Exhibitions - Workers’ Studio: El Co-op

Sol Aramendi
Workers’ Studio: El Co-op

11.10.19 – 01.12.20

Community Partnership Exhibition Program

Three immigrant women stand in front of a red backdrop with their faces turned away. Each of them are wearing yellow cleaning gloves and are holding a power fist above their heads. On the back of their matching green t-shirts is a yellow apple with the words “Apple Eco cleaning co-op”circling the apple and sitting within a thin yellow circle. Below the circle, in the same yellow is the Apple Eco cleaning co-op’s email and phone number.

The Workers’ Studio: El Co-op is a series of collaborative art projects that use art as a tool for worker-led organizing. The Workers’ Studio is nomadic, and functions mostly in Day Laborers’ Worker Centers as a weekly encounter facilitated by the artist Sol Aramendi. Workers use the studio to create art projects that support their organizing and advocacy. This exhibition features a series of photographs, writing and works created by the participants.


As a platform, Workers’ Studio collaborates with immigrant women that cooperate, forming a growing framework and network for workers. A co-op is a business that is fully operated by and for the benefit of its members. El Co-op Mobile, the center point of this exhibition, is a versatile pop-up information stand that encourages visitors to learn about collaborative values and model their own co-op for work and everyday activities.


This show will reflect works produced in the last year of the Workers Studio’s engagement. Participants include domestic workers co-ops Love & Learn Childcare Cooperative, Apple Eco Cleaning, Brightly Port Richmond Cleaning Cooperative, and Mirror Beauty Cooperative, the first trans-led cooperative that participated in these empowering development sessions. Works by community groups Adhikaar, Lunicorns, and Mujeres en Movimiento will also be on display. 


Workers’ Studio: El Co-op is an exhibition by the artist Sol Aramendi. Encouraging new immigrants to lead through art, Aramendi works on socially engaged art collaborations that are part of an evolving social sculpture integrating labor, immigration and art. Sixteen years ago, she moved from Argentina to the United States and founded Project Luz.


Spanish description from Queens Museum visitor guide:

Taller de los trabajadores, 10 de nov12 de enero.


El taller de los trabajadores son una serie de programas y talleres artísticos que fomentan la utilización del arte como una herramienta para la organización y el activismo liderados por los trabajadores. Esta exposición presenta obras realizadas en colaboración con cooperativas de trabajadores inmigrantes, incluyendo Apple Ecco Cleaning, Love and Learn Childcare Cooperative, Adhikaar, Lunicorns, Mirror Transled Beauty Cooperative, cooperativa de limpieza Brightly Port Richmond y Mujeres en Movimiento.


Program of Events:

Sunday, November 10
2–5pm: Exhibition Opening, Short Film Screenings and Co-op Fair
Representatives from NYC based co-ops will provide information on their services. Short film screenings at 2pm and 4pm will present stories on the process and experience of the participating co-ops, highlighting their capacity for empowerment and business building.


Saturday, November 23
1–3pm: Reading with Claudia Prado & Co-op Members
Apple-Eco Cleaning Co-op members who participated in creative writing exercises will speak on their experiences and share stories that emphasize empowerment and co-op development. Sessions were instructed by poet Claudia Prado.


Sunday, November 17 
2–5pm: Activating El Co-op Mobile 
Activation of the exhibition centerpiece El Co-op Mobile, designed by A+ A + A, a women-led architecture studio and design consultancy, with information on co-op businesses.


Sunday. January 12 
2pm: Closing event


Creative Writing Workshop: Claudia Prado is an Argentine writer who lives in Jersey City. Since 2002, she has been working as a facilitator of Spanish-language writing workshops.


Assistants: Surovi Bain and Hana Takimoto, NYU XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement Master’s students.


El Coop Mobile and logo design: A+ A + A, is women-led architecture studio and design consultancy. Their focus is on community-driven processes that yield creative solutions for built environments and spatial justice issues.


Curator: Eva Mayhabal Davis collaborates with artists and creatives in the production of exhibitions, texts, and events. Her personal immigrant narrative drives her work in advocacy to advance equity and social justice values through the arts and culture. Born in Mexico, raised in the United States, and studied art history at the University of Washington. She is a founding member of El Salón, a meetup for cultural producers based in NYC. She has curated exhibitions at BronxArtSpace, En Foco, Expressiones Cultural Center, MECA International Art Fair, Smack Mellon, and Ray Gallery. In 2020, she will be the Curator-in-Residence at Brooklyn’s Kunstraum LLC.  


The Community Partnership Exhibition Program at the Queens Museum provides opportunities for cultural and other nonprofit organizational partners to develop and mount short-term exhibitions based on their programs and our collaborative projects.



This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, the Open Society Foundation, and with generous support from the Ford Foundation. Prints are a courtesy of Brooklyn Industries and Silver Imaging.