100 Creatives

Gabriela Munoz of Arizona Arts Commission on Why Phoenix Needs to Believe in Itself

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 52. Gabriela Muñoz.

Forget life imitating art. Gabriela Muñoz's life is art.

The 36-year-old Phoenician is an artist and arts administrator, who's from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. Formerly curatorial associate in contemporary and Latin American art at Phoenix Art Museum and presently the artist programs manager at Arizona Commission on the Arts, she works "in service of my fellow artists." 

As such, Muñoz's day-to-day schedule revolves around reading, e-mailing, thinking, meeting, and sharing, she says. That comes with the job. But she hasn't left art-making behind. 

In fact, Muñoz is currently working on a duo of pieces that will appear in an exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art this October.

She describes the first as "a series of portraits of Latina women who have worked their way up in different fields to reach positions of power that allows them to then empower women around them." The second is a collaborative piece with artist Jenea Sanchez that's an installation and performance involving building a migrating site-specific structure made from bricks produced by Mexican women. "This piece also centers around women empowering themselves and those around them, and addresses issues surrounding labor,"  Muñoz says. Installing the work will feature durational performance during the first weekend the exhibition is on view. 

Clearly, empowerment is central to Muñoz's work — and her career. She says she's arrived where she's at thanks to a combination of elements. "I’m lucky to have been ready and prepared to take advantage of opportunities for development when they appeared in my life," she says.

I came to Phoenix with a suitcase full of clothes and a backpack full of books.

I make art because it’s beyond me to stop, and I find it is a generative form of expression.

I'm most productive when I have an impending deadline.

My inspiration wall is full of books and photos and objects that remind me of friends and loved ones.

I've learned most from diving into the uncomfortable, foreign, and unexpected.

Good work should always say something to someone, somewhere, and move them to have new thoughts.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more belief in itself. (We’re already doing a pretty good job!)

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski