PCC welcomes corn mothers with writing contest, exhibit


Pima Community College will host “Return of the Corn Mothers” through a writing contest and art exhibit.

The term “corn mother” stems from the oral traditions of the Hopi people throughout the American Southwest. An entity synonymous with Mother Earth, the corn mother represents growth, life, creativity and the world’s feminine aspects.

“The concept comes from Hopi tradition of corn mother, the woman that brings you life, the woman that nurtures you,” said Geneva Escobedo, executive assistant to the West Campus president and a corn mother herself.

Escobedo is one of eight corn mothers in Arizona. In addition to her work at PCC’s West Campus, she is actively involved with volunteer work at Oyama Elementary School.

There are currently 32 corn mothers from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

“They selected women, like unsung heroines that do fabulous things in the community,” Escobedo said.

“Return of the Corn Mothers,” a partnership between PCC and exhibition founder Metropolitan State University of Denver, is a gallery of works from multi-generational, multi-cultural women who have a strong, supportive presence in their communities.

The exhibition will be displayed from April 24 through Aug. 29 in the Student Art Gallery on the second floor of the West Campus A building.

“This is only the second time the exhibit has been in Arizona,” Escobedo said. “It’s very exciting because it’s an exhibit that really highlights women we wouldn’t normally meet or normally know, and highlights their works.”

A ninth Arizonan, from Tucson, will be inducted as a corn mother during the exhibit’s opening reception on April 24 at 7:30 p.m.

This vase is one of the items that will be on display at the West Campus gallery. (Photo courtesy of PCC)
This vase is one of the items that will be on display at the West Campus gallery. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

In honor of the exhibit, PCC students are called to submit a creative writing piece of any length that integrates the concept of corn mother. Who is the corn mother in your life? Is it your mother, grandmother, aunt or a family friend? What does this important woman represent to you?

“I decided it would be interesting to include students in our effort, through the writing,” Escobedo said. “Because I think a lot can be shared, the stories about who we see as our corn mother.”

Students are asked to submit, in hard copy form, a poem, short story or creative nonfiction by 5 p.m., Friday, March 22, to Escobedo at gescobedo@pima.edu. In the subject of the email, state the style of your submission, such as short story, and be sure to attach your file.

In the body of the email, submitters are asked to include their name, complete address, phone number, student identification number, attending campus, email address and title of the submitted work.

In addition, emails must include the following statement: “I (type full name) certify that the above-named work is my original and unpublished work. I have also read and understand the submission guidelines.”

Winners will be notified by April 1 and will present their work at the exhibit’s opening reception on April 24. A book of all creative entries will also be published and distributed.

Geneva Escobeda holds aloft a decorative "corn mother" artwork in her West Campus office. (Aztec Press photo by Bruce Hardt)
Geneva Escobeda holds aloft a decorative “corn mother” artwork in her West Campus office. (Aztec Press photo by Bruce Hardt)












For questions and information, call Escobedo at 206-3110 or email gescobedo@pima.edu. For exhibit details, visit returnofthecornmothers.com.

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