Borderzine Presents: El Paso’s Creative Economy

El Paso is unlike any other city in the nation with its unique cultural dynamic. The city’s arts and events bring thousands of visitors every year and more than $2 million in direct spending. In this TV-style news magazine, journalism students at the University of Texas at El Paso take a closer look at some of El Paso’s artists and how economic efforts are affecting the creative community. The show aired live on Google Hangouts on Air on May 29, 2015. The program was made possible by support from the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies, the UTEP Department of Communication and Borderzine.com

See the complete special report and featured stories here.

Smith-Soto’s street photography – the human condition, one frame at a time

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.

Bhutanese visitor sees home in unique Texas university architecture

EL PASO –Sweating from a three-hour rehearsal of George Fredric Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea, Bhutanese performer Tshering Goen, dressed in blues, yellows, and deep reds began to prepare for a second round of practice. Goen, a director of the Bhutan Royal Academy of Performing Arts, came here to perform at the University of Texas at El Paso, a campus filled with buildings inspired by Bhutanese architecture. The Kingdom of Bhutan is at the eastern end of the Himalayas in South Asia. “I feel as if I am back in Bhutan,” Goen said with calmness in his voice as he donned an animal mask to continue with the rehearsal of a classic Western opera in Bhutanese dress. Related story and video: Love and Death visit Handel’s Acis and Galatea in a Bhutanese cremation field

The Bhutanese interpretation of the classic Handel opera fit perfectly with the architectural history of this campus, nestled in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains in the Chihuahuan desert.

Culture: The Real “Border” Between People

San Antonio, Texas – In 2006, Daniela Hernandez was attending high school in Mexico and was far from being fluent in English. Now, four years later, as an international student at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Hernandez is a member of the Honor’s College, a tour guide for the Visitor’s Center and is close to completing her bachelor’s degree in finance. Despite her academic successes, Hernandez, a 22-year-old Mexican-born UTSA senior who expects to graduate in May of next year, isn’t shy about discussing the difficulty she has had adjusting to U.S. culture, from different styles of celebrating holidays to divergent modes of relating to friends and classmates inside and outside the classroom. For example, she says, in Mexico families eat Christmas Eve dinner at 11 p.m. and open presents at midnight; U.S. families celebrate with dinner and presents on December 25.   And New Year’s Day in Mexico centers on family; while in the U.S. people celebrate the holiday attending parties. Another huge difference, according to Hernandez, is how students interact in the classroom.