SHG Reflects On Legacy of Sister Karen Boccalero on Anniversary of Passing

Sister Karen Boccalero by Miguel Angel Reyes.

Sister Karen Boccalero by Miguel Angel Reyes.

By Jennifer Cuevas

As we get ready to launch our People’s Printmaking Week, we reflect on the legacy of SHG created by our Founder, Sister Karen Boccalero (May 19, 1933 - June 24, 1997), on the anniversary of her passing.

Sister Karen was an Italian-American Catholic nun who started the organization with artists Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibáñez and Frank Hernández from her garage in East LA. She recognized the value of Chicano, Latino and Mesoamerican art and social justice; and through printmaking, helped bolster the voices of our communities at a time when Chicano and Latino-American artists were not commonly featured in prominent museum and gallery exhibitions. Over the course of decades she advanced SHG to become a premier printmaking destination and cultural art center in Los Angeles, where numerous renown artists began their careers.

Sister Karen, along with other founding artists like Carlos Bueno, were deeply inspired by the ancient tradition of Día de los Muertos and fostered the growth of this heritage in Los Angeles through SHG’s Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration, beginning in 1973. This became the catalyst for its popularity not only in Los Angeles, but the nation! Our Día de los Muertos Celebration continues to be our annual flagship event attracting thousands each year. Beyond Día de los Muertos, SHG has served hundreds of thousands of people - including individual artists, youth and families - over the course of the organization's lifetime. Thank you Sister Karen for your vision and for paving the way for our incredible legacy!

Has SHG made a difference in your life? Did you know Sister Karen? Share your positive stories with us and tag @SHG1970 #SHGLegacy, for a chance to be featured during our People’s Printmaking Week!

*Featured print available for sale.

Jennifer Cuevas is SHG’s Communications Consultant , a Leadership Advisor and a Cultural Arts producer, with a passion for the arts, social justice and policy.