Latino visual artist, textile designer and weaving instructor Ruben Marroquin is a big dreamer.
For the past two years, he has operated an art and weaving studio out of a storefront at the Arcade Mall in downtown Bridgeport.
Now he wants to go a step further and build a sustainable business offering weaving workshops to those who wish to learn the crafts of weaving and fiber art making. To reach this goal, he organized an online fundraising campaign on the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. Those who donate $15 or more will receive a gift, ranging from a small woven sample, all the way up to a hand-woven throw for a donation of $1,000 or more. As of press time, his campaign has raised $3,470 towards his $5,000 goal. The campaign ends on March 7.
Funds raised will not only help Marroquin improve his Weaving Workshop at the Arcade Mall but will aid in the purchase of costly equipment and high quality yarns, weaving shuttles, portable looms and other art materials.
“My goal is to contribute to the artistic and cultural community of Bridgeport while stepping up to the global arts community,” Marroquin writes on his website. “I see that Bridgeport is becoming a center for creativity and I am proud to be part of this emergence of talented people, but I find that I can’t sustain my efforts alone and I reach out for help from my community.”
His goal is also to improve the quality of the courses he teaches to “empower” the city’s art community. Every year, he conducts weaving demonstrations at the Bridgeport Arts Fest. He has also visited area schools, the Westport Library and places such as the local YMCA.
Inspiration from colorful Central America
Marroquin’s Venezuelan mother and Guatemalan father met in the United States. Born in Chicago, at the age of one Marroquin moved to Venezuela with his mother and lived there until age 20. He studied painting and first formed a strong connection with textiles at the Armando Reveron University Institute, in Caracas.
To connect with his father’s roots, he traveled around Guatemala, and then lived in Mexico for three years. Marroquin says he is inspired today by the colorful fabrics and bright hues in the marketplaces in Guatemala and Mexico City.
His next stop was New York, where he received an associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009. The next year, Marroquin attended a semester at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI, les Ateliers) in Paris, concentrating on weaving.
A contemporary artist—who divides his time between Bridgeport and Brooklyn, N.Y.—Marroquin has participated in group showings at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Fuller Craft Museum and the Hudgens Center for the Arts. This year, he’s been invited to the Textile Biennial at the Rijswijk Museum in Holland.
Although the 35-year-old has had success showing in art galleries, museums, art fairs and corporate events, he says he depends on sales of his work and cannot sustain an art studio without financial support.
Having achieved 69 percent of his goal at the end of February, this up-and-coming artist is well on his way to making his dreams come true.
To donate to the Weaving Workshops campaign, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/weaving-workshops. The campaign ends on March 7. Weaving Workshops will hold “A Night Out at the Arcade” at the Arcade Mall, 1001 Main Street, in Bridgeport on Friday, March 6, from 6 p.m. until midnight. The event will feature live music from four bands and tours of the art, weaving and printing studio.