Music and Art: Music Chair Receives Commission, Alum Paints For Trader Joe's

Group of performers wearing red
Ensemble Ari, a group of Korean American musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Courtesy)

Laurie San Martin receives commission from Barlow Endowment for Music Composition

Professor Laurie San Martin, music department chair, has received a commission from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. Martin’s commission will be for Ensemble Ari, a group of Korean American musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A headshot of a woman with brown hair and a black shirt against a grey background smiling away from the camera.
Laurie San Martin

Out of more than 200 applicants, San Martin’s commission was among those given to 13 composers who will write works for the specific ensembles and musicians.    

The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition is a scholarship established in September 1983 through the generosity of Milton A. and Gloria Barlow. Motivated by their love of music, the Barlows presented a substantial gift to Brigham Young University, engendering and supporting excellence in musical composition through the university and the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications.

Ensemble Ari is renowned throughout the Bay Area as Korean American musicians who have won acclaim for their performances. “Ari” is a Korean word with multiple meanings: big river, wisdom and beauty which reflects the range of music that these musicians are able to showcase in their work. This classical ensemble uses music to bridge Korea and other communities through western instruments while honoring Korean history and culture, particularly with work composed or arranged by their director, composer Jean Ahn. (Original story is here.)

By Michael G. French, College of Letters and Science

Alum McKinna Salinas — A Trader Joe’s master sign maker

A woman kneels and smiles in front of a floor to ceiling painting of a large bird attacking a man.
McKinna Salinas, photo by Anna Muradyan (B.A., art studio, UCD, '18), 2018

Did you know that Trader Joe’s idiosyncratic signs are custom-made by local artists? It’s true — “Behind every Trader Joe’s sign is a working artist who painted it.”

This Washington Post’s article takes a look at some of these creative staff artists, including art studio alum McKinna Salinas (B.A., ’18). Salinas, now living and painting for the Philadelphia area Trader Joe’s, creates signage inspired by works in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection such as Winslow Homer’s “The Life Line” with a man saving a carrot instead of a drowning woman. View more of Salinas’ food paintings and signs @mckinna_art

Next time you visit Trader Joe’s for more Cauliflower Gnocchi or Mint Joe Joe’s, take a little time to appreciate the handmade signage from local artists.

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