Mesa College Art Gallery



Mesa College Art Gallery

Mesa College
Art Gallery


NEW Gallery Hours: MTW 11-4 pm, TH 1 – 8 pm. Closed Fridays, Weekends and School Holidays.

For parking info during regular gallery hours go to 


Valerie Kim Martinez

7 Steps Forward, 7 Steps Back

October 12 - Nov 2 2017

Reception: Thursday, October 12, 3:30 - 6:30 pm, Gallery and Courtyard
Artist lecture following reception in G102

 FREE parking on reception day ONLY in Lot 10


San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery is proud to present 7 Steps Forward 7 Steps Back, a traveling exhibition of works by artist V. Kim Martinez. The Salt Lake City artist explores traditional themes of death in Mexican and Indigenous cultures in not so traditional ways.
When a person dies, some indigenous peoples of North America practice a ritual called “7 Steps Forward 7 Steps Back.”  For seven days, four times a day, survivors pay homage to the deceased by visiting and marking their burial site with seven lines.  They then walk forward seven steps to the site and, when leaving, walk backward seven steps.  This practice assures that the dead will have safe entry into the afterlife.
V. Kim Martinez’s multi-disciplinary installation, 7 Steps Forward 7 Steps Back is based on her experiences traveling routes used by Mexican/Native American migrants for thousands of years along the now United States and Mexican border. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, and an animated five-minute video, in response to what she witnessed while traversing the southwestern border.  
The video’s construction is not linear, but more of a random, stream-of-consciousness exploration of all the facets of the border experiences. “I didn’t want it to be a linear narrative," she says. "I wanted it to have that sense of magical realism. I wanted the viewer to be unbalanced, to feel some tension."
Her motivation in developing this series was to increase understanding of the political and social discourse of the region.  The resultant images are not literal but rather intellectual concepts and metaphors that invite the viewer to explore and experience the journey.
Traveling within the margins of this rigid yet fluid space allows her to perceive the border in a myriad of ways.  “Movement becomes a metaphor for communication--the transfer of meaning from one place to another, isolating pieces of information, repeating, changing scale, and reducing color, is my attempt to reveal hidden structures and motivations of migration,” Martinez said.
Martinez has exhibited in the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Valdivia, Chile; the SPARC Gallery in Venice California; the Noyes Cultural Art Center, Chicago, Illinois; and at the Al-Kahf Gallery in Bethlehem, Palestine. She is a faculty member of the University of Utah Department of Art and Art History.
7 Steps Forward 7 Steps Back will culminate with a live mural project. Martinez, will be working with San Diego Mesa College students to create an onsite art installation to celebrate Day of the Dead on November 2nd.  7 Steps Forward 7 Steps Back will open on Thursday October 12, 2017 with an artist reception from 3:30pm to 6:30pm to be immediately followed by an artist lecture. The full exhibition will be on view at the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery until November 2, 2017. Admission is Free.

Image credit: V. Kim Martinez, 7 steps Forward 7 Steps Back: Existential Space, 2013, 38" x 38", acrylic on linen


Fall 2017 Student Exhibition
November 30 -December 12

Reception and Art Sale: Thursday, November 30, 1:00 - 7:00 pm, Gallery and Courtyard

An exhibit featuring over 100 artworks in a variety of media. All the works were created by students in our Studio Art classes. Your chance to purchase original art and handmade jewelry, ceramics, glass and works on paper.


Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 11 am - 4 pm

Thursday: 1 - 8 pm

Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays.

Visitors may schedule an appointment to view exhibit when the gallery is closed. We need a week advance notice to schedule special visits. To schedule email

The galley is closed during summer. Also closed for Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Winter Break when the college is not in session.

PARKING IS FREE ON RECEPTION NIGHT ONLY. Park in the upper Faculty A Overflow lot across from the flagpole. If the lot is full purchase a permit and park in the student lots.

Students should ALWAYS park in student lots with proper permit.

FOR VISITORS DURING REGULAR GALLERY HOURS: From the Marlesta entrance purchase a permit from the machine at the information booth to be used only in the student lots. Or use the visitors' 45 minute diagonal spaces in the upper parking area across from the flagpole. Find additional parking info at

To receive email press releases and gallery announcements, or to be placed on our mailing list, please email Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director, at

Gallery Mission:

The Mesa College Art Gallery is an educational forum to present the work of professional artists in a range of media and dealing with diverse issues. The gallery also showcases outstanding artwork created by students in the Art Department.

It is our mission to enrich and engage our student community through art. The gallery exhibits are complemented with artist lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

The works on display reflect a variety of topics in order to engage students from other disciplines and departments. We have created exhibits in collaboration with Chicano Studies, Women Studies and the Black Studies department.

The gallery serves as a laboratory for the Art Department's Museum Studies Program. The college is the only San Diego institution to offer an AA and a Certificate of Performance in Museum Studies/Gallery Exhibition Skills.

During the academic year four exhibits feature art by emerging and established contemporary artists.

A student exhibition is held at the end of every semester. Besides exhibits in our main space, D101, the Art Gallery program and the Museum Studies classes also curate exhibits in locations around San Diego. Past exhibits have been curated as Space4Art, San Diego Art Department, Mission Valley Library, Claire de Lune, Voz Alta and San Diego Contemporary Art Show 2013, 2014 and 2015. Check out our Museum Studies page on FB: San Diego Mesa College Museum Studies.


Alessandra Moctezuma,Gallery Director,Professor, Museum Studies


Or Call Leticia Gomez, Gallery Coordinator: (619) 388-2829

7250 Mesa College Drive -D101 San Diego, CA 92111-4998

For up to the minute info and events check out our FB page:

Mesa College Art Gallery

Artist Submissions:

We are not accepting artist submissions at this time.