Evelyn Sofia Rivera Looks Within to ‘Keep Art Alive’

Evelyn Sofia Rivera, an arts educator in the Coachella Valley Unified School District who’s studying to become an art therapist, has painted a self-portrait inspired by the COVID-19 stay-at-home order and earned a $500 grant from the nonprofit California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) to “Keep Art Alive.”

“This piece can be viewed from different perspectives — self-reflection, praying, isolation, and seeking higher wisdom, to name a few,” Rivera says. “During this time, I have seen almost no one who lives outside of my home. It is because of this that I have decided to try portraiture — to not forget the faces around me. I have painted a portrait of my grandmother, who passed April 1. I have painted a client’s grandparents for a Mother’s Day gift, and now I have painted myself.

“I am standing alone, in a white dress to show innocence and clarity,” she continues. “I am surrounded by hues of blue and gold to show the connection to the highest. My head is up, and hands are down, patient but asking for strength and guidance. The corona, crown in Spanish, is gold and serves as a double entendre for the name of this virus. These times have hurtled me into self-reflection and discovery. I think it has done that for a lot of people. I hope the self-reflection we are doing brings us into a more compassionate and unified community.”

Rivera, who specializes in teaching and tutoring special-needs students, is pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy with a focus in art therapy. Her goal is to “help people in the Coachella Valley understand the value of mental health through the arts.”

CDAC and affiliate La Quinta Arts Foundation established the $50,000 Keep Art Alive Fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and nonprofit arts organizations affected by COVID-19 and create new works responding to the pandemic.

Visit Evelyn Sofia Rivera online at esriveraart.com