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Tammy Ortegon, Cover Artist December 2010

I was honored to be featured on the cover of the Minnesota Women’s Press as a 2010 Changemaker.

I am inspired by and thankful for local artists, community activism, and women’s voices — that is why I am a longtime fan of the Minnesota Women’s Press.

Since 2010, I have been creating new art, caring for my family, running the ColorWheel Gallery, and working on community art and healing events. The ColorWheel Gallery has been a creative community space that has supported local artists for 17 years. In 2016, I created a coloring activity book focused on Prince and the local influence he had, including his impact on me as an artist. In 2017, I created another book called “Pollinate Community,” focused on an ecosystem that relies on interdependent, diverse, and complex relationships that we need in order to survive. These books inspired community exhibits, art-making parties, and conversations.

This year has been complicated and stressful. Creative communities have been hit hard and people are struggling. But out of struggle comes much-needed change, new ideas, ingenuity, inspiration, and hope for a new and better world.

My article in 2010 was titled “Art for Change,” and that is what I still focus on. However, this year has challenged me. I had to stop, think, and re-focus on what my purpose is as an artist, activist, educator, and member of my family and community. Where should I focus my energies and passion, which seem to be depleted? Women are taught to give so much. We overcompensate and burn ourselves out to prove we can reach high expectations. I am working on self-care and reflection now.

This year for me also has been very difficult as I lost my mother, Eileen Espinosa, to cancer. She was an extremely talented artist and made art out of everything in life. She struggled to overcome her depression, anxiety, childhood trauma, insecurities, and many fights with cancer, all the time creating art. She, like many women artists, was overlooked and underappreciated. [My mother was also featured on the Minnesota Women’s Press 2016 Changemakers cover, featuring a painting she did of me.] I loved being able to show our art together and was thankful that I was able to encourage her.

Eight months before she passed away, I had a Celebration of Life retrospective of her work at the ColorWheel Gallery. It was a packed house. I am thankful that she was there to take in all the love. Remember to celebrate and honor your loved ones while they are still here.


ColorWheelGallery.com


When Minnesota Women’s Press transitioned from a newspaper format to a monthly magazine in 2009, the publication began showcasing Minnesota women artists on the cover each month. They worked in many mediums, and were at various stages of their careers.

In our “35 Years of Minnesota Women’s Press” book, former publishers Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson write, “We looked for artwork that made a strong statement about being a woman, and often artwork that represented the theme of the monthly issue — from women’s bodies, homes and environments, spiritualities, politics, fitness and health, and what nourishes women.”

For this issue, we reconnected with a few past cover artists and asked them to share an update on their lives and art.

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