Newsroom at the arts council
 

Armando Cid, visual artist
1943-2009
The California Arts Council loses a great artist and good friend


Published: 07-16-2009

This week the California Arts Council lost a talented artist and good friend: visual artist Armando Cid, husband of Josie S. Talamantez, Chief of Programs at the California Arts Council, and good friend to the California Arts Council.

Armando CidArmando was an artist in a range of disciplines, and is most celebrated for his papier-mache figures on Dia de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") themes. He was also a constituent of the celebrated RCAF or Royal Chicano Air Force, an artists' collective in Sacramento. His formal art education included Pasadena College of Art and Design and California State University-Sacramento where he received his Masters of Art in printmaking. (See article on a CSUS retrospective of the RCAF.)

Armando was dedicated to the reformative and inspirational qualities of the visual arts. He taught at California State University-Sacramento and in the Los Rios Community College system in Sacramento, but his early teaching years were non-traditional teaching institutions as an Artist-in-Resident: migrant camps, community centers in low-income areas, and state prisons in Solano, Susanville and Calipatria.

"He believed art had a social purpose," said Juan Carillo, former deputy director of the California Arts Council, in a Sacramento Bee article. "He felt the past sets the course for the future, and if young people learned about their traditions, they would honor that and stand taller and walk a straighter line."

Arts Council staff remember Armando as talented, generous, kind, and modest. He supported the California Arts Council in any way he could, including volunteering for agency events like the first Arts Day at the State Fair in 2005, where he created artwork to accompany a poem by then-California Poet Laureate Al Young and provided "broadsides," or prints of the illustrated work, for free to the public.

Armando served on the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) and the Art in Public Places Committee, and he helped launch Sacramento's annual Day of the Dead celebration. He took his role with SMAC seriously, and encouraged state employees to give funds to local nonprofit arts organizations during the State Charitable Campaign drive, speaking at workshops of the importance of the local arts commission and other local arts nonprofits. And he and Josie constantly gave prints and illustrations of his work at holidays as gifts; Armando's framed artwork adorns many of the cubicles at the Arts Council's office.

Armando's artwork can be found in more public places as well -- and the art is well loved. When a renovation crew was fixing up the buildings at the Washington Square-Sherwood Apartments in downtown Sacramento, residents were afraid that one of Armando's works titled Olin would be removed. Residents fought for restoration rather than removal, and in 2008 SMAC's Art in Public Places staff worked with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and the Community Housing Opportunities Corp. to fund its refurbishing.

"Some of the people who had been living there for 20 or more years, who saw it when it first went up, really wanted it to stay," said Shelly Willis, Art in Public Places Administrator at SMAC. She notes it as the significance of Armando's artwork and how he will continue with his life's mission, even after his death. "It's really important when the community comes to you and says, 'Please save this mural.'"

The staff and friends of the California Arts Council will miss Armando: his modesty, his kindness, and his generosity. "Every time I think about Armando, he had a wry smile," Carillo said to the Sacramento Bee. "On the exterior he was a jester, but inside he had on a philosopher's cap and was always teaching. He was a teacher to the core."

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The services for Armando Cid will take place this Sunday, July 19, at Sierra View Chapel, 6201 Fair Oaks Blvd, Carmichael (916) 481-1515. Josie Talamantez and her family have organized a day of remembrance and celebration as they prepare for his later cremation and distribution of his ashes according to his wishes. Those interested in participating in the planned services and viewing may come at any time between 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The ceremonies will start with ritual dancing by local danzantes followed by a traditional church service at 2:00 p.m. This will be followed by a color guard service. Food will be available in the afternoon and is planned to allow friends and community to visit with each other and with the Cid family. During this time as well, the family is planning to sing traditional songs. A rosary is scheduled at 6:00 p.m. with testimonials following.