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Guide to the Royal Chicano Air Force poster collection, 1973-1988
MSS 2001/05  
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The collection consists of silkscreen posters by various artists within the artistic collective, Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF).
The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is an artistic collective based in Sacramento, California. Initially formed at the California State University, Sacramento in 1970 as the Rebel Chicano Art Front, the RCAF was founded to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and labor organizing movement of the United Farm Workers. The founding members of the RCAF included José Montoya, Esteban Villa, Juan Orosco, Ricardo Favela, and Rudy Cuellar. Montoya and Villa met each other while students at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. During the Chicano Movement students pressured colleges and universities to diversify their faculties. As a result, Villa was hired as a professor of art in 1969 and Montoya as professor of art eduction in 1970 at CSUS. Their academic positions gave them the creative freedom to initiate programmatic exchanges between the university and the community. Through this effort they initiated many programs including the Barrio Art Program, which required university students to go out into the community, including senior centers, to teach art courses. The RCAF moved off-campus in 1972 and established the not-for-profit organization, Centro de Artistas Chicanos. Its mission was to make available to the Chicano community a bilingual/bicultural arts center where artists could come together to exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and make available posters, educational programs and cultural events to the public. The RCAF artists are best known for their mural paintings, poster art production, and individual artistic contributions. The artists of the Centro produced murals and exhibited throughout the U.S. Southwest. Over the ensuing years, the RCAF became the umbrella for various Sacramento community programs, such as the Aeronaves de Aztlán (Automotive Repair Garage), RCAF Danzantes (Aztec Dance group), Barrio Art Program, and the RCAF Graphics and Design Center. In 1977, the Centro de Artistas Chicanos and Breakfast for Niños Program (a community non-profit organization that fed children before school) joined other community organizations, such as La Raza Bookstore (with its Galería Posada) and the Alkali Redevelopment Office, to create the Cultural Affairs Committee. The CAC organized annual community cultural events, including the Fiesta de Colores (March), Dia de la Madres (May), Fiesta de Maiz (June), Dia de los Muertos (November) and Operation Christmas Unity (December). While the "RCAF" originally stood for the “Rebel Chicano Art Front,” people confused the letters with the acronym for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The artists recognized the humor within the misunderstanding and adopted the name Royal Chicano Air Force. This new identity found its way into their wardrobe, as well as their highly successful silkscreen poster program, which began to disseminate the World War I aviator and barnstorming bi-winged planes as icons. Throughout its history, the RCAF gained a well-deserved reputation for outrageous humor, screenprint posters, murals, and community activism.
10.0 Linear feet (171 posters)
Copyright is protected by the copyright law, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. Requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce from collections must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Permission for publication is given on the behalf of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
Collection is open for research.