural networking to promote emerging artistic projects from Oaxaca and others parts from Latin America in a local and international way.
Also, that allowed me to collaborate as a cultural manager with the Zaachila Radio team in the project “Refresh ourselves Zaachila Radio.” This program focused on refresh the radio’s image and to invite the community to participate. Nowadays, there are programs about art, migration and the LGBTQ community!
What has been a challenge for you?
Probably, I’II say the responsibility to collaborate with different agents to make possible the emerging art circulation & sale from Latin America abroad.
What is something you do every day at work?
Check the task list, the correspondence & currency exchange table.
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
For me, a good employee should be responsible, respectful and creative, with the disposition to learn and to give solutions for different situations. Always open to listen, accept mistakes and change ideas when it is necessary.
Meanwhile, I think a good boss should be respectful, responsible and clear at the time to share the work tasks. Be able to use communication strategies with customers, staff and collaborators, as well as to open new work opportunities.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
I think it should be responsible and respectful and to have the ability to make the right networks to accomplish the projects and goals wanted.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace?
To be capable of networking to accomplish the goals of my workspace as well as to opening work opportunities for the artistic community where I came from.
What are things you can do proactively boost your CV?
Maybe I’ll say that I need to be clearer and more precise at the time to talk about my experience as well as to share my CV through platforms familiar with my work field.
Are there any tips you can give people entering the workforce?
Well, I can say that it’s important to be polite with the people and refresh the knowledge about the work ́s field that each one is working with.
In your experience, what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?
I will say that for me it’s important to be polite, to share my experience clearly and to use the right words to show that I am in the best disposition to accomplish the projects and goals wanted.
On the other hand, I suggest avoiding to be arrogant and to show be uninterested in the job request.
Any other anecdotes about your experience in the art world that you would like to share?
Maybe, I would like to talk about the collaboration that I did in March 2019 with La Bodega Gallery & Jorge Ayala from SER NY to make possible the open talk “Reflections from emerging communication ” which had the purpose to highlight the media’s role in art promotion as well as to share experiences about the struggles of emerging media in Oaxaca and NY.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
One of the best exhibitions that I went to see this year was “SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW” in March 2019 in New York City. I really enjoyed it because it allowed me to meet different emerging artists and curators. For example, I was very lucky to finally meet the curator at PARADICE PALASE.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Of course my friends the emerging artists from Oaxaca such Jou Morales, Abril Salgado & Molka. And of course Fernando Botero and Pablo Picasso!