The Sugar Project passionately explores wherein the commodification of women is experienced and expressed in our contemporary lives and culture. Seattle artist Michelle de la Vega confronts the legacy of women as property through nuances woven into themes of cultural archetypes, silencing, self-advocacy, the epidemic of gender violence, and the dominance of the “male gaze” that has historically controlled female representation and identity through art and media.

The Sugar Project’s aim is to create a collective, open and diverse dialogue in the community though participating artists, activists, partner organizations and public groups. There have been many people who have touched this work, creating the rich meaning, thematic complexity, and bold content that the project has come to embody. Over the course of 18 months Ms. de la Vega has facilitated public engagement events, ongoing workshops, and collaborative initiatives, bringing community voices directly into the creative process of the project.

Sugar is used as a metaphor for women as sweet commodities that exist to be consumed, and as a symbol for the messages women and girls receive from a very early age that their highest value in society is to be sweet, pleasing, pretty, sexy, sacrificial and expendable as possible, leading to the disownment of their self-advocacy, physical and psychological health, and subversion of the full, extravagant expression of their beings.

Partner organizations of The Sugar Project include La Sala, The Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Seattle University, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission Hope Place Women’s Shelter, Seattle Amistad School, Horn of Africa Youth Services, Bella Materna, Bellwether Biennial, and ArtXchange

The Sugar Project is funded in part by a Neighborhood Matching Fund Award from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and has also gratefully received generous support from a consortium of private donors, Equinox Studios, Bootstrapper Studios, and a generative artist residency with the Institute of Emergent Technology + Intermedia (iET+I) at Cornish College of the Arts.

Michelle de la Vega is a multidisciplinary, installation and community engagement artist in Seattle. Her large-scale ventures endeavor to push social and aesthetic boundaries through instigating dialogue, practicing conceptually driven materiality, and community investment on a wide scale. Michelle’s social engagement model deeply integrates community groups into the generative processes and exhibitions of her cross-disciplinary installations. Her work includes sculpture, immersive environmental design, video, collage, photography, choreography, text, and partnership building through project based community engagement.

Michelle received her education and training from Otis Parsons in Los Angeles, CA (visual art), Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA (dance), and the South Seattle Community College Welding and Metal Fabrication Program.



City Arts Magazine 2017 Artist of the Year

The Stranger

City Arts Title Page

Saccharine and Sexism: Critical Review in City Arts Magazine

Out of Sight Seattle: Evidence Cake

Return to The Sugar Project menu.

About The Sugar Project | 2016 | the sugar project