Leslie Benevides

Hugh Gilroy Older Adult Club
"Plata Presence"
Artistic Discipline: Visual Arts
Category: SU-CASA
Grant Year: 2023
Location: Brownsville

Leslie Benavides is an independent film producer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Her feature debut as producer and co-editor, Hummingbirds, is supported by the Sundance Institute, Field of Vision, NBC Studios, and the Ford Foundation. In her producing role of Hummingbirds, she is a 2021 NBC Studios Original Voices Fellow. Leslie was born and raised in southeast Houston and has a BA from Brown University in Urban Public Policy. Her work, both policy-based and artistic, explores her upbringing in a mixed-status family, Indigenous rights, the War on Drugs in Latin America, and restorative justice.

We are asked to think about what and who we want to be when we grow up. And as we grow, we are often asked to think about memory honoring only the past. Instead of asking senior participants to reflect on their “legacy”, or think about the future, this course is meant to honor and celebrate who they are presently. "Plata Presence" is meant to honor two things: individual and collective memory in the present, both through narrative sovereignty. Plata Presence is a ten to fifteen-week silversmithing course specializing in wax casting. Focusing primarily in design and wax, this course will teach folks how lost-wax casting methods using natural materials like silver and wax. Folks will ultimately create an individual piece as well as together design one piece collectively. Though creating a wearable piece is encouraged, students will ultimately have freedom to create what they desire. (Due to equipment, students will be taught methods and design, and their designs will be by myself casted in an outside facility with proper equipment.)