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Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Callejon de las Calaberas"

On Saturday 3/24 after my visit to the new BMFA, I stop by to see what was going on at the Galeria 409. The dynamic "Wild Style" show was still up on display and Mark Clark working on his study (oil painting on board) that will represent and set the standard for the "Callejon de las Calaberas", a future mural project he hopes to complete with the help of local artist. The mural will run through the alley next to the galeria and will reflect on both the history of Brownsville and celebration of the dead.
Coming up at the Galeria 409 will be the work of commercial artist "Franchute":APRIL 5 to MAY5. The show will open Thursday April 5 with Reception at 6pm. You can check out the work of "Franchute" at .

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Art Review Part 4

"What is art if not considered significant? The reality I have seen is that not all art is considered as art, for it is easier to misunderstand art than to take time to understand it. I am as guilty as any of this theory, but then again sometimes it takes more than a lifetime to understand art - Van Gogh art proved that theory."

I stop by the new BMFA to check out the 2007 International Art Show, in comparison I must say I thought the 2006 had a lot more spice to it, but may because the 2006 seem to have more entries. Don't get me wrong the show still had a lot to offer, 2 thumbs up, it was very well curated and installed.

My eye catchers of this show were Cris Leonard works which are 3 giant high color volume paintings of a cartoon style images of a mix of cat like animals and human like characteristics. You just can't miss Cris paintings imaginary creatures which have remain consistent in his work as far as I can recall since his Mesquite Review Profile. I got a chance to meet Cris at the 2005 Amigos Artist Art in the Park where we had a conversation on his inspiration. His application seemed also to remain the same from when I last saw his work, mix media-acrylic-oil and spray paint on canvas or plywood and or board-sometimes leaving the raw background expose. He had mentioned to me he pretty much uses anything on anything to create his works. One of Cris paintings I noted "Homage to Jorge" was priced at $1750 estmtd 4ft x 5ft acrylic on canvas, a price I think seems fair for his recognizable style and his established name as an artist in the Rio Grand Valley.

Other eye catching paintings for me were Dina Saldañas, Marylin Brown and Brian Paulsen.. Dina work which I have seen several times carry a suttle social message. In her entry she paints-3 minors sailing wildly with out a care to the distant background where she painted a deserted beach. Marilyn Browns entry I thought was very abstract and psychedelic. A swirl of color and shadow silhouette exotic flowers that seem transparent and push for double imagery into the unknown sensation of the viewer. Brians work is of the highest standards. His surrealistic, and psychological settings are well presented by his artistic skill and experience. In the drawing "Heart Warming Site" a half nude woman sits at what appears to be a hospital hallway. Her arms are raised and pierce into a heart which is connected to the electrical socket on the wall behind her. Gotta see more of this artist.....

There was an entry large size metal sculpture of a still life "fly" I thaught was of notice .

Last but not least I like to mention that I did think there was too many sense that for the amount of entries I think the judging should of been kept not by media category but by the the show as a whole.

Imagenes Call for Artists

BHA Gallery Talk on Women's Exhibit

Brownsville—The Brownsville Heritage Complex in historic downtown Brownsville, invites the public to a Gallery Talk on the second annual women’s exhibit, Between Myth and Reality: The Image of Women , in celebration of Women’s History Month. The Gallery Talk will be on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 11 a.m. at the Brownsville Heritage Complex.

The Gallery Talk will be included in the cost of admission to the Brownsville Heritage Complex: Free to BHA members, $4 for non-members. During the talk, participants will explore the contributions of women in art and culture. A discussion of the works featured in the exhibit, Between Myth and Reality: The Image of Women will be presented.

For more information please call 956-541-5560 or email info@brownsvillehistory.

Curator of Archives and Special Collections, Jessica Villescaz will lead the Gallery Talk. She is a Valley native completing her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Anthropology at the University of Texas-Pan American.

Ms. Villescaz was curator of this year’s women’s exhibit, in honor of Women’s History month.

Brownsville Historical Association
1325 E. WashingtonBrownsville, TX 78520

*Pictured artwork by Celina Hinojosa, artist whose work will be featured during gallery talk among other work by local female artists such as Nancy Schlight, Jessica Monroe, Celeste de Luna and more!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Online Valley Art to Check Out!

Recently, I've learned of more online sites dedicated to local art and culture and highly encourage you to check them out and put them on your browser's favorite list.

Check out posts about local art and events by Mike Moody, editor of the soon to be launched V247 arts and entertainment online magazine. Read up on local events and Gallery 409's "Wild Style" art show:
Thanks Mike for your continued support for local arts and entertainment!

Also, check out this aerosol stencil by The Art of Brownsville blogger Gabriel Treviño, currently on display at Gallery 409! I really like this piece!

Also check out the NikFix Webzine of South Texas at This is a very comprehensive site dedicated to our local skateboarding, roller blading, riding, art, photography and music scenes. Awesome site NikFixers!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The V247 Artist Profiles

TAOB Note: Keep an eye out for the launch of from The Valley Morning Star. The V will be the online source for entertainment news and views in the Rio Grande Valley. For now, check here for updates on the site's progress and area events at their MySpace profile:

If I had a time machine

So what would you do if you had a time machine? Something very noble or great in scope, such as preventing a war or tragedy, or would you go back to your past and rectify something you regret? As for me, what would I do? I would go back in time to visit meetings where bad decisions were made! Such as the meeting where Dell computer engineers thought that a slanted USB port would be a very cool thing...(not when you are bent over on the floor on your knees, blindly trying to shove your jump drive into the computer.) Or the meeting where the project planners of the Highway 77 construction/expansion decided to complete it in one whole phase rather than in sections (because waiting 15-25 minutes at every major Brownsville intersection simply trying to get across the highway from one side of town to the other is my preferred way to spend my time. Oh, and I just love the feeling of concrete barricades being 1-2 ft away from both sides of my car as I travel down a one-lane highway with some tailgater pushing me to do 70mph in a 55 mph zone.) I can already imagine myself going into some conference room going..."Nooooooooo, your making a bad decision!".

But the reality is, I don't have a time machine and until someone invents a working flux capacitor, I will continue to avoid crossing into North Brownsville until it is very necessary to do so and I will continue to seek computer monitors with the USB port on the side. However, beyond my sarcasm and humor, I am pretty serious about the way the highway construction being executed. Asides its inconvenience, some aspects of the construction are dangerous and the handling of the traffic flow could be better managed. (And you think with all this going on, people would talk less on their cell phones while driving!)

But the reality is, Brownsville is growing (have you seen the way houses are mushrooming all over the perimeters of the city?), and growth doesn't come without its pains. So while our leaders and developers concern themselves with the growth of our city, this Brownsville resident has one thing she wants to say: "Don't forget the rest of Brownsville!"

We need more restaurants, shopping and entertainment options in the older parts of town because being stalled at one traffic light for 15 minutes to go see a movie or to eat a tasty Italian meal is getting plain ridiculous. I miss the days when Brownsville had three movie theatres and had two malls. Options are what make consumers happy! So please get creative and think outside the box my Brownsville leaders and developers! And by thinking creatively, think of different approaches to stimulating economic development other than building one strip mall after another. Because while development is great, I would hate to see a mom and pop café get bulldozed to make room for a McDonald’s. Such cities like San Antonio, Austin, St. Petersburg have benefited and capitalized on the renovation and redevelopment of the older sections of their city, by empowering local businesses and focusing on their to local heritage and culture, all which has brought a sense of pride and identity to their residents. Brownsville is an incredibly unique and special city and should be treated as such during this economic and population boom. So I encourage everyone, and not just our leaders and developers to come back to our roots and to think of our older sections of town just as much as they think about the newer ones.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Arts Advocacy and Activism Part 1: Interview with TCA's Mia Andrade Buentello

The Art of Brownsville will be bringing posts in the next few weeks that focus on arts advocacy and activism. Part 1 is an interview with Mia Marisol Buentello-Andrade, Administrator of Community Development and Rural Services with Texas Commission on the Arts. Mia also manages the Texas Commission on the Arts Rio Grande Valley Satellite Office and has probably logged hundreds, if not thousands of miles in car mileage towards fullfilling her mission to assist in the development of the arts and culture all across South Texas. The Art of Brownsville asked Mia some questions about her work and thoughts on local arts and arts advocacy and here is her response.

What is the mission of Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and the satellite office it established in the Rio Grande Valley? The mission of the TCA is to "create a receptive climate for the arts in Texas.." The main objectives for the RGV Office are to: increase awareness of the value of the arts and ensure that underserved communities have equitable access to the agency's programs and services. Provide technical assistance to arts and cultural organizations, educational institutions, and other units of government in underserved Texas counties including the South Texas border region.

What kind of services or programs does TCA and its RGV Satellite Office offer and who can access these services? Our services include providing assistance with the grant application process as well as compliance, and providing information and referrals to the public and local artists on TCA’s programs such as grant opportunities and other sources of funding for the arts. Nonprofit art and cultural organizations, entities of government, schools and colleges are also eligible for most of TCA's grant programs. Individual artists are able to seek opportunities listed on TCAnet,, as well as search information for funding sources, professional development, as well as information on employment opportunities. Our website has thousands of links from arts education to arts advocacy. TCA has made available a wonderful resource called, "Tools for Results Toolkit”. This toolkit offers how-to’s and templates on various topics such as Marketing, Fundraising, Exhibit Planning...and it is available for free.

As Administrator of Community Development & Rural Services for TCA, what are some projects or initiatives are you currently working on? What are some projects or groups you have worked with in the past and what impact did you observe that it had on their community? One of the initiatives is the quarterly ARTSMeet that I coordinate and the goal is to convene local arts administrators, arts advocates, and artists to encourage networking opportunities. A workshop is presented during this meeting in topics that the arts community deems important to their success. The topics have included: Marketing on a Shoestring Budget and Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Arts Organizations. More are to come, but will most likely be scheduled in the Summer. The initial ARTSMeet was successful in that a representation of the major arts organization across the RGV was present. During this initial meeting a dialogue was encouraged to get an idea of what the needs were. Of course, money is always the top resource; but there is much more that arts organizations could benefit from, mainly professional and organizational development.

What initially inspired you to pursue the work you do now and what keeps you motivated to continue your advocacy and activism for the arts and culture communities of the Rio Grande Valley? When I attend a local art exhibition, a performance, reading...I am inspired by the artists' passion to create and to witness those who attend these programs become aware of the depth of the talent that exists in the RGV. Many things motivate me in my work. My main motivation comes from building a working relationship with local arts organizations and artists that will lead to positive results such as assisting an organization through TCA's grants process or providing a local artist with information and resources that will help him or her find more success. My belief is that, if properly developed, the arts in the RGV can have a positive impact on our economy, education, and quality of life.

What are some things you wish members of the arts and culture communities in the Rio Grande Valley knew more about? What are some things you would like to see come from these communities? When I first started working at TCA, I learned so much from my travels to other cities and states, mainly learning about successful arts programs. This was my best education yet! However, there is a wealth of information on the internet and I encourage people to learn as much as possible from other communities that have successful arts programs. Collaborative efforts between arts organizations benefit our community and we need to encourage that. Become active participants. Learn why the arts should matter, it goes beyond a quality of life issue.

What advice do you have for anyone reading this blog who has an interest to become active in the local arts and culture scene? From your observation, what skills or knowledge have proven to improve an artist's or cultural activist's chance for success? My advice for becoming active in the local arts and cultural scene is to: 1.) Understand why the arts are important. 2.) Learn who's in your community, museums, theatres, arts festivals, etc. 3.) Learn about advocacy. An arts advocate does not necessarily have to be an artist. To be successful as an arts advocate means that you have taken the time to learn why the arts are important to the fabric of your community and conveying that to local leaders. Successful advocates have a plan and a common vision and have an ability to create dialogue.

What vision do you have for the future of art and culture in the Rio Grande Valley? What potential do you think it has? My vision is that non profit arts organizations will be able to expand their programs even more, especially to our schools. Artists will have venues to exhibit and a market to sell locally and that the arts will be an important part of our community. There is so much potential, but it begins one step at a time.

Thank you Mia for your time and we especially want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our local arts and culture. Readers, we hope that you will learn more about the services and resources Texas Commission on the Arts offers and especially, take advantage of them. Please stay tuned to the second part of this series on Arts Advocacy and Activism.

Mia Andrade-Buentello can be contacted at 956.682.5336 * TOLL FREE 1.800.252.9415* .

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Creative Conversations in Port Isabel

Do you have a passion for art and culture and want to voice ideas and opinions on how to make them more promiment in our local comminities? Then attend the Creative Conversations in Port Isabel tomorrow at 6pm. (read below for more info). You will learn a lot and have an opportunity to network and meet people from the arts fields or who have a passion for art and culture!

Museums of Port Isabel
317 E. Railroad Ave. Port Isabel, Texas 78578 (956) 943-7602

For Immediate Release
Creative Conversation to be held in Port Isabel

Museums of Port Isabel and Cameron County Creative Alliance Connect Art Leaders to Make Dynamic Difference in Community Port Isabel, Texas—The Museums of Port Isabel, located at 317 E. Railroad Ave. in downtown Port Isabel, and Cameron County Creative Alliance, are partnering to host an Emerging Art Leaders creative conversation (cc) in Port Isabel, Texas.

Creative conversations bring together local emerging arts leaders to discuss challenges specific to their age group and experience and issues regarding the arts in their communities. Port Isabel's creative conversation will take place on Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum.

After the creative conversation, attendees can network and mingle while enjoying the Museum's exhibits and displays at the Museums of Port Isabel and Port Isabel Historical Museum.

Creative conversations are free and open to all arts professionals with an interest in emerging leader issues.

The Treasures of the Gulf Museum is located at 317 E. Railroad Ave. South of Highway 100 on Tarnava Street across from the Port Isabel Lighthouse.

For more information please call Edward Meza at (956) 943-7602 or email at

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gallery 409 "WILD STYLE" Exhibition and Opening

Art Show
at Gallery 409

Opening: Thursday, March 1st, 6:00pm
409 East. 13th St.
Brownsville, Texas
Free Admission!

Art to view: Tats, graff, sk8, surf, kartunz, jail art, sprary, choppaz y mas!

with music by Anything Goes

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