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BFA Student Pablo Cruz-Ayala’s UROP Research wins Awards and Upcoming Exhibition

Pablo Cruz-Ayala presents UROP research at 2023 Wester Regional Honors Conference

Congratulations to BFA student Pablo Cruz-Ayala, who was awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) grant for the spring 2023 cycle for his research titled "Cross Examination of Human Physiological Responses and Critical Race Intersectionalities through Exposure to Immigrant Focused Visual Art Gallery Exhibition". His research won Visual Arts and Faculty Choice Awards at the 2023 Western Regional Honors Conference and will culminate in an exhibition opening August 11 at Finch Lane Gallery in Salt Lake City.

With input and help from my advisor Wendy Wischer and immigrant community support originations like Artes De Mexico en Utah, I’ve been able to curate a meaningful exhibition that emphasizes community involvement and accessibility. The exhibition will run through the month of August 2023 at the Finch Lane Gallery located here near the University of Utah, and include community survey opportunities and an elective wearable sensor experience to monitor their physical reactions through the gallery. I hope to demonstrate the physical impact art can have on individual and community with their thoughts and experience contributing to a large collaborative piece living within the show and on a website that will document and provide our findings. As a student double majoring in biomedical engineering and painting and drawing, this research experience has been a lifetime in the making. Being able to put my two passions into giving more insights into how we can better communities through the diversity of art is truly inspiring for me. I’ve had the honor of working and learning with some brilliant community members. And I’ve even had the honor of being flown out to this years Western Regional Honors Conference to present my research and accept the WRHC Visual Arts and Faculty Choice awards.

Pablo Cruz-Ayala was born in Guadalajara-Mexico and raised in Utah since the age of five. He is currently in his third year at the University of Utah double majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Fine Arts Painting and Drawing. Ayala explores the intersections between his Mexican/American heritage, and has recently begun exploring the long-lasting impacts of the Spanish colonization of Mexico in his latest series La Malinche. His artwork integrates multi-media portraiture framed by naturalistic environments that create a story with the South American themes of magic realism.