Juan Alonso-Rodríguez arrived in the United States from his native Cuba on March 2, 1966, exactly one month before his tenth birthday. He is a self-taught artist whose transition from music to visual arts coincided with his move to Seattle in 1982.
In addition to being a successful visual artist, Juan is an activist for the arts and social justice, and a strong voice for inclusion in the arts. Juan lobbied to include at least one person of color on selection panels in the 1980s, meeting with city, county, and state arts commissions. He has also been on numerous selection panels for city, county, and state arts commissions including Artist Trust, Bumbershoot, and the Neddy Fellowship. He created and funded the Latino/a Artists EDGE Professional Development Scholarship. He continues to speak out publicly for more representation and inclusion of Latino and Latina artists. In 2015 he led an online campaign to include more artists of color in survey shows such as Out of Site, a presentation of local artists during the first Seattle Art Fair.
Juan also uses his studio as a tool to bring awareness to the mission of chosen non-profits. Each April he hosts a fund-raiser, selling work and collecting donations for that year’s non-profit.
Recently Juan again raised the profile of art in Seattle by soliciting Town Hall Seattle to create and curate the successful “Inside Art” visual artist speaker series in the fall of 2013. Juan was also the Artist in Residence at Town Hall Seattle in the spring of 2015 where, aside from AIR responsibilities, he also created a lecture/discussion series with artists such as choreographer Olivier Wevers, and artist and Guggenheim Fellow Rick Araluce. At Town Hall he also created CONNECT, an event to introduce artists of different disciplines to each other and to resources such as Space-Finders (studios), Lawyers for the Arts, publications, curators, arts organizations, fabricators, shippers, and consultants.
His work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada and Latin America and is included in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Microsoft, Swedish & Harborview Hospitals, General Mills and has created public works for Century Link Field, Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, King County Housing Authority, Epiphany School, Sound Transit’s Light Rail system and Chief Sealth High School commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission. His awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant and a residency at the Centrum Foundation. In 2015, he completed artist residencies for the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Town Hall Seattle. As of January 2016, Juan serves as Seattle Arts Commissioner and is also member of the Public Art Advisory Committee for the City of Seattle.