Art lovers unite to launch new community gallery in Five Points neighborhood

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.

Immigrant dreamers find hope in Obama’s Deferred Action Plan

EL PASO – The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are more than 1.7 million undocumented students in our nation. This is the case of my friend Ana, a 26-year old political science college student. Ana and I grew up together in a small mostly Anglo town in Kansas. For the security of Ana the location and her full name will not be disclosed. I never noticed any differences between us; we both always embraced the American culture rather than our Mexican roots.


A tale of friendship found and lost while looking for asparagus in Nogales

NOGALES, Az. – I drove across the border from Nogales, Arizona this past April looking for the fresh-cut, thinned-stemmed asparagus spears you can only get there. Having long ago made a personal rule to spend only pesos while in Mexico, my plan was to use my Bank of America’s debit card to withdraw pesos from the ATM at my “sister” bank, Banco Santander. Banco Santander has several modern, first-class, efficient branches in Nogales, Sonora, which is also known, hereabouts, as our “sister” city. I wanted those pesos to buy a couple of pounds of fresh-cut, thinned-stemmed asparagus spears sold by an enterprising fellow up from the farming community of Imuris, Sonora, 60 miles south.

Mike Mitchell’s Beatles photos tell a tale of 50 years of friendship

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.

Almost fifty… and the beat goes on

EL PASO — A good friend is better than a bad marriage. I have had two bad marriages, but I have friendships that lasted longer than both. I have almost 50 friends, friends I have had for almost 50 years and friends whose ages span almost 50 years.  I feel really blessed. It was the drum circle guys who got me thinking about this. Almost every week a group of guys get together and drum.