Native Bruin: Past, Present, & Future – Lorenzo Baca

🔷Bruin Highlight: Past, Present & Future 🔷
🔸This February 2024 we are highlighting Native Bruin Lorenzo Baca, class of 1986.
Lorenzo Baca describes himself as a “story-making visual, literary and performing CIMOC (creative Indigenous man of color) artist, of an endangered species along with Puebloan and Spanish origins,” which is his primary cultural identity.
Although raised in what he calls “unfriendly-to-people-of-color Roswell, New Mexico,” he was born in the copper mining town of Morenci, Arizona, “the same year celestial creatures crashed their voyager in 1947.”
Lorenzo feels proud to be the first in his family to earn an MA degree and the first with such an achievement from UCLA in American Indian Studies in 1986. He considers his time at UCLA an “adventure” in knowledge, research, and creative discovery in his area of concentration, Expressive Arts. He had access to grants and a fellowship that led to photography, video, audio recordings and his thesis titled, “Songs, Dances and Traditions of the Tuolumne Band of California Mi Wok.”
Lorenzo was happy to maintain his creativity through poetry readings, acting in film school projects, and as graphic designer for the American Indian Studies Center. Even though he declined an offer to teach at the film school, he acknowledges UCLA for enhancing his teaching skills of communication. As the eldest of six siblings, he always served as an educator, having earned a Standard Credential (K-9) at Cal State Long Beach.
“Creativity is my life, since early childhood in New Mexico, and is experienced daily on my two-acre hilltop, in the woods, as I am completing a monumental sculptural form and example of vernacular architecture that I will live in as a Puebloan style studio-gallery. As architect, owner, and builder, I am inspired by other sacred sites of Chaco Canyon, Taos, and Mesa Verde and employ those eco-minded features relevant to solving our environmental threats of wild land fires and droughts, utilizing principles of permaculture, growing organic fruits and vegetables for me and my community. Poems and stories interrupt my pouring concrete and stacking block and my novel waits till after dark.”