Join the Chanclas Squad: Dallas Artist Giovanni Valderas Runs for City Council

Valderas says that running for city council “is a natural progression for (his) practice…having seen the limits of advocacy.” He says, “I’m not a developer, I’m not rich, I’m not trying to get rich;  I think people really want a genuine voice and to know that there is someone at city hall who will always vote in their favor.”


Oak Cliff artist behind those 'sad house' piñatas wants to run for Dallas City Council

"I wish more artists ran for office, because they are often the most creative problem-solvers," he says. "We know how to run a shoestring budget. Through art, we already know how to engage and motivate people. This city could benefit from more creative people running. We can't leave it up to developers and business people who are all about the money aspect of things. Imagine how much a community could change with an artist at the helm. There would be some crazy ideas, but it would be pretty fantastic."


With Casita Triste, Dallas’ Affordable Housing Problem Hits Close to Home

He places colorful house-shaped piñata sculptures with forlorn-looking faces around his native Oak Cliff—on sidewalks, on empty lots next to new upscale apartments, on land where affordable housing and predominantly Latino families have been displaced. Empathy and reflection are what he aims to cultivate.


How one anonymous complaint , and Dallas' Landmark Commission, almost erased a lovely Oak Cliff Mural

"I understand rules are rules, but often rules are created without the input of people of color," Valderas told the commission Monday. "And the city of Dallas has a long history of using rules to punish neighborhoods of colors in order to usher in new development."


Oak Cliff artist's 'sad houses' piñatas focus attention on the downside of gentrification

Colorful piñatas shaped like small houses have been turning heads in Oak Cliff.

But what may look cute and festive from a distance is actually a site-specific guerrilla art installation meant to alter perceptions of new housing developments. With sad facial expressions, the little houses look like depressed cartoons. Artist Giovanni Valderas is trying to use these visuals to raise awareness of an affordable housing crisis created by gentrification.


Oak Cliff artist using 'casita tristes' to send message to city council

An Oak Cliff artist is drawing attention with his eye-catching pieces.The creations, similar to piñatas, are tiny homes simply made of tissue paper and cardboard. They are meant to send a powerful message to Dallas City Hall about the city's affordable housing crisis.


Artist's piñatas protest lack of affordable housing in Dallas' Oak Cliff

Among the new additions to Oak Cliff, one "building" stands out. Constructed from cardboard, with shifty big eyes and a smirk, perched in Dallas' Bishop Arts area. It is a house by artist Giovanni Valderas who calls his piece Casita Triste or Sad Little House.


These Sad-Faced House Piñatas Perfectly Encapsulate Dallas' Affordable Housing Problem

Dallas-based artist Giovanni Valderas is doing something about it. His new project, a guerilla-style street installation called Casitas Tristés, is meant to draw attention to the people who are getting swept away by the winds of change.


Sad Little Houses, Big Bad Problems

For the past few weeks, houses have been popping up all over Oak Cliff. These aren’t the luxury apartment complexes you might’ve seen in Bishop Arts though. In fact, you won’t even see construction crews working on these houses, because they pop up so fast. In this week’s Art&Seek Artist Spotlight, Hady Mawajdeh met up with artist Giovanni Valderas as he responds to Oak Cliff’s gentrification.


‘Casa triste’ art project spotlights lack of affordable housing

A new art project from Oak Cliff-based artist Giovanni Valderas features cute little piñata houses.

While the works themselves are adorable, Valderas intends for them to shine a light on the city’s lack of affordable housing and the people being displaced by our neighborhood’s rapid redevelopment.

-Rachel Stone


Dallas’ Next Great Plan. Maybe.

“As cynical as it may sound, we don’t need a study or a questionnaire to know what’s happened,” Valderas says. He speaks from experience. When he was a teenager growing up in Oak Cliff, he found his way into the since-closed Ice House Cultural Center, where he became immersed in the multifaceted programs offered there. He spent summers painting murals with friends from the neighborhood, attending classes, and soaking up the work of artists in the gallery. “We should do it intuitively, knowing that it is going to impact someone’s life,” he says. “Because I was that kid, a teenager, who wandered into a cultural center, and it ended up changing my life.”


Catching A Glimpse Of Art In Dallas, Circa 2018

Giovanni Valderas knows a lot about the city’s arts infrastructure, and his use of art to voice human rights concerns is becoming more and more known. The artist was recently reappointed to the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission by Omar Narvaez. He’s the councilmember elected in District 6 over incumbent Monica Alonzo in a runoff this year amid the West Dallas eviction crisis. As the assistant gallery director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Valderas champions talent grown in Dallas and Texas.


What the Artist Campaign School Taught Me About Running for Public Office

This role of the artist in making the unfamiliar familiar seems to be one many participants are more fully embracing. Dallas-based artist, M. Giovanni Valderas, who was recently appointed to the Cultural Affairs Commission in Dallas, left the weekend feeling “fearless to jump into the political system and make a positive impact.” While the realities of mounting a campaign are daunting, he “left the conference feeling inspired by others who were just as committed as I was to engage and empower our communities. The weekend only reaffirmed my commitment.”


As Local Artists Protest, ATTPAC Says the Need for a $15 Million Bailout From the City Is 'Serious'

According to Valderas, a previous initiative to bring a roving cultural center to Pleasant Grove, spearheaded by Lozano, was approved by the OCA for $25,000 yet they never saw the money. Provisions for that are in the petition too.

“How can you bail out one of the wealthiest organizations in town when you have no money to give to the community? We feel like that money could be better utilized,” Valderas says.


Dále! Dále! Dále! Protesting through piñata art

Artists plan to work on bringing more community involvement to the arts and to advocate for cultural policies in the City of Dallas that benefit underserved neighborhoods and individual artists. “Artists can really change things,” Valderas says. “Our work is visual, and we can put a different spin on things.”


Dallas' arts commission votes to remove 14-year old public art piece from White Rock Lake

In the end, only two commissioners voted against the artwork's deaccession... commissioner Giovanni Valderas, who, according to some at the Latino Cultural Center last night, apologized for the city's poor caretaking.


100 Dallas Creatives: No. 33 Triple Threat Giovanni Valderas

The artist side of me is accustomed to adapting to change and coming up with a creative solution to finish the objective. Of course, all of this doesn't come without an element of risk and we all know government doesn't like to take risks.