What began as casual coffee shop chats among five El Pasoans has developed into an ongoing friendship and a joint creative venture. Edward Reyes, Jacqueline Aguirre, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Humphreys, and Aryk Gardea met by being regulars at Joe Vinny and Bronsons Bohemian Cafe on Piedras Street in Central El Paso. After discovering a shared appreciation for art, they decided to work together to support their vision of a community gallery. They secured a narrow space next to the coffee shop and opened Galeria Cinco Puntos in January. Gardea, whose background is in art with a BFA in ceramics and painting from UTEP and a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in sculpture, pitched the idea of launching the gallery with an exhibit featuring the Horned Toad Prints exchange.
EL PASO – An art installation that will transmit conversations back and forth across the border on light beams is among 14 finalists that could receive up to $1 million each in the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. UTEP’s Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, along with the Cities of El Paso and Juárez, teamed up to pursue the funding for a joint cross-border art installation. The UT El Paso Office of University Communications provided the following information in a press June 23 release:
“The Rubin Center has a dynamic history of presenting contemporary art that involves artists and audiences from both sides of the border,” said Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center at The University of Texas at El Paso. “This partnership with the City of El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation and our partners in Juárez highlights the strong connections we have with our sister city, and the importance of building bridges for the future.”
The proposed art installation is titled “Border Tuner.” The project, led by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, includes a series of light and sound installations that will connect El Paso and Juárez with robotic searchlights that make a bridge of light. The light sources open bidirectional live sound channels that allow people from each side of the border to communicate with each other from three stations at Juárez’s Chamizal Park and three at Bowie High School in El Paso. In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors from U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects.
JUAREZ — The photograph is a self-portrait. But it shows two women — two manifestations of the same woman, a woman who calls herself a hybrid, a dislocated immigrant who still feels at home in a strange new land as she attempts to uncover her own special identity. “I experience a kind of dislocated identity, which I think it’s very common in migrants; feeling like outsiders,” said photographer Sabina Loghin who emigrated from Romania to Mexico when she was four years old. Far from resenting the lack of a visible community from her home country in Cd. Juarez, Loghin embraces her unique hybridization, and acknowledges it as the main inspiration for her art.
It began with a simple dream of a small group of resolute mothers discussing community problems in a one-room apartment in the Segundo Barrio during the 1960s. Through stiff determination and unflinching courage, the “Mothers of La Fe” cobbled together a non-profit organization to empower families immersed in poverty, unemployment, lack of health care and gang violence. Since that day more than four decades ago, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe has helped countless families, many of them recent immigrants to El Paso, resulting in the empowerment of a predominantly Latino community. Segundo Barrio, located south of downtown El Paso near the U.S.-Mexico border, is the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhood, housing a community deeply rooted in Mexican culture. “I have always said that all the people in La Fe are my second home,” said Esperanza Tijerina, who attends citizenship classes and English at the La Fe Culture and Technology community center and is preparing to apply for U.S. citizenship.
El Paso’s arts district continues to grow, with a variety of attractions and experiences for all. However, the city’s museums still face challenges in building on community involvement. Borderzine reporters Yazmin Garcia and Tanya Carbajal produced this story.
EL PASO — Searching all over the northern parts of Mexico in 1976 for the origin of some pottery he found at a second hand store in Deming, NM, Spencer MacCallum came to a town just about three blocks long, on the verge of extinction. The anthropologist found Juan Quezada, the artisan who made the pots, there in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, and together they would help not only revive the town, but the art form as well. El Paso got a taste of what has been called the miracle of Mata Ortiz when the Consulate General of Mexico here honored MacCallum with the Ohtli Award on May 5 in recognition of his role in helping gain international recognition for the Mata Ortiz artisans and their work. The reception marked the opening of an exhibit of Mata Ortiz pottery at the consulate at 910 E. San Antonio Ave. “The Miracle of Mata Ortiz has been something special, enormous, grand.
With one quick motion of his finger on the camera shutter release, David Smith-Soto erases the boundaries of time and eternalizes an intimate instant as two lovers stare into each other’s eyes. “It’s a glimpse of intimacy,” said David Flores, photographer and special collections archivist at the University of Texas at El Paso. “This is life one frame at a time.”
The black and white photograph taken in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2000 entitled “Lovers” is one of 26 prints in David Smith-Soto’s street photography exhibit in the Glass Gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso,
Photo Gallery: The Street Photography of David Smith-Soto
Smith-Soto said he was pleased to show some of his 60 years of photography to a large audience, but that the purpose of the show was to raise funds for journalism student internships. “We need to send out more students into the world, so that means we need more funding for that,” said Zita Arocha director of Borderzine, UTEP’s online bilingual magazine. Arocha said it costs approximately $3000 to send one student on an internship.
EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”
Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,
TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing
For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.
EL PASO – Spectators are entangled in an intertwined mess of black cords connected to a red piggy bank, red back scratchers and other red knick-knacks that transforms the entrance of a conventional public building into a world of obsessive red. Maximo Gonzalez’s exhibit “Magnificent Warning” is one of the three current art exhibits featured at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center at the University of Texas at El Paso. The exhibit will be showcased until March 15. Gonzalez is a recognized Argentine artist who has left a profound mark in the art world. “The mission of the Rubin Center is to bring world class contemporary art to the El Paso region, and Maximo is certainly at the top end kind of the artists we bring. He’s got a really fantastic trajectory.
EL PASO – Photographs ranging from the beautiful scenery of the El Paso Mountains to the simplicity of a self-portrait dazzled spectators at the first annual “International Eye of the Camera” event at the Crossland Gallery. “We were most pleased for a first exhibit like this, with the number of entries and the quality of entries,” said Joyce Ewald, office administrator of the El Paso Art Association. The Art Association hosted the event November 30, which featured photographers from El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez. The idea for the “International Eye of the Camera” came after the recent “Arts International” event, which excluded photographs because of limited space at the Crossland gallery. Ewald and a committee of four other members, decided to create an event solely for photographers. “I felt that there were a lot of members who were photographers and I felt that they deserved a show too,” said Ewald. A total of 97 photographs were sent in, but the Art Association is hoping to see that number continue to grow at next year’s event. “We need more photographers to get involved with the association. If you want these events to happen you have to raise money” said Ernest L. Salazar, owner of ELS Photography, who also handed out one of the awards for the event.
EL PASO — Hundreds of El Pasoans gathered here recently in a peaceful protest to remember Chicano activist César Chávez and to demand that the city reopen the Lincoln Cultural Arts Center, El Paso’s first school and the city’s first Hispanic art center. The Lincoln Center, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, first opened as a school and later changed into an art gallery. It is located near the Chamizal neighborhood, were 97 percent of the population is Hispanic. Traditionally a place for children to keep busy, instead of causing trouble on the streets, the Lincoln Center also provided the community with computers and Internet access. The Center was shut down by the city due to a mold infestation after heavy rains in 2006 and according to Hector Gonzalez, the head of the Lincoln Park Conservation Committee, which is dedicated to saving the center, city officials say it will cost $3.6 million to reopen the center.
EL PASO – A sense of adventure, a camera and a little bit of luck marked the beginning of a young photographer’s career, tools that paid off nearly 50 years later for Mike Mitchell. At the age of 18, Mitchell was living in Washington, D.C, and starting his career as a photojournalist. Having already developed a love for photography in his early teens, he set off to do what naturally comes next –find a way to get paid for doing what he loved. In 1964 he began an internship at the Washington Star newspaper and also did freelance photography for magazines and other publications. That year also saw the first Beatles U.S. concert tour.
EL PASO – There is a lag between a dynamic city’s ever-evolving culture and the art on display in its galleries, especially in a city permeated with tradition like El Paso, but Martha Arzabala plan’s to change that with her new art gallery, Agave Rosa. One of the goals of Agave Rosa is to create a home for new artists, who may otherwise not have a place to show their work. “Agave Rosa is going to focus on Hispanic artists, because they are the ones that really don’t have support here. You see, the El Paso Art Association is [mostly] Anglo.”
Arzabala joined the El Paso Art Association in 2008. She volunteered to become the secretary and in one short year was elected vice-president.
EL PASO – Who gets to say what is ugly or beautiful? When time is up on a parking meter, you may get a ticket. If you are really lucky, “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid” writes it. But who writes a ticket for an ugly space that we all have to look at? And why are curators and art historian types the only ones who can definitively say something is art and can be in a museum? Shouldn’t we all have some say in these matters, especially matters concerning the spaces and places we occupy every day? A couple of years ago, I watched a building being built and became uncharacteristically angry.
EL PASO – Her art name means magician and just like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, muralist Margarita “Mago” Gandara pulls creativity and rebellion from deep within her soul to produce intricate murals, sculptures and bronze pieces that mirror the Mexican-American culture that she fell in love with as a young child. The lively 82 year-old artist spins her story of survival in Juárez like a skilled story teller. After living in Juárez for nearly 40 years, Gandara was threatened by “sicarios” or assassins, who targeted her after seeing her truck with Texas license plates outside of her adobe home studio in a southern Juárez colonia. Immediately after being threatened, Gandara, with the help of her son, fled from her home taking as many pieces of art as she could, while still leaving some behind. Many of the pieces, along with additional new works will be displayed at an exhibit she calls, “Peregrinas Immigrantes” at UTEP on October 13th.
When the hammer went down, Mike Mitchell’s backlit group photo of the Beatles at their first U.S. concert sold for $68,500. All 46 of the images he shot in 1964 when he was 18 years old sold at Christie’s New York City auction-house for $362,000 last week. It was an emotional moment for my family and me. Mike has been my close friend since I arrived in the U.S. in 1958 and photography in a way has been at the heart of our friendship for more than 50 years. I was largely ignored when I arrived at John Hansen Junior High School in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Oxon Hill, Maryland, from tropical Costa Rica in midwinter, but snickered at when I wore my J.C. Penney’s car-coat in class. When Mrs. Phillips said that a sock-hop was scheduled for a Friday the class broke up in a laughter uproar after I asked in my perfect schoolbook English, “What is a sock-hop?” No wonder Mike didn’t speak to me until the last day of school when some of us brought cameras to class.
EL PASO — Last week I was reminded of my first watercolor class. Hilda Rosenfeld painted exquisite flowers and was my teacher in a continuing education class at UTEP. Our first assignment was to make twelve squares on a piece of paper and use a tube of ultramarine blue paint to make each square lighter than the last. My first thought was how unexciting this exercise would be. At the end we would have twelve squares ranging from pure pigment to barely a hint of color.
EL PASO — I belong to art and photography groups in El Paso and a couple are non-profit organizations. In one, I serve on the Board of Managers. The President of that association was looking to change the style of leadership that had been used. The President empowered the Board saying take charge of your responsibilities, think outside the box, if you need assistance let me know. How did I become involved?
EL PASO — Watercolor paintings of wild horses, wild flowers and cacti in vibrant colors hang on artist Kenge Kobayashi’s walls, but the bucolic scenes tell little of a life that was interrupted by interment in a Japanese-American prison camp during World War II. Kobayashi, who had his first solo art exhibition in March, at the International Museum of Art on Montana. He said the scenes he brings to life are from places he has visited. “It was good, a lot of people came.” He said. He is now seeing what to do next.
MEXICALI, Mexico–When the sun rises Edgar Mayoral’s hammer strikes the iron on the anvil, creating an ear-piercing clanging sound that resonates throughout the neighborhood in this border city. The 23-year-old El Centro, Calif. resident has a talent to shape cold, lifeless sheets of iron into fantastical and vibrant wearable armor that would make you believe Mayoral has been transformed into a live-action Japanese anime character. A skill that cosplayers—short for “costume play”—and non-cosplayers alike marvel at. “This character has a higher fan base in Mexico than in the U.S.,” says Jerry Travis, 21, an anime scholar from Brawley, Calif.
El Paso — Dark colors and shadows transform the canvas into excruciatingly vivid scenes – a severed head laying on the ground, soldiers restraining an angry man in front of a crowd – of the bloody drug war raging along the U.S.-Mexico border, illustrating every disturbing emotion on the faces of the subjects while employing the classic beauty of 17th century Baroque-style paintings. Rigoberto A. Gonzalez (http://rigobertogonzalezalonso.com/home) 37, the artist of these deeply disturbing and meticulously painted images, is bringing his exhibition, titled Baroque on the Border/Barocco en la Frontera, to The University of Texas at El Paso at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Art of from May 26 to September 24, 2011. He was born in Reynosa, in the border state of Tamaulipas, Mexico and moved with his family to the border city of San Juan, TX when he was 9 years old. As a child, his mother and older brother inspired him to become an artist. This inspiration led him to obtain a bachelor’s degree in art from The University of Texas-Pan American in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the New York Academy of Art in 2004.
EL PASO — When Andrea Ingle invited her husband Stephen to teach her special education class at Canutillo Middle School with the little left over art supplies she had, the couple had no idea it would lead to their life’s work providing an artistic outlet to children and teenagers throughout the border region. That classroom experience combined with their own backgrounds in the arts was the spark for creating a non-profit organization, Creative Kids Inc., that uses the power of the arts to help youth, including teenagers at risk of dropping out, to achieve academic and personal success. Ten years later, Creative Kids has a main studio and gallery in a 16,000-square-foot warehouse called the OLO Gallery (Other Learning Opportunities) at the recently renovated Union Plaza Arts District in downtown El Paso. The organization serves over 600 youth a year ranging in age from 4 to 18, and provides special programs for children battling cancer, children with disabilities, and disadvantaged and at-risk youth. It also has a long list of impressive local, regional and national sponsors, from the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts to the City of El Paso and the Hunt Family Foundation.
EL PASO, Texas — The metal giant’s arm reached out and grabbed a blue, two-door sedan with its six-foot long hydraulic metal fingers, raised it up as high as the street lights and then dropped it letting it crash on the asphalt below. Half a dozen junked cars waited for destruction inside a circle of steel barriers blocking off a section of downtown at Oregon and Mills St. at this year’s Chalk the Block art festival, The cleverly named Hand of Man was one of the main attractions, stopping crowds in their tracks as pieces of broken plastic and car hoses shot out at the feet of on-lookers. Crew-member Nathan Oswald explained that artist and creator Christian Ristow, “…wanted to be able to build something participatory.” Unlike many art pieces, the idea behind this installation, Oswald said, is to be something fun for the crowd to become a part of. Mario Castillo won a chance to control and set the sculpture in motion, through a local radio station’s call-in contest.
EL PASO, Texas — A las mujeres con alas no se les puede detener. Tienen una misión. A veces ni ellas mismas lo saben. Pero evidentemente, el cometido de Martha Arenas ha sido servir, consolar, esparcir su corazón en el corazón de la multitud. Por algún motivo que todos sabemos, y que no sabemos, Arenas inicio su carrera artística con un vuelo.
EL PASO, Texas — For the third consecutive year, the public art festival Chalk the Block, graced downtown El Paso with fun-filled street activities and treated thousands to the sight of sidewalks covered in art this past weekend. “It is a great way for the city to be exposed to so much art. We don’t get many events like these, so the people should really take advantage,” said Elva Apodaca. “It really inspires me, and those who aren’t exposed to art to appreciate art and see what else is out there,” she said. The event, free to the public, was organized by the city’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department joined by the El Paso Community Foundation. Chalk art is basically painting and drawing with chalk as media and sidewalks for canvas.
“Pintar con el pincel en la boca no solo es haber logrado un sueño, es colorear con el alma, es agradecer a Dios por la vida”. Martha Arenas. EL PASO, Texas — Si la entereza, la fe y el equilibrio pudieran tener nombres, se llamarían Martha Arenas. Una mujer cuya historia inspira, cuyo talento prevalece en el umbral de lo cierto y lo invisible. Su pasión siempre fue la pintura: ese amasijo de ideas, pigmentos, texturas que ennoblecen al ser humano y que atrapa con magia sutil.
ANZA-BORREGO, Calif.—Driving along a desolate highway you’re being fooled by a mirage when you see two raptors locked in battle, or a monstrous eagle poised for take-off into the blazing sky. But as you slow down to get a better look, you realize this is no mirage: there really are giant creatures dwelling in the sand next to the road. About 90 winding miles east of San Diego in this desert valley, prehistoric creatures and humans sculpted in scrap metal and iron cohabit in the Anza-Borrego Desert. Almost 100 beasts and desert dwellers stand realistically frozen in time, butting heads, snarling, or searching for their next meal in the scorching desert. “I can see these creatures living here a long time ago,” said Jackie Steinkrauss, an Escondido, California resident on a recent visit here.
EL PASO, Texas — Seeing no future in art, legendary El Paso artist Gaspar Enriquez abandoned the idea of pursuing an artistic career during his high school years. Little did he know where the potential of his talent would take him. “I liked art since I was a kid, but knew there was little or no pay in the field,” said Enriquez. Having grown up in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Segundo Barrio, Enriquez found himself growing up at a faster rate than most teenage kids. Moving to East Los Angeles right after graduating from Bowie High School, Enriquez began working as a dishwasher, then at a defense plant lab, and eventually as a machinist as he continued working his way up until he graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a degree in Art Education.
EL PASO, Texas — Student artist Yvianna Hernandez uses cards from a popular borderland bingo game known as “La Loteria” to depict the tragedy of a drug war that has claimed some 5,000 lives in Ciudad Juárez in the last two-and-a-half years. The popular Mexican game of chance has long been a staple in the border sister cities of El Paso and Juárez. Now Hernandez, a senior drawing major at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is calling attention to the violence by using the traditional folk-art icons as backgrounds for her drawings. “It was actually a silly idea to me that I really didn’t want to do because ‘La Loteria’ has been overdone so many times,” said Hernandez. “You even see loteria art on the walls of Wal-Mart bathrooms, so I really wasn’t too inclined to do it.”
Having started with the idea of “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore of the weeping woman, Hernandez decided to depict a portrait of a woman crying over her dead son, killed in the Juárez bloodshed.
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, México — Los lienzos y el pincel de Cecilia Briones “La Catrina” surgen como alivio ante el panorama de violencia e inseguridad que se vive en la ciudad, en donde la artista lucha por rescatar su arte. “Es difícil, todos estamos muy asustados, sobretodo afecta el proceso creativo, te quedas impactado de tanta sangre”, dijo Briones, quien descubrió su amor por la pintura a los 17 años. Y es este cáncer violento, como ella lo nombra, el responsable de la actual transformación por la que pasa su obra. Su próxima colección a presentar tendrá por nombre Infierno Postmoderno como signo del sentimiento del cual la artista dijo necesitar liberarse. “No lo quiero tomar como bandera, pero ya es mucho y lo tengo que escupir de alguna forma”, dijo Briones,.