Art Made Between Opposite Sides

Tanya Aguiñiga

Artist Bio

As the busiest land port of entry, the San Ysidro border crossing sees over 300,000 daily commuters who wait 1–3 hours to enter the United States. As a 14-year border commuter, public artist, educator and craftsperson, Tanya Aguiñiga seeks to activate this unique physical space into a place of engaged transition and community. Through Art Made Between Opposite Sides, Aguiñiga will collaborate with commuters to create a site-specific installation that organically grows out of a rented storefront on the Mexican side of the San Ysidro border. Spanning over two weeks, this pilot project challenges the concept of borders and sets the stage for additional artists to create new commuter-centered works from this hub.

Social Practice
Award Year


Tanya Aguiñiga presents her project at the 2016 Creative Capital Retreat

Tanya Aguiñiga

Tanya Aguiñiga

Los Angeles, CA

Tanya Aguiñiga’s work lives at the intersection of art, craft, and design—she was even dubbed the “patron saint of the Los Angeles modern craft movement” by the Los Angeles Times. Initially drawn to craft as a medium because of function, having grown up in Tijuana, Mexico, where all was put to use, Aguiñiga eventually pursued advanced degrees in Furniture Design. While studying woodworking as an undergraduate, Aguiñiga was introduced to jewelry, metalsmithing, ceramics, and textile disciplines, culminating in further investigations of craft disciplines and their larger connections to culture, tradition, material, function and community. As a Mexican-American, woman, mother and craftsperson, she has not taken success or opportunity lightly. Adversity catalyzed and shaped her art career and now serves as an example for younger generations that she mentors and helps to educate.

Aguiñiga received the Heinz Award in 2021.