Daniel Martin Diaz

More from this show

Meet artist Daniel Martin Diaz. His latest collection of art, “Mysterium Fidei, Mystery of Faith,” is currently on display at the Mesa Arts Center.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." Tonight, Arizona high school students could be closer to having tougher graduation requirements, when it comes to math classes. What the proposed changes will be and a group working together on a plan to identify how the current and future requirements affect Hispanic students. And, in "Sounds of Cultura, SOC" artist Daniel Martin Diaz talks about what influences his work, as well as his newest collection of art on display here in the valley. All coming up on "Horizonte".

>>Announcer:
Funding for Horizonte is provided by SRP. SRP's business is water and power, but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. SRP: delivering more than power.

>>Jose Cardenas:
The Arizona state board of education has initiated a review of the current requirements for high school graduation. Last month, the board heard public comment from business leaders and educators on the proposal to raise math credits from two to four and science from two to three to graduate. Classes could start with freshmen in 2008. One focus of this year's Arizona Latino Research Enterprise Town Hall was this specific topic and examining the gaps for Latino students in subject of math. Joining me to talk about the requirements and town hall focus is Dr. David Garcia. Dr. Garcia is the ASU assistant professor and director for the Arizona education for ASU's Mary Lou Fulton College of Education. He is also on the board of directors for "Arizona Latino Research Enterprise". Also here is Dr. Karen Nicodemus. She is the president of the Arizona State Board of Education and Cochise College. Thank you both for joining us.

>>David Garcia:
Thank You.

>>Karen Nicodemus:
Thank You

>>Jose Cardenas:
Big title so it always consumes a lot of time there. David let's talk about one of those big titles. The Arizona Latino Research Enterprise. What is that all about?

>>David Garcia:
The Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, or ALRE, is a group of Latinos from across the perspectives in terms of positions here in the valley. And it includes Latinos from both political parties. And the idea is to bring them -- everyone together for an opportunity to try to figure out what we can do to contribute to solving some of the issues that are facing our state.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And I know town hall isn't the only thing that ALRE does. But it is the primary focus in identifying issues. There's so much going on. Immigration of course is a hot topic. Why focus on math?

>>David Garcia:
The focus for the town hall first and foremost is education. The town hall focuses on two key areas, education and what we call a political track. We think that everything intersects one of the two. So we focus there. In education, I believe that a significant issue coming forward for this state is the graduation requirement increase, particularly in mathematics. So we took the opportunity in this town hall to talk about it so we could get ahead of the issue. The state board has a couple more opportunities to pass it. And then it's up -- really the tough part comes in place, that is implementing it. School districts and schools and communities getting ready for the increase.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Dr. Nicodemus, you spoke at the town hall I assume wearing your hat as president state board of education. Tell us what the current requirements are and what the changes will be if it's adopted.

>>Karen Nicodemus:
It has not yet been adopted. We anticipate the board will consider the action on its December 10th meeting. The significant changes between what currently exists, currently a student is required at a minimum to complete 20 credit hours. If we speak to math right now it requires two credits or math, as proposed -- it does have kind of a phase-in process. But as proposed for the graduating class of 2013, the number of math credits would move to four credits. Currently there are two credits required in science. That would move to three credits of science. We would add a half credit of economics. We would move from 20 credits being the requirement to 22 credits. That would be fully phased in with the graduating class of 2013. So it really looks at both preparing students for the 21st century, speaks to college and work readiness. We certainly are not the only state doing this initiative. We're part of a diploma project which has looked at this also.

>>Jose Cardenas:
In a sense I assume, David, is the perception that the United States is falling behind in math and science is. Is that accurate?

>>David Garcia:
I think in many indications it's more than a perception. Our students at higher grades score lower on international tests by and large than other countries. In addition, I think that this particular requirement is filling a gap. The math requirements at the high school level in my opinion is the difference between how we're preparing our students and what Arizona's high tech, biotech aspirations are. We're asking students currently to take two years of mathematics with possibly an algebra one equivalent, yet as a state we want to compete on a larger level.

>>Jose Cardenas:
It doesn't meet college entrance requirements, does it?

>>David Garcia:
Not the two years. It doesn't meet college entrance requirements. So if we as a state have aspirations to compete on a global scale, to increase technology, to increase areas like bioscience in Arizona and one is to increase mathematics for high school, create a stronger pipeline to the universities and community colleges, otherwise the state will have to continue on piping, bringing in people from outside to fill these positions.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Karen, I understand that there's an opt-out provision in that there are alternative paths so to speak in the proposal. Can you elaborate on that?

>>Karen Nicodemus:
One of the things the state board has tried to do is to provide flexibility and recognize that students -- part as David has indicated, it's not just enough to increase the graduation requirements but we have to have students move successfully through that requirement and provide multiple pathways. So on one level we've tried -- specific to the math we've tried to look at defining a particular math course such as algebra two, but also saying that if a student can acquire the same course content in other courses, whether that be technical education courses or whether that be through other disciplines, then that's also appropriate. Then there is also something called a personal curriculum which is modeled from the state of Michigan. And it speaks to the fact that especially as you become more aggressive in putting in place the graduation requirements, because ideally you create also a case rate which provides the best foundation for students moving into those high school graduation requirements. But the fact that we're putting in place these requirements for what are now the 7th grade, those sitting in 7th grade right now, we have created something called a personal curriculum. A personal curriculum does provide and allow a student who has moved through and attempted algebra one and geometry, if it appears there will be difficulty for that student to complete algebra two, they with their parents or with a guardian can sit with high school or district officials and say is there a better pathway that will still allow the students to he really get the exposure to math, because it still would require students to take a math class in their senior year. Part of what we also look at is the fact that there's a gap between when a student completes a math course and when they want to enter higher education. So it does provide that flexibility. But it's something that's not -- a student would have to sit down and really discuss and look at what would be the implications as they look to go into the workplace or into college.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And that's part of the proposal that is under consideration.

>>Karen Nicodemus:
That is part of the proposal that is under consideration.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Now, as I understand it, you've been soliciting feedback all the way along. Most recently you've had the fist of the formal hearings on that is that right?

>>Karen Nicodemus:
Yes.

>>Jose Cardenas:
What are you hearing?

>>Karen Nicodemus:
Some at the hearing that was held earlier this week, the primary concern was really with folks involved in the career education field. That is more of the regence diploma which is another pathway the state board is considering. The regence diploma right now is aligned to university admission standards for the three state universities. So it has even more rigor and less flexibility than what you would find in the standard diploma. So the concerns have been raised from the career technical and education representatives that in some ways, the regence diploma, because it's more specific in its courses, doesn't allow a career technical education students to aspire to the regence diplomas. We heard from people concerned about that. We also heard from an individual who has a very gifted student who will actually complete the math sequence prior to or early in their high school career. And what will be their options in terms of not being required to take algebra two or geometry because they actually will have completed that going -- prior to going into high school. So the full array of concerns were expressed in this first formal hearing.

>>Jose Cardenas:
One of the concerns I heard expressed were with the two types of diplomas you create a two class citizens so to speak. Was that expressed?

>>Karen Nicodemus:
Yes, it was expressed in many ways. Just as there's a lot of effort within the career technical education field to bring in academic rigor and really to recognize that one pathway is not less than the other pathway, that we may have the unintended consequence with the regence diploma of creating that perspective. And that certainly is not the intent of the state board of education. If anything we're looking at ways to really provide multiple ways for students to be prepared, as David indicated, for the work force and for college.

>>Jose Cardenas:
David, speaking of feedback, what kind of feedback did you get, and the other sponsors of the town hall, to these proposals, and particularly the personal curriculum proposal?

>>David Garcia:
The town hall was very supportive. Increasing math requirements, they were largely in favor of. ALRE wants to push forward with the campaign with the Latino community to push forward this and communicate. Math is a tough subject. In all the graduation requirements, not just Arizona but many other states, increasing math and rigor of math comes with a lot of fear and a lot of concern on behalf of people who struggle with mathematics.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Was some of that expressed at the town hall?

>>David Garcia:
No question it was expressed at the town hall. Because people go back to thinking of their mathematics experiences and them getting through algebra two and they've got some concerns.

>>Jose Cardenas:
The reason why I went to law school.

>>David Garcia:
Exactly. So in it particular case there was concerns. But once we got talking about what was specifically required and you start to educate on what resources are available that parents can possibly do, we felt that that was an important message so that we can embrace this requirement and also ask for what we need as a community to get it done. My hope is that this is going to mean our math teachers need to be better prepared, particularly in high Latino schools, to get students through the options or through the requirements. The personal curriculum option, there was some concern about. Because the fear, and I think the concern, is that that not become a lesser option. And in particular case, to meet question is, what students are using the personal curriculum option? And are there going to be potentially a high percentage of minority students who -- or lower SCS Students who use the personal curriculum option? And if they do, what are their prospects after high school? Are they as prepared for whatever choices they want to make after high school if they use the personal curriculum option?

>>Jose Cardenas:
Now, assuming ALRE and its supporters are satisfied with whatever answers you get to that question, is there concern, and is that motivation for this kind of outreach program that other Latino groups will be opposed to these increased requirements?

>>David Garcia:
I think that there's concern of many groups may be opposed to this. It's math. And we have had that comes up over and over again. And in addition, I think that we should be aware of the fact that anytime you increase requirements you raise the risk of making it difficult for students not to get through, and possibly increasing things like the dropout rate and like because you've raised the bar. And those students just below the bar have further to go. And so I believe if Arizona is like other states who have done this, there will be groups who perhaps show concerns on those two issues. Our students -- are a higher percentage of students going to drop out and increase a dropout problem that's already rather big for the Latino community, and which student will meet which type of diploma. And in this particular case, I think it's important that we communicate as early as possible what this requirement is, what it isn't, and try to put it in the light where people are again less concerned and less fearful about it.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Dr. Nicodemus, we're almost out of time. What's next and what can be done?

>>Karen Nicodemus:
I anticipate the board will take action on December 10th. As David commented, the board feels like its work is just beginning. We need to look at -- and in our mind we have set the target, now we have to pursue a dual agenda that helps students move through and be successful. It's going to take a lot of support from groups, parents in the community and teachers and everyone else. I think that's where our work will really begin is to say no student should be left behind on this but we should be able to bring and have all students be successful. That's part of our job as policymakers.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Dr. Garcia and Nicodemus, thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

>>Karen Nicodemus:
Thank you.

>>David Garcia:
Thank You

>>Jose Cardenas:
In Horizonte Sounds of Cultura, SOC, the works of Tucson artist Daniel Martin Diaz, convey something mystical within them. Diaz's paintings are of Christian themes and icons. His work gives a modern twist on early Christian, Medieval, and Byzantine art. Joining me to talk about his work and new collection is. Daniel Martin Diaz. Daniel, welcome to Horizonte. I want to talk about your background and paintings and influence and everything else. Tell us about yourself first.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
I was born in Tucson, Arizona to Mexican parents from Mexico. I had a real basic, simple upbringing like any other Mexican family. Nothing really off the wall or anything.

>>Jose Cardenas:
You started painting somewhat late in life?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Yes. In my mid 20's I discover art and taught myself how to paint.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And you have a particular focus on religious art. And I want to put one of the pieces up right now and just kind of give people a sense for what we're talking about. We'll show one piece now and then one of them later. These are the kinds of things you focus on. Here we have an angel figure but some other influences. Talk a little bit about this piece and then we'll talk more about your influences.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
This is an archangel, an apocalyptic archangel. It's a theme that I've been exploring I think since I started painting is the idea of the apocalypse and just biblical ideas. And this is something that shows up throughout history. This is my interpretation of that.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Why did this particular interest in this kind of art?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
I don't know. That's an interesting question. Because it's something that I wish I could give you an answer to that. But I don't really know. It's just something that I really feel a connection to.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And the art itself has some historical roots. Tell us a little bit about that.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
As far as --

>>Jose Cardenas:
The influences, Spanish, Mexican.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Yes. The types of works that have really influenced me have been the Spanish colonial type of work, the exmotos from Italy. And also the northern European primitive from the German area. There's just something about that type of work that really struck a chord in me.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Now, there's a little bit, I think some people would say, but not that much of the New Mexican, at least in early periods of this, Santero's work and so forth. What's your reaction to that suggestion?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
I really kind of feel like I'm working in that tradition in some sort of way because my work is coming from a devotional perspective. So there is a Santero aspect to it.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And you say your work comes from a devotional perspective. Yet there are some critics who say that your work and in fact suggest that it's blasphemous.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Yeah. I've had that throughout my career. But I mean, my work is coming totally from a positive point of view. Nothing offensive towards the church or any other faith. It's just my interpretation of religious art in this modern time.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And how do you see that faith that you have and the art in which you express it? How do you see that coming together?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
It comes together every time I sit down and paint. I don't know where it's coming from. It's just a mystical place that I really don't want to know where it's coming from. I always feel like if I try to psychoanalyze it too much then the mystery will be lost and the magic will be lost.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Tell us about the first experience you had with that kind of inspiration. This is what, you were 29, I think you told me?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
I was I think 28, 29. I had bought some paint. And I did a painting of the Virgin Mary. And from that moment, that was what I -- I went on painting the same subject matter. From the first painting I did, it was coming from that mystical, religious point of view.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Now, let's talk a little bit about some of the other pieces that are in the collection that's on exhibit at the Mesa Art Center. And this one in particular. This image of the virgin. You see these in Mexico these kind of images with the wide gown and so forth. Tell us about this piece.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
This piece is titled faith and reason. I feel a strong connection towards the Virgin Mary. And every time I paint her I want to create like the most -- I want to create like -- create her in the most magnificent beauty that I could. And it's just something that I feel really truly passionate about is always trying to capture the passion that she went through and the pain.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And how is it expressed in this particular piece, do you think?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
If you were to see this piece in person, it's a very large piece. I don't know. It just -- there's an innocence to her that I think I capture with this piece that I'm really proud of.

>>Jose Cardenas:
We've got a few other pieces I want to talk to you about. And this next one, there's a crown of -- well, the thorns are -- or the crown of thorns, the traditional views of Jesus. Tell us about this piece.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
I was in Austria in 2003. And I went to this cathedral called Saint Steven's Cathedral. And they had this huge painting of Christ on the cross. And it was a black and white image. And it just had such a huge impact on me that when I got home, I did this piece kind of through my reflection based on that piece. And it's just something -- it's a subject matter that I don't do a lot, you know, painting Christ. But to paint him -- I have to build up the energy to paint him.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Typically are you painting on canvas or is it oil on wood?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Oil on wood. The last piece you saw of Christ that was a whole pencil on wood.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And we'll get another one up here. And as it comes up, how would you describe this one? And you've got the Latin at the bottom.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
This is the -- another -- I was in this cathedral in Tucson called St. John's Cathedral. And they have the Stations of the Cross. And this was my interpretation of one of the Stations of the Cross, the resurrection of Christ, which really -- it's a modern interpretation of it.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And this next piece that we're going to have up here in a second, what does this reflect?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
It's called the bleeding tree. It's the whole idea of nature surrounding the figure that's inside of the tree. And the tree actually bleeding is kind of a representation--

>>Jose Cardenas:
The figure inside the tree that Christ held?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
It's supposed to represent Mary. But as you can see, there are nails in the tree that are bleeding. And that's kind of to show that nature is --

>>Jose Cardenas:
That same piece for --

>> Yeah.

>>Jose Cardenas:
What does this reflect in particular?

>> Daniel Martin Diaz:
It's just the passion of Mary and her being protected by nature.

>>Jose Cardenas:
I think we've got another piece or two that we want to look at coming up here. And this is the last one. This looks a lot different than what we've seen before. And this has more of a day of the dead, dia de los muertos.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
That has the idea of being connect today somebody so much that you're connected to them in death, just like love eternity, which is really --

>>Jose Cardenas:
Now, all of this or your work hats been put together in a book. Tell us a little bit about the book and how that came to be.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
The book is titled "mystery of faith."

>>Jose Cardenas:
You've got the Latin in it, though. Misterium fide?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Yes. It's a catalog of my work from the last 11 years. La Lusta Jesus from LA published it. I was very fortunate they let me design it from beginning to end. It's just a representation of my work from the last 12-years. And it's a very special thing to me. They let me design, like I said, every aspect of it, to it being a cloth bound with the silver stamp on it and the writing that I got for the book were all Arizona-based writers which was another thing that I'm really proud of.

>>Jose Cardenas:
We've got less than a minute left. And I want to close with one more image that we have and have you talk about this one.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
This is Santos Manos, which translated into sacred pony. This is the project I did for the Pima Arts Council in Tucson.

>>Jose Cardenas:
When they did their pony exhibit?

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Yes. It was called ponies of pueblo. And they had different artists painting on a pony and their interpretations of their type of work. And this is what I came up with.

>>Jose Cardenas:
It's a beautiful piece.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Thank You.

>>Jose Cardenas:
I'm sorry we're out of time. But Daniel Martin Diaz, thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

>>Daniel Martin Diaz:
Thank You.

>>Jose Cardenas:
The Daniel Martin Diaz exhibit runs through December 2nd at the Mesa Contemporary Arts at Center and Main. Because of the thanksgiving holiday Horizonte will be pre-empted next week for special programming on 8. I'm Jose Cardenas. For all of us at Horizonte, we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Good night.

Dr. Karen Nicodemus: President, Arizona State Board of Education and Cochise College;

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

An armed forces bugler playing the trumpet in front of the United States Capitol building.
aired May 26

National Memorial Day Concert 2024

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 26

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Rachel Khong
May 29

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: