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Thursday, January 29, 2004
Sometime in mid-Feb we will have a call for entries at all 7 Brownsville High Schools, that including the 5 public schools, St. Joe and Valley Christian. The exhibition theme will be "Brownsville history and cultural identity" which will require to artist to address social or cultural themes about Brownsville in their work. We will encourage the participants to research their material by visiting local resources like museums, galleries, libraries, groups and individuals. About the call for entries, our sponsor will have us cut our artist demographic. At first, Frank and I had our minds set to let anyone contribute to the exhibtion, but after we spoke about the logistics of this program over with our advisor, it makes sense to make a clear and simple criteria for this show. First of all, we don't want to have more than twenty artists or else the show will be overwhelmed and second if we keep the show to a certain criteria (that being the high school demographic and maybe college) then there are less chances for hurt feelings.
It kinda sucks to be setting up red tape, but for one, this program is being funded on a $2,000 budget (which is incredibly tight in terms of setting up this program as well as a reception and exhibition) and we have to work with our sponsors as well as reach out to a community to help in the creation of agency. But with a big name like UT sponsoring us it is very easy for someone from Brownsville to believe that we are there to colonialize "big city" or "elitist" ways upon them which is not our goal at all.
We choose the theme "Fronteras Cruzadas" for this exhibtion because we want Brownsville to be the star of this show. Our goal is that through this exhibition, people can reflect upon themselves and the Brownsville community, to better appreciate the special culture of Brownsville and to support the resources that promote and preserve it. Under these circumstances, criteria is such an important facet in the coordination of this exhibtion so that we will have a clear message for our audiences to understand and for the curation of a successful show.
Monday, January 19, 2004
Pain is imminent. But hopefully rewarding.
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Gots some anticipation...tommorrow I will be holding a pizza gathering at my place with some friends to talk about the Brownsville ArtsReach proposal. I figure since the program is now approved and Frank and I have way to make thinsg happen, the most important thing is to build a strong circle of influence. Besides building connections with Brownsville and UT administration, I think it is also important to build connections within our friend network, so that we can build a circle of support as well. The friends who will be coming will have some sort of connection to Brownsville, the arts or policy. So far it will be a Brownsville PR major at UT-San Antonio, a Brownsville Radio-TV-Film major at UT-Austin, a law school grad, a LBJ school of policy grad student who worked in the Valley, 2 Brownsville art students and a Brownsville music major at Texas State-San Marcos. Also, I am in luck, Papa John's has a buy one get one free pizza special. YAY!
I tried to explain a bit about my program to my friend Julia who is a law school grad. I gave her a copy of the proposal for some advice. I am a bit nervous that questions about purpose, goals, implementation came up. The logistics need to be set and the meeting will be very subjective tommorrow since we don't have many details set as of yet. I hope by the end of this month, we have objectives, an agenda and schedule and some contacts set.
Oh also, I am going to add this link to the Brownsville Herald Events Calender. It's a good resource for events in Brownsville.
Friday, January 16, 2004
We are two students from Brownsville, Texas who would like to give back to the art community of our hometown. Brownsville’s culture and history is a wellspring of artistic inspiration. We envision a program that would promote awareness about Brownsville’s history and identity, a culture in constant evolution through the dialogue between Mexico and the United States. Issues like immigration, trade, cultural exchange, economy, and education clamor for attention from Brownsville residents. The recent boom of corporate and suburban development has swelled the pride and economy of Brownsville and its residents. Yet this becomes problematic if this new pride homogenizes understanding of Brownsville only as a growing commercial center, and not as a unique reservoir of culture and history. We feel this is the local art community’s opportunity to reignite interest in these issues.
We propose to strike a match through a community Artsreach program. It would involve direct communication with residents using art as a platform for cultural awareness. Our current plan is to organize an exhibition in a popular, high-traffic location in Brownsville such as the mall, with a final reception to be held in a local museum. It’s an event tentatively titled “Fronteras Cruzadas” (crossed frontiers/borders). We plan to contact local arts institutions and groups to help support the event. We believe local historians and anthropologists will also be invaluable resources for ideas and further understanding of the phenomenon of cultural assimilation.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Brownsville and Matamoros History
I don't think I have ever mentioned Matamoros in this blog and it really pains me, because Matamoros, our next door Mexican neighbor is such a huge part of Brownsville's past, present and future development. After speaking with Dr. Hanna I have realized that any cultural plans for Brownsville needs to consider and involve the Matamoros community as well. These twin cities' relationship really make Brownsville a special entity in the Rio Grande Valley. Geographically, Brownsville and Matamoros are not more than a stone throw's away from easch other, whereas border proximities between Harlingen and Progresso, or Reynosa and McAllen are atleast a 10-20 minutes drive (depending on who is driving). People in Austin are always in disbelief when I tell them you can literally walk into Mexico from Brownsville. Now I am not bashing Harlingen's or McAllen's relationships with their border neighbors, but for the most part I hardly hear anything about collaborations between these cities. Who knows I may be misinformed so I welcome any information to come my way. But I also fear that the Brownsville governing system is coming to a point of becoming an autonomous entity and ignoring facets of cultural and social exchange between Matamoros and Brownsville. Ignorance is the most crippling factor that can occur to the better development of Brownsville's culture and economy, and if we cannot recognize that we need to collaborate with Matamoros and to help one another in improving the development of this region, then we are set for failure.
Friday, January 09, 2004
1.) The Brownsville-Matamoros area is economically stressed. (Brownsville has 12% umemployment compared to a 6% for all of Texas)
2.) There are numerous performing and other acts activities on both side of the border that can form the core of an intergrated arts program.
3.) Cross-border collaboration and promotion can make the area into a tourist destionation for the arts, enhancing the local economy.
4.) Change will not occur without leadership and some financial investment.
Dr. Hanna feels that the creation of a Brownsville-Matamoros Arts Committee should be formed to identify current arts activities and to promote them. His ideas are great and I hope that this committee will come into form soon. Maybe I can help create it but for now all we have is a small seed planted. Lets hope it blooms!
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
I have been in Brownsville for over three weeks except for a side trip to Austin to work and for a job interview. I love Brownsville and am enjoying learning more about my community. I caught up with my friends and have been doing some prelimanary research at the Brownsville Historical Association. I also saw some graffiti throw-ups and tags by t the names of Debt and Stoned. I don't know if I just didn't notice it on my last graffiti search, expect for a bad tag in a downtown alley of "Sandro Loco" with some snowflake stars surrounding it. Either way I am noticing this and maybe one day I will get the nerve to investigate this, but until I can deem it safe to not be gang related, for now it will just be observation on my part.
I still don't know what theme I will follow in my artwork concerning Brownsville. Frank is seriously considering to do a comic about Juan Cortina, the "infamous vandal" who led the Cortina raid in Brownsville back in the mid 1800's. I am sure Frank will fill you all in on the juicy details of this interesting history. The director of the Stillman House informed us that Brownsville is the 2nd most historic city in Texas, only after San Antonio. After doing so much research and reading I believe it!
I also saw this awesome documentary called The Last Zapatistas. This film traces some of the surving soilders who fought with Emiliano Zapata's revoluntionary forces in the Mexican Revolution. I totally recommend that you see this soon!
Okay, I am going to bed now. I am sleepy and have some things to get done before I leave again for Austin. I am so tired of Austin just because that's where school is and all. I am so ready to leave the student life and enter the workforce and return to my hometown. But this semester will be the most important one since I dropped teaching sequence and hopefully if the proposal goes through, will dedicate myself to this program. Buenas Noches!
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