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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Golden Age of Mexican Cinema

The Brownsville Historical Association presents: A presentation on the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema

Join us for a spectacular PowerPoint presentation by Rogelio Agrasánchez, Jr.
Sunday, September 18, 2005 @ 2:00 P.M.
The Brownsville Historical Association
Brownsville Heritage Museum
1325 E. Washington St. (956) 541-5560
No admission fee – open to the public

Mr. Agrasánchez will discuss the exhibition of Mexican movies in the United States during the 1940s-50s and his upcoming book, Tears, Passion & Rage: The Heyday of Mexican Movies in the United States (1920-1960). He is the curator of the world’s largest private collection of Mexican movie memorabilia.

Monday, August 29, 2005

TCA Class of Young Masters

By way of Texas Commission on the Arts:

2006 Class of Young Masters

Every two years, the Texas Commission on the Arts awards the Young Masters Scholarship to talented 8th through 12th grade Texas students. This program is not a college scholarship, but instead it is a unique program offering Texas students advanced arts training so that when they apply for college programs or art schools they will have an extra competitive edge. It is the hope of the Texas Commission on the Arts that each Young Master will be a professional artist one day.

You will find extensive online content designed to help you complete the application process. Please take care and read all the material first. Click on Young Masters Application when you go to TCA's website....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Young Brownsville Artist On The Rise

by Rachael Rudnik
24 x 36
Acrylic on Canvas

Artist Statement:

My painting represents who I am. It is a collage of images from my culture, both inherited and acquired. I demonstrate the mix of cultures I experienced growing up by incorporating my Spanish mission style Episcopal church in the bottom left, my two older sisters who were both born in Honduras in the lower right and elements of historic Brownsville blended with images from travels in Britain, where my grandfather grew up . I also incorporated Polish designs into the road, representing my Polish heritage. I put an image of myself into an open field which graduates to large sand dunes and a vast mountain range to show my independent character and my appreciation for natural formations.

Artist Bio:

Rachael Rudnik was born in Brownsville, TX and is a senior at the Lopez Fine Arts Academy. She has demonstrated an interest and ability in art since she was a young child. Some of Rachael’s work has been displayed at the Brownsville Independent School District Administration offices, Lopez High School, Brownsville Historic Museum and the Brownsville Art League. She participated in the Fronteras Cruzadas ArtsReach program in 2004, developing a 3 dimensional display of historic Brownsville photographs and in the Tercera Cultura Visual Arts Education program of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito, Texas. She works in a wide range of media including ceramics, painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. She plans to attend art school after high school graduation to continue her studies of the visual arts.


Personal Note:
I had the pleasure of getting to know Rachael as participant of the Fronteras Cruzadas and Tercera Cultura programs. She is a dedicated and talented artist who puts great effort and heart into her work. She rose to the challenges set by both programs and incorporated Brownsville, Texas into her to work to visualize her diverse cultural heritage. (Take note of the Episcopal Church, La Madrileña Building and the Palm Boulevard entrance in her painting above.) Rachael has the drive and potential to become a great artist and I wish her the best in her all of her endeavors! For any inquires about the artist Rachael Rudnik or about her work, you may contact her via email at

Preservation Brownsville

The organization Preservation Brownsville is looking to recruit more people to join in its efforts to preserve and develop historical buildings in downtown Brownsville. For more information read this post on the blog Brownsville Talk. It is important to preserve our city's heritage by protecting our historical buildings and sites. If we cannot understand and appreciate our city's history and culture, then there is not much hope for the progression of our city's future.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Art Behind the Man

On Tuesday morning, shocking news was on the front page of the Brownsville Herald about the murder of a Brownsville artist named Alfredo Bustinza. His obituary describes him as a nationally reknowned artist and the article states that he received an MFA in art and exhibited in art galleries from Matamoros to several Texas cities to New York to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.

My questions were (and of many people who I have conversed with on the topic) were, "Who was this man? Why have I never heard of him?". This is where my mother would inject something like, "Los profetas son desconocidos en su propia tierra ". (Prophets are unknown in their own land.) I wanted to know more about his work and so I googled his name and found a few things such as pictures of three paintings, a short bio and an artist statement. Here are some samples from the page I found the information on. Check the actual webpage out.

Alfredo Bustinza
20 x 30

Here is what he had to say about art:

"The extension of the year 2000, as an artist, would consist not of social reform or cultural influences, but of new technology and new ideas, which will mesh the world together, and in return, enhances new views of exploration. The individual cities and towns will be facing new advanced stages of changes. These changes will continue to mold the underlying value system that is the Americas. In return to the next generations that will precede the millennium, this is what I perceive as an artist."

I think he is stating that future artists now have technology as a force to contend with as a generator of ideas and bridge of communication. His work exemplifies an expressionist style and it evokes the influence of Jackson Pollack's early work (before the drip paintings) and it also reminds me of Basquiat. Bustinza's enthusiasm for Pollack is also evident in his choice to paint a portrait of the artist.

Alfredo Bustinza
Portrait of Jackson Pollack
30 x 30
Oil on canvas

The Herald ran another piece on Bustinza's life and art. Read it by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Carmen Lomas Garza in the RGV

Prickly Pear / A little piece of my heart

Oil and Alkyd on wood
32 x 24 inches
Collection of Carmen Lomas Garza


Artist Carmen Lomas Garza: Life in South Texas exhibit to be on display at the 3rd Annual South Texas Literary Festival. To get more info visit the International Museum of Art and Science website.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

More Brownsville History

I came upon another Brownsville history site created by a team of UTB history students. It's called History of Brownsville and Matamoros and it documents the history of this region into simple categories of interest, such as events, attractions, people, projects, etc. It also has a brief breakdown of important events in Brownsville history. Check the site out.


Hi Folks. Just wanted to let you all know that I deleted my Raspas y Resacas blog so please adjust your links or newsreader channels because the the blog basically no longer exists. Meanwhile, please continue reading the Art of Brownsville and keep an eye out for some changes and additions! Have a great week!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

1 Degree from Fame

Right now, the rage in Latino/Hispanic media seems to be Time's magazine pick of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America. While many have commented on Time magazine's more mainstream picks on the blogosphere and internet, I was suprised and delighted to see that Time had picked contemporary latin art curator Mari Carmen Ramirez from the Museum of Fine Art of Houston (not New York! not San Francisco! not L.A.!) to be on their list. Then, the name struck a cord. Where do I know this woman from? I know that name on a personal level and not just from the news. Whosh! I am taken taken back to my freshman year of college at UT-Austin where I began my first work-study job at The Blanton Museum of Art. And then I remembered, Mari Carmen Ramirez, curator of Latin American Art (now former curator). I used to see her setting up exhibits and carrying piles of materials, usually with the help of a curator assistant. I remembered I wanted to apply for that assistant job but did not qualify as a lower classman. To me she was just soo cool because had the coolest job and was doing the coolest things. From her exhibits and from the education I obtained from a course in Latin American modern art, I was able to emerse myself in the art of Latin America. My perspective had extended beyond the world of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and I embraced the South American Avant Garde and Contemporary artists, like Joaquín Torres García, Cildo Meireles, Luis Felipe Noé, Fernando Botero and Liliana Porter. Even today, I can decipher much influence from Latin American artists in my own college work. I am very proud of Time magazine's choice to have Mari Carmen Ramirez on their list. Hardly will you hear of a latina in the visual arts sector get recognized on such a national level (and from Texas no the less!). I doubt she'll read this, but congratulations and I hope that her work will continue to influence more people about art and latin culture everyday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Active Brownsville Bloggers

I came upon the blog Brownsville Scenes by local blogger Steven Saul King. He also has a site about W.A. Snake King, an interesting figure of Brownsville's rich history. If you ever wondered why King's Highway is "King's Highway" or want to know why the area now known as Palm Village was once known as Snakeville, then give his site a visit.

Also, check out the Herald community commentary on the need for more local sports initiatives made by David Blanco of the Brownsville Blog Momma, I'm Coming Home. To read click here.

Upcoming Brownsville Arts and Humanities Events

Brownsville Museum of Fine Art Board of Directors Meeting Aug. 18

BROWNSVILLE MUSEUM OF FINE ART Board of Directors meets at noon every third Thursday in the museum, 230 Neale Drive. Call (956) 542-0941.

Tile Painting Aug. 20 &21

The City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Urban System (BUS) will host at the Northside Transfer Station a Painting Party from 10am to 7pm Saturday and from noon to 6pm Sunday at Sunrise Mall. The public is invited to paint ceramice tiles which will be installed in the new BUS transfer station. For more information call (956) 548-6000. Read the Herald news story here.

Papermaking Presentation Aug. 28

Papermaking will be the subject of the next Brown Bag Lucnh Series, a free community service by the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, 230 Neale Drive. Artists Olga Villanueva and Natali Treviño will demonstrate papermaking using resources such as thread, old paper leaves and flowers from 11:30am to 12:30pm on Aug. 26. The public is encouraged to bring paper scraps and participate. Dessert and punch will be provided by the museum. To RSVP (required) call (956) 542-0941.

Preserve Your Memories Sept. 24

Preserve Your Memories
Basic Paper Preservation of Paper Materials: A Practical Perspective

a presentation by
George R. Gause, Jr.
Special Collection Librarian
The University of Texas-Pan American

Saturday, September 24, 2005
No charge to attend
at the
Brownsville Historical Association
1325 E. Washington Street
Brownsville, Texas 78520

Duet to limited seating, you must RSVP to be admitted. Thank You. Please call (956) 541-5560.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Garzaderas at McAllen Art Awakenings

By way of RGV artist Rene Garza:

Pieces (Spaintings = Spray paint paintings) of Garzaderas' new production/series Les Nouvelles Recuperees/Recycled News/Noticias Recicladas will be at

Art Awakenings' exhibit
Summer Breeze,
this Thursday August 18 2005.

This series consists of new stencil images that are sprayed into the "local" paper weekly and then circulated to the public. It may have already hijacked your paper on your front doorstep, in your car, on the toilet, at the breakfast table, etc...
So it's ripped from the newspaper and into the gallery on this one.

Art Awakenings can be contacted at 1.956.668.1366
and they are located at 719 dove McAllen, TX

Bring your 'pasamontaña' or the cooler fresher (it's summer after all) 'paliacate' in solidarity and bring something to spray paint on.


If you are a local artist or arts and/or humanities related group and would like to promote an event or website, just send me word with the important logistics via email and I would be happy to promote it here. On average, 50 unique vistors come to this site each day so it will be a good way to get exposure.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival

NMCAC announces the

14th Annual Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival

Sept. 16, 17, & 18, 2005

225 E. Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas 78586
(956) 361-0110

Join us for three days of typical south Texas conjunto music, food & beverage, and lots of dancing!

Friday, Sept. 16 7:00 - 11:00 pm - Noche de San Antonio
Dos Generaciones
Bene Medina
Henry Zimmerly

Saturday, Sept. 17 4:00 - 11:00 pm - Gran Baile
Grupo Estrella, Conjunto Heritage Taller
Los Arroyos, Linda Escobar
Mingo Saldivar

Sunday, Sept. 18 7:00 - 11:00 pm - Puro Valle
Martin Zapata, Los Carnales Luna
Gilberto Perez, Los Angeles del Sur
Los Fantasmas del Valle, Benny Layton

$2.00 daily admission - children free

Volunteer opportunities are available - please call NMCAC.

Food/craft vendor booths are available for rental
($160 rental fee for three days)
Please call Yolanda Lopez at (956) 571-3325

2005 Festival Sponsors
Miller Lite
Su Clinica Familiar
San Benito Chamber of Commerce
City of San Benito


Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
P.O. Box 471
225 Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas 78586
(956) 361-0110


Go check the festival out and bring the family! Conjunto is the Valley's original music genre and it needs to be celebrated and shared for the future generations of our region.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

SM Unique Webisodes

On Sunday, the Herald gave a report on SM Unique's webisode series "The Bridge", which was described by the Herald as a monthly, Web-based show presented in streaming video, designed to help the local online community navigate the Web with ease.

This project has my interest due to its technological, creative and community appeals. I think it is great that the creators of "The Bridge", Mauricio Peña, Saul Torres and Kevin Diaz (also fellow Brownsville bloggers) have taken an initiative to contribute to the growth of our city's technological infrastructure by wanting to educate people on how to get connected to the World Wide Web. I think it will be especially appealing to people from our community to learn about online technology from local representatives, in other words, from people they can relate to. If we could get more locals online, we can get more communication and information across about Brownsville, and hopefully influencing more interest, activity and positive morale in the community.

All I have to say is that I am happy that SM Unique will be providing this virtual "bridge" for our community to the Web. Best of luck to you guys and just keep it going!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Junior Service League Art Contest

Junior Service League
Children Art Contest

The Brownsville Junior Service Leaque will be hosting an art contest from Aug. 8-28 at The Children's Museum of Brownsville. All chidren from ages 5 through 12 are welcome to participate. For contest rule or for more information please visit the museum or call (956) 548-9300.


Read about this on The Herald Community Section. I really need to give Kudos on the coverage they have been giving the cultural arts of our city lately. I hope to start commenting on stories I read soon, but for now I am happy to help spread the word.

El Second Weensdee

The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
"El Second Weensdee"
Clemencia Zapata
of Conjunto Aztlan

Wednesday August 10, 2005
7:00 PM

This month's Second Weensdee features a powerful duet of women in the music, art and culture scene.

Clemencia Zapata is a well-known ground breaker in several intersecting worlds, including music, cultural arts and activism. Zapata is one of the few women in the conjunto music scene and the fact that she is a percussionist makes her more unique. Currently she plays drums for Conjunto Aztlan, an Austin and San Antonio based conjunto ( Versatile and equally at home with the caja, drums, bongos, timbales or congas, Zapata is also an exquisite singer with a rich, full-bodied voice drenched with fire and passion.

Also in this Second Weensdee, award-winning photographer Liza Longoria showcases her work as a photojournalist on the U.S.-Mexico border in her inaugural exhibit. The Rio Grande Valley native considers photography her life and enjoys the challenges of the profession. Despite her petite frame, Longoria captures gigantic and powerful images of border life behind her lens. Longoria has amassed nearly a decade of photo journalistic experience working for The McAllen Monitor, The Saratosa (Fla.) Herald and The Brownsville Herald.

a reception follows the presentation

$3.00 admission

225 E. Stenger Street
San Benito, TX 78586
(956) 361-0110

Thursday, August 04, 2005

RGV Music Festival Scene TV Special

at 8:00 PM on Saturday, August 6

The All-U-Can-Eat Texas Music Café
presents the
The Music Festivals Scene of the Rio Grande Valley

To kick-off our Summer Time Fund Raising Campaign, this coming Saturday night KMBH TV/60 Cable/10 will broadcast the All-U-Can-Eat Texas Music Café from 8:00PM to 10:00PM. This award winning radio and television program, featuring Texas music in all its forms, is filmed on location at events throughout the state then broadcast nationwide on dozens of public radio and television stations.

This show reports on the very active music festivals scene in the Rio Grande Valley and will feature highlights of Blues on the Hill and the performance of famous bluesman Rob Roy Parnell that took place on Saturday August 18th, 2004 at McKelvey Park in Harlingen. It also has great interviews with festival organizers from throughout the Rio Grande Valley including the producers of Rio Fest, the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival, the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center's Conjunto Festival and the South Texas Music Festival, among others. The program was hosted by Chris Ermoian, Executive Producer of the All-U Can-Eat Texas Music Café, Chris Maley, Program Director for Public Radio 88FM, and Guillermo Campos for Sana Life Promotion Company.

DON'T MISS IT! Show-time this Saturday at 8pm-10pm on KMBH TV/60 Cable/10!

Art Blogs

I recently read this Forbes article about Art Blogs via ArtNewsBlog. This is what Forbes had to say about Art Blogs:

"Ever start to read a newspaper or magazine review of a contemporary art show and give up because the writer seems to be speaking in a foreign tongue? The art world sometimes feels like another country with its own language and customs. Blogs can offer a passport. While some mirror the insular and gossipy nature of the art world, there are many that are thoughtful, accessible and dedicated to taking (at least some of) the mystery and intimidation out of the looking experience. You'll find everything from museum news and reviews of up-and-coming artists to art travelogues and gossip on who's who at openings. Perhaps most importantly, blogs revive the fine art of discussing ideas--an antidote to one-sided, jargon-filled critics' pronouncements.-- Liz Tunick"

The sentences I put in bold really caught my attention. As of now, I am formulating a strategic plan to eventually develop the blog into a comprehensive resource site. Ofcourse, with any strategic plan I need to make a mission statement ..and lo and behold, as soon as I read the statement by Liz Tunick, it was right in front of me. In terms of the "art of Brownsville", I would like the site to be thoughful, accessible and dedicated to taking the mystery and intimdation out of the art experience and most importantly to revive the fine art of discussing ideas.

Yet, an endeavor such as creating a comprehensive website is no easy feat. It takes loads of research, planning and personal investment to get it ready for launch. Then there is the management of the site, which is a whole other story! Really, the management of a comprehensive site is very much like the management of a small business but most of the time without any monetary profit, other than the webmaster's own personal value. As of now, I measure this blog by three values: by quality of content, by visitor feedback and by unique visitor statistics. The blog will be turning two years old come November and at its first inception, I never thought it would grow to offer so much potential. I have much more thinking to do about this, but I am glad that I have Step One (mission statement) more or less put down.

Here are some my personal picks from the Forbes list that are good models:

Gallery Hopper
Absolute Arts Blog
Art Addict

Then there are other sites and not just blogs that I am looking at as well:

Art by Latina Artists (my top model right now)
The Harry Potter Lexicon (this comprehensive website with everything Harry is pure eye candy to me!)
The Glass Tire (awesome, just awesome)

I don't know yet, how large the site's scope will be. I don't even know if I will be able to manage such an initiative alone. Various factors will come into play and the largest one will be on what sort of personal investment I would be willing to make. Perhaps, I should just keep the scope of the site to the blog and just work on improving the quality of my content. It may be the only thing I can realistically manage. But for sure, I have moved a step forward towards the development of The Art of Brownsville.

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact:

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact:

Historic Brownsville Museum