~ Photo above courtesy of the Library of Congress: U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera performs at the Library of Congress in April with the Fresno State Chamber Singers

The Center for Creativity and the Arts and the Department of Art and Design pay tribute to Juan Felipe Herrera’s two-term tenure as poet laureate of the United States in an exhibition titled “Magnifying the People’s Voice: A Laureate’s Journey Across America.” This exhibition will be on display from Oct. 5 through 26 at the M Street Graduate Studios (1419 M St.) in downtown Fresno.

The opening will be from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, as part of ArtHop, the open house of galleries and studios in downtown Fresno and the Tower District on the first Thursday of each month. An artist’s reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

“Magnifying the People’s Voice” will showcase some of Herrera’s projects with the Library of Congress, as well as his interactions with people throughout the United States during his tenure from 2015 to 2017. This exhibition is part of CCA’s 2017-18 theme “Voice and Silence: Expressions of Community, Advocacy and the Human Spirit.”

“Magnifying the People’s Voice” will consist of snapshot photographs taken by Herrera of train stations, airports, cityscapes, automatic writing, people and popular culture. The snapshots are candid representations of Herrera’s travels, interactions with people and projects with the Library of Congress. Each photograph will be accompanied by a short story prose or photo-poem written by Herrera.

“Through the snapshots of this exhibition, visitors will be able to see Herrera’s uncompromising dedication to the American collective and his personal ideals,” said Cindy Urrutia, director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts. “In this exhibition, one truly sees the expanse that is America: different socio-economic backgrounds, multiple identity groups, various ages and geographic regions. Herrera worked with America, represented America, is America. He is the ‘People’s Poet.’”

A Fowler native, Herrera worked as a professor in Fresno State’s Chicano and Latin American Studies Department from 1990 to 2004. In 2015, he was appointed as the United States’ 21st poet laureate, becoming the first Hispanic to hold the title. He was reappointed in April 2016 to a second term. The majority of Herrera’s projects were meant to engage children and young adults with the spoken word.

The Center for Creativity and the Arts serves a hub for arts in which artists from a variety of backgrounds can work to stimulate public engagement through inquiry, discussion and understanding.

Gallery hours at M Street are from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Weekday viewings can be arranged by appointment. Details are available by calling 559.278.3345.