Victor M. Montañez
My work is art that embodies the struggle for personal and social empowerment.
Empowerment is represented by the options and alternatives that the art offers.
It is art that can be transformed, just like we can transform communities and the planet.
An empowered individual like an empowered community has options.
This art gives the spectator options.
Know art is empowerment art that gives viewers options to make the art theirs.
It allows the audience to bring out other protagonists in the paintings. In a literal sense, this art empowers the beholder.
Empowerment means to have, create, and excersise options. This art allows that.
It is an effort to reflect life and the struggle to improve the self and family, the community and the world. This art transforms much like how we are trying to transform the world.
This is not the Old School of Art, This is not the New School either.
This is the Know Art School.
artist, educator, writer, activist, musician
Victor M. Montañez is a life long artist. He is the Chairman of the
Victor Montañez is the originator of "Empowerment Art” an art form known for its distinct feature of allowing viewers to display the same artwork in multiple arrangements, each arrangement depicting various protagonists. Know Art, the term coined to describe it, can be found in various places around the country.
The largest concentrations of his public works are in the Midwest and Northern New Mexico.
Know Art is art that embodies options and changes, like leaders and activists try to bring about change and transformation to communities. Know Art goes beyond simple technique and style. It is less about aesthetics than it is about empowerment. The art mirrors the struggle for social justice through participation and democracy.
Innovations and Honors
Mr. Montañez is the author of a cutting edge organizational development tool titled
Victor Montañez was featured in "Americanos, Latino Life in the US,"
an award winning documentary film produced by actor/activist Edward James Olmos for HBO.
The documentary featured 14 stories including greats like Carlos Santana and the late Tito Puente. Victor was chosen based on his advocacy promoting peace among all races through art and multicultural gatherings.
Most recently, Victor Montañez’ life, became the inspiration for one of the lead characters in The American Theater Company’s, Chicago Chronicles III. Chicago Chronicle is a docudrama project of American Theater Company that partners eight professional playwrights with youth leaders in the Logan Square community. These playwright/student teams conduct an exploration of the Logan Square neighborhood by interviewing family members, business leaders, community
Victor Montañez is a nationally recognized expert on educational policy and urban school reform. He has been a featured presenter on education leadership, and pedagogy issues at national and international conferences sponsored by the World Bank, The Ford Foundation, The Hazen Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation.
Mr. Montañez was policy co-director for Designs for Change, the premier school reform and educational research and advocacy organization that led the way for the historic school reform movement in Chicago. During that tenure, he presented throughout the United States in major urban areas and represented the United States at the International Conference for Education Reform in 1994 in Santiago, Chile, South America. He now serves on The DFC Board of Directors.
His involvement in education spans more than three decades. At the age of eighteen,Victor and Brother Modesto Leon started the alternative high school model for troubled youth, SEA, in East Los Angeles. Eventually he taught English, History, and Algebra for SEA. Today, 36 SEA high schools operate under the same model in the USA. In 2009, the SEA model was featured in the history Channel’s documentary series on gangs.
Victor serves as the Special Projects /High School Site Coordinator for NEIU and GEAR UP.
He designed and directs the GEAR UP student leadership model at Curie High school.
Victor is a contributing writer for several blogs and publications including,
Organizations and Collectives
Founded & led by Victor M. Montañez & The Know Art Collective
- Artilleria D.E.L. Norte: Albany Park, Avondale, Logan Square
- Avondale ARTs Collective
- Artilleria D.E.L. Northwest, Sterling, Dixon, Rock Falls
- Collectivo 18 (No Longer Active)
- Chicago Artillery (No Longer Active)
- The Collective Eye (No Longer Active)
Closely works with
- MLCC's Midwest Lowriders
- Feria Del Libro Mexicano & Latino
- NEIU's Chicago Teachers' Center
- NEIU's El Centro Campus
- Logan Square's Summer Sessions