Guerrero gives artists a voice with podcasts

Arlington artist Monica Guerrero loads up the production clips for her ‘Inspiring People Radio’ from her artist’s studio at the Arlington Municipal Airport. - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington artist Monica Guerrero loads up the production clips for her ‘Inspiring People Radio’ from her artist’s studio at the Arlington Municipal Airport.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Mixed-media artist Monica Guerrero found her home in Arlington a year ago in October, and she aims to create a haven for her fellow artists not only within the geographic boundaries of her new hometown, but also online through her ongoing podcasts that spotlight the stories of artists and inventors.

“I stated the podcast in 2007, when I was living in California, because I grew up in a family of artists, and I saw a number of very talented people put everything they had into their art, and they still got almost no recognition,” Guerrero said. “I wanted to create a way to give creative people a voice, because art has more than a mere monetary value, but our culture doesn’t seem to recognize the value of art until it’s monetized. Our culture is healed by art, but if artists are struggling to receive recognition or compensation, then that makes it difficult for them to produce more art.”

To that end, began as Guerrero’s means of allowing artists and other creative people to tell their own stories five times a week, although she’s had to cut down her podcasts to twice a week since February, every Monday and Thursday from 9:30-11 p.m., from her guest bedroom and her artist’s studio at the Arlington Municipal Airport.

“I spoke for two hours to a pilot who had cancer, and while he didn’t discuss having cancer directly, he talked about appreciating the time that we have, because you never know when you’re going to go, and about how flight is about letting go of your fears,” said Guerrero, whose artist’s studio is as eclectic and well-stocked as her podcast setup is Spartan and simple. “I let my guests tell the stories that they want to tell. I’ve worked in almost every artistic medium myself, so I can converse with not only visual artists, but also musicians and writers, and identify with their perspectives.”

As far as Guerrero is concerned, the most important things she can do as an interviewer are to listen to her guests and to see things from their points of view.

“I ask them the questions that they want to be asked, and that I’d want to be asked,” Guerrero said. “It’s about what they love, and we can get pretty emotional. Art is universal. Thanks to the virtual world, I have listeners from as far away as South Africa, and a lot of my guests incorporate modern technology into their art, but it’s all just different mediums of expressing yourself. What artists share in common is that they’re not only inspired to create art, but that they can’t not create art. If they don’t have any backing, they have to hope that they’ll find it. The faith of an artist is incredible. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to continue creating art, especially in the face of rejection or lack of support.”

In addition to providing her listeners with unrehearsed, casual conversations between herself and her guests, many of whom aren’t determined in advance, Guerrero also appreciates that podcasting allows her to interact with her audience, since she often chats with listeners online while the recorded episodes are airing.

“There’s a real reciprocity there,” Guerrero said. “People have lost touch with each other in the mainstream media. If the conversation is authentic, with no fabrication or pretension, then both listeners and guests will respond to that, and be more comfortable expressing themselves. I ask my guests how they’d like to be introduced, and a lot of my guests have a number of different titles, because they can’t be boxed into singular categories.”

Guerrero’s site at not only links listeners to the show’s episodes, its Facebook page, its Twitter feed and its PayPal account for donations, but also serves to promote the “1,000 Traveling Artists Project,” that she’s hoping to restart to promote artists around the world.

“It would fund a thousand necklaces, each with the biography of a different artist, that would travel from person to person, each time someone commented upon the necklace,” Guerrero said. “When this project has been done before, the necklaces have traveled from California to England to Australia, with each person posting online to record the next steps of those necklaces’ journeys. It brings people across the world together.”

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