With many music venues still shuttered, Groundworks created an event that allowed for art, both musical and paintings, to be shared in a safe and responsible way. On Tuesday, March 2, Groundworks announced their project “Creation in Isolation,” in which artists and muralists would come to Groundworks to display their work. Over 50 visual artists and 20 musical acts were a part of the charity event for Dos Bellotas, a mutual aid group that delivers supplies to the Native American Hopi and Navajo nations.
Many artists have enjoyed their experience working with Groundworks on creation in isolation, including the band Los Velvets. Los Velvets features synthesizer and vocalist Nicole Paco, bass player Fabian Armando Rios, drummer Robert Garcia, vocalist and guitar player Alec Andre Ruvalcaba and lead guitar Samuel Bencomo.
When Los Velvets played at Groundworks, it was their first major performance as a band. Paco said she enjoyed the atmosphere of Groundworks and what it did for her and the band.
“It was very personal and meaningful,” Paco said. “I really enjoyed that the community was helping bring local art and music together. [The other artists] were very welcoming and comforting to be around. It meant a lot and I was very glad that I was a part of it.”
“[Groundworks] was open to seeing what we had envisioned,” Ruvalcaba said. “It was really nice working with them because they were open to all the ideas that we had. It was more of a collaboration instead of them telling us what to play.”
Groundworks has gained the respect of many artists in the Tucson area. Rios raved about the organization and how well Logan Greene, board president, runs the show.
“What struck me was how professional everything was,” Rios said. “[Greene] did not waste anybody’s time. [The staff] was good about making sure we did what we were there to do.”
Greene's professionalism left a positive impression with many artists, including 16-year-old Imogen Rose. Rose said she is thankful that Greene created a space where she can perform, since she is too young to perform at most venues.
“It was extremely exciting to know that there is an arts space created and dedicated for youth,” Rose said. “I often find myself looking for more youth artists and people my age that I can create with. [Greene] is great. He is a cool musician … and I think it has made me a lot more confident to want to pursue future endeavors.”
Since Groundworks has done so much for her, Rose said she wants to give back to the venue in any way she can.
“I am excited to volunteer with them again,” Rose said. “It is a place I want to go back to a lot.”
Not only has Groundworks captured the attention of the younger crowd, but it has also hosted current and former University of Arizona students. Violinist Courtney Pinski graduated from the UA School of Music in 2019 with a violin performance degree. She specializes in Celtic Fiddle, which is a combination of Irish and Scottish folk music. Since it is not a very well-known genre of music, Pinski was shocked when she and fellow violinist Laura Casarez was asked to record at Groundworks again.
“I couldn’t believe people wanted to hear us again,” Pinski said. “After doing it the first time it was so odd because it is so different from your typical genre of music. I wrote the tune we were playing, and it is rare to have a venue where you can play your original music if you are not singing.”
Pinski, much like Rose, is also grateful for the work Greene has done for young artists.
“I admire what they are doing for the community,” Pinksi said. “Helping youth in music and using that to help other people who are not in music but live in Tucson. I appreciate what they are doing and that is why I chose to get involved.”
Another UA student involved in the Groundworks scene is Lee Parada. Parada is currently a junior majoring in psychology with a double minor in Spanish and anthropology. While many artists are now just starting to get familiar Groundworks, they have known Greene for a very long time.
“I have known Logan since I was eight years old,” Parada said. “I have wanted to get involved with the scene here for so long. Getting the opportunity to play at this venue was a fulfillment of something that I wanted to do. Having the full support of my community meant the world to me.”
Parada said they believe that Groundworks can become a beacon of hope for the artists of Tucson.
“Groundworks has the potential to be a really safe space for a lot of people,” Parada said. “I think that a lot of the youth in Tucson don’t feel that they have a community and a place where they feel comfortable being themselves. Groundworks is going to be that place for so many people.”
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