José Ortiz-Pagán is a Puerto Rican multi-disciplinary artist, organizer, and curator residing in Philadelphia. Ortiz-Pagan utilizes the power of ritual to question, activate, heal, and consider alternative options for a hopeful future. In his practice, he consults and activates community power while negotiating their cultural presence in the transitional and migratorial.
His work has been featured in several major exhibitions, including: The Trienal Poligráfica in San Juan, PR, the International Printmaking Biennial in Taiwan ROC, The Bronx Latin American Biennial, and recently he just opened the individual exhibition Umbral at the Berman Museum. In addition to his work studio and social practice work, Ortiz-Pagán has been a lecturer at Temple University, the Barnes Foundation, and Haverford College.
As part of his career, José has developed and orchestrated various community-based projects around Philadelphia including La Sombrilla Block Party, part of the Heat Response project in South Philly which sought to understand how art could bring solutions to heat impact. As well in 2020, he developed (during the pandemic), a Solitary Procession in which he collaborated with artists, activists, and organizations to create a ritual that allowed local folks to mourn their loved ones in dignity.
Currently, he is working with Taller Puertorriqueno in the initiative Memorializing Fairhill, which seeks to create a series of monuments celebrating the history of activism and struggle in the Fairhill neighborhood. Most recently, Ortiz-Pagán was selected to receive the Artworks grant given by the Philadelphia Foundation & the Forman Arts Initiative, which recognizes the work of community-based artists.