Frances Valesco (born 1941) is an artist, printmaker, muralist, and educator currently living in Alameda, California. Born in Los Angeles, she moved with her family at nine months old to Washington, DC. She returned to Los Angeles at age six. She earned her bachelor’s from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1963, after attending Long Beach State University, and then an MA from California State University in 1972. She is currently working on an EdD at Capella University’s School of Public Service and Education. She has taught and collaborated with her students, artists Xochitl Nevel-Guerrero and Ester Hernández. She has been described as a pollinator of cultural expression and a community builder, representing a variety of voices. One of the first muralists to benefit from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) arts program, with that funding she built community and gave back with mural making projects. Among her thirty murals are the Alphabet Mural, the Desert Mural, Kool Blue, and El torneo entre el sol y el viento. One of her most enduring and long-standing projects, which is also a traveling exhibition, is the Disability Mural, for which she served as a founder and coordinator. Her prints and art have also been showcased internationally in Linz, Austria; Guanlan, China; and Aguascalientes, Mexico. She focuses on visual metaphors, the connection between nature and activism, and the understanding of disabilities as important differences that can create art. Her last name, Valesco, similar to the Spanish last name Velasco, was a stage name her father took after arriving in Havana, Cuba after he had been a part of Valesku, his family musical group that toured throughout the Russian empire. This is an example of what she refers to as her chameleonic nature, between Jewish and Russian identities, and between an educator and an artist, among other liminal spaces.
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