Wall of change

The Poster! La Palabra! The Word!

In the 1970s, the Sacramento-based art collective the Royal Chicano Air Force emerged as an influential presence in the Chicano arts scene. Founded by José Montoya, who studied at Sacramento State University on a fellowship in the college's Mexican American Education Project, and art-school student Esteban Villa, the collective (originally named the Rebel Chicano Art Front) aimed to raise awareness and support for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. The group, comprising visual artists, musicians, poets, performers and activists, also worked to foster creativity, change and activism in the community by painting murals, conducting workshops and holding poetry readings and cultural festivals—all promoted with colorful posters.

With their bold hues and dramatic narratives, these silk-screened works quickly became emblematic of the movement. Now, a new art show at Sac State highlights selected works from the university's permanent collection. The Poster! La Palabra! The Word!, which showcases various RCAF artists, including pieces by the late Ricardo Favela and Armando Cid, runs through April 27, in the Sacramento State Library Gallery Annex. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and the exhibit includes Villa's music as background listening. A reception is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, from 1 to 5 p.m., and will include a lecture from the event co-curator Ella Diaz, as well as an art-history panel on “Challenges of Campus Art Management” from 2:30 to 4 p.m. 6000 J Street, www.csus.edu.