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Monday, July 28, 2008

1st Saturday Coffee and Culture Series on August 2

Old City Cemetery Center
First Saturday Coffee and Culture Series

Sponsored by Humanities Texas, Starbucks, and Brownsville Historical Association

The Old City Cemetery Center, located in the Mitte Cultural District, is pleased to present the 1st Saturday Coffee and Culture at the Center Series each first Saturday of the month from 10 am to noon on Saturday, August 2. The series explores burial customs and cultures from around the world and allows participants to make thoughtful comparisons to local culture and local burial customs. The series is sponsored through a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities and coffee and tea is provided by Starbucks. The series includes lectures, hands-on activities for children and a cup of coffee or tea for adults. August's series focuses on Medieval Culture and will feature a presentation on "Medieval Burial Customs". The hands-on activity is "Exploring Stained Glass."

During the program, the Humanities Texas exhibit "Songs of Glory: Medieval Art from 900 to 1500" will be on display. The exhibit traces the evolving uses of art through the Middle Ages and leads to a heightened appreciation of how people found meaning and purpose in chaotic times. Surveying the varieties and purposes of art through six centuries, this photo and text panel display combines color images, background arches on muted mats, and eloquent texts to tell a moving story. This exhibit was developed in collaboration with the Oklahoma Museum of Art.

This program is free to the public. The Old City Cemetery Center offers free admission from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. The Brownsville Historical Association manages the Old City Cemetery Center. For more information on BHA programs and exhibits please call 956-541-5560 or 956-541-1167.


About Brownsville Historical Association

The Brownsville Historical Association manages the Brownsville Heritage Complex which consists of: Stillman House, Brownsville Heritage Museum, Aiken Education Center, and Heritage Resource Center. The Brownsville Heritage Complex is located at 1325 E. Washington, Brownsville, Texas 78520. The mission of the BHA is to preserve, educate, and promote the history, heritage, and cultural arts of Brownsville, Texas and its environs through exhibitions, educational programs, publications, cultural events, and archival collections. For more information visit

About Old City Cemetery Center

The Old City Cemetery Center focuses on history, architecture, art, and folk customs of the cemetery. It is lcoated at 600 E. Jackson on the corner of 6th and Monroe Streets in Brownsville. It is managed by the Brownsville Historical Association. The mission of the Old City Cemetery Center is to advance life-long learning opportunities about the history, architecture, art, genealogy and folk art customs of the Brownsville Historic City Cemetery and the surrounding Buena Vida Neighborhood through exhibitions, cultural events, and educational programs. For more information visit

Brownsville Historical Association
Jessica Villescaz

Brownsville Historical Association
John Jefferson
Old City Cemetery Center Assistant

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Art in the Park" coming soon

The "Amigos Artistas" website calendar is noting "Art in the Park" September 9, 2008 -the 9th lands on a Tuesday. There is currently no other information, but you might want to note the date on your calender. For those of you who have never heard of "Art in the Park", let me tell you, you don't want to miss it. It is one of those events where you can simply just go look at an abundance of art, talk to the artists, and of course purchase art, all the artwork exhibited is for sale. For more information or to view pictures of previous "Art in the Park events" you can check out the "Amigos Artistas "website: .

The Art of Brownsville Goes to Europe

Hello Readers!

Here I find myself with insomnia, again...

It's been like this for 2 weeks, which means I am nervous. In two days I will be off for a two-week trip to Europe. I am back-packing I guess you could say it...but not so much in the rugged, hopping trains, no itinerary and carrying a sleeping bag kind of way. It's more like, my luggage happens to be a backpack, I am staying at hostels (yes, I have heard of the movie- don't care to see it or let it stop me from saving money), do some sight-seeing on the side, but I will also be visiting schools. As much as this trip is for pleasure, it's also a venture, a peek into pursuing a dream. To see if its viable, if the shoe fits...and in a very literal way. For about five years now, I have had a dream of becoming a shoe designer with my own company.

If after this trip, I realize that shoe design is for me, then it will not be a career I can pursue in Brownsville. Not right away at least...I've done my homework. ;o)
And so while I am not getting any younger, and am able to do it, I am going to explore my options. I will be visiting two schools in England and two in Italy. Then after that, I will go visit friends in France.

So this trip is much more than a vacation. It will be an experience that will help me make some important decisions. I don't think the effects will be short-term, but it will allow me to make some long-term goals to plan towards meeting over time. I am a little nervous but I am sure once I get there, I'll get over it. lol!

I'll try to post about my trip as I go, time and internet access allowing of course! As far as the art-sight seeing, I really look forward to seeing Michelangelo's David in Florence. I missed seeing it last time I was there so this time around, it's a must see! I think what allures me the most in England is the architecture, history (those scandalous Tudors!) and the country-side. I will have to see me some English country and run around pretending to be "Elizabeth Bennet" from Pride and Prejudice. When in France, of course I will have to visit the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and Titian's "Man with a Glove" which is one of my favorite portrait paintings.

If you all have any suggestions on things to do, please leave me tips in the comments section. I will be in London, Florence, Rome and Paris. Below is one my shoe designs made by computer which I had a blast making. I am now ready to see what potential there is...what the future may bring!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dolly In Charge

As I type, Dolly is still pounding on the rain with strong winds, though not as strong as earlier today. On a personal level, as a weather enthusiast, I am loving the scene outside because it reminds me a lot of winter and I love how a cold front makes an entrance on a hot, humid autumn day and just changes everything in a matter of minutes. But, yes the damages caused by a cold front pale in comparison to a hurricane so there are hazards to consider as well as reverence to Nature's power.

I think for the most part, the overall reaction to Hurricane Dolly have been calm. We didn't even board up at my home and have not lost electricity expect for our digital phone, cable and Internet for about half of the day. We heard a couple of transformers explode but the PUB came by later to remedy that. Most of the debris outside are from trees. Late in the afternoon, I went with my father to check on some of our properties in downtown Brownsville. On our ride, we found plenty of tree debris, resaca levels some 5-10 ft beyond their usual banks, and some flooding on streets next to resacas. To our surprise, we also found four big trees toppled over and partially blocking the road. I mean big ol' mesquite trees. One looked to be near the 100-year mark, so the winds have been quite strong.

I was also taken by the low, almost ominous "oooooooooo" sound of the winds high in the sky. Not having personal experience in hearing such a sound (this is the first hurricane I have ventured out into), it made me a little nervous as I checked for a funnel cloud. Fortunately, I didn't have to duck for cover.

There has been a lot of concern over low-flood prone areas and the strength of the levees. We can only pray that everyone in the effected areas are safe and in sturdy shelters, that the damage has not been extensive and if there are any injuries, that they may be minimal and taken care of. The total effect will probably not be known until Friday or so. So meanwhile, be safe and cautious! To those out of area, thanks for checking in on friends and family. Knowing people care is a great comfort that is most appreciated!

To see more pics of Brownsville during Hurricane Dolly follow this link:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Joaquin Garcia Quintana

The Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts calendar of events is listing an Exhibition by Joaquin Garcia Quintana: August 27 through September 27 . Quintana has exhibited at Galeria Municipal de Arte Albertina in Matamoros and at the Galeria 409.
You can check out Quintana on YouTube:

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Dialogue on Art Interpretation

With a serious case of insomnia, I was happy to find an interesting article on ArtsJournal on the interpretation of art and if artists should really have to explain themselves. "Explanations are the traitor of art: Serious art defies easy interpretation, and artists should resist the call to explain themselves", an article written by Jonathan Jones for The Guardian's UK Art and Architecture blog.

Jones references are highly on Britain's art scene but make some interesting points when it comes to artists having to explain their work. He argues, "No serious art is easy to interpret. Nor is there ever a single valid interpretation of art. If art is good, there are many things to be said about it and much that will remain unsayable." Hmm, yes...a subjective and relative point that any artist could take to heart.

However, something that unsettles this blogger is his argument that Public Art is to blame for the current trend of artists having to "explain themselves". By trying to make art more accessible to the masses via public spaces, artists are also having to make their art more "popular", in other words more understandable to their audience or benefactors (usually public agencies), be it by context or by aesthetic impression. Goodbye "mysterious, subtle poetry", hello "common, ordinary".

He even closes his argument by quoting Jackson Pollock, "The pictures I contemplate painting would constitute a halfway state, and an attempt to point out the direction of the future, without arriving there completely." He chose a good artist to reference as most people look at Jackson Pollock and think its work a toddler could duplicate. Yet those who can understand the nuances of Abstract Expressionism and can appreciate the emotional, aesthetic and historical qualities behind the work, would argue otherwise. Like I tell my students, art reflects the times and influences from the artist's life experience, thus there is a way to relate. Jones even goes as far to say that even Pollock would have difficulty in obtaining grant funds today without an objective and accessible explanation.

However, placing the blame on Public Art does not sit well with me. Maybe it's not so much an issue of philosophy, "Heck, what artist wouldn't like to be relieved of the pressure of explaining their artwork?" I think Jones makes some very valid points that should continue in the dialogue of art interpretation.

Yet, I think my issue has more to do with arts patronage and support, which is something I think taken for granted by Jones. While Jones believes that Britain suffers from an overwhelming amount of second-rate public art, here in Brownsville we are under-whelmed. No, colonial-style architecture and landscaping do not count (though very pretty). With a sprinkling of murals, statues and memorials, there isn't much of what could honestly be called a bustling "Public Art" scene; the most recent and visible efforts probably are the Greyhound Mural, North Bus Station Tile Mosaics and on a more grass-roots level, efforts by local artists to exhibit at local commercial establishments. As it is, our private and institutional art scenes are just beginning to flourish and still many a time find themselves in survival mode. One could even say that more Public Art would help with that by making art more accessible to wider audiences, thus peaking their interest in art and going on to support local artists, museums, galleries and art education programs.

Being in a location where we don't have the luxury of high arts patronage, I just cannot, completely relate to Jones's argument. Our public, our audiences need more exposure to art and it needs to be made more accessible. Public art is a great vehicle for such an education and experience. However, I can concur that art or its interpretation should not lose their quality over popularization (giving the masses what they want to see or hear). As much as art should inspire, it should also challenge (be it the viewer and/or the artist), but most of all, it should be honest. I almost want to say in it's honesty, the viewer can find simplicity or just plain truth through which to understand the artwork, no matter how complex or vague the subject; but I need to think on this thought a little bit more before I make it opinion, it's almost just too ideal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

La Vista Gorda

Perhaps is not that you don't care, its just that you have seen them all your life, those who have crossed the river and run for their lives hiding from those dressed in green uniform that chase them. I guess you got use to it somehow, maybe even becoming immune from feeling anything, the chases became part of the landscape in this border town you call home. The numb discomfort that the thoughts in your head, the reasoning, your consciousness, your instincts, as you got older, anything that kept you from believing that they too are scared, hungry and tired was no where to be. And the chase passed you by and without a pause you kept on with your life.


Abstract Paintings by Benilde González Fernández at IMAS

The City of Tampico and The Mexican Consulate in McAllen Sponsor Solo-Exhibit of Abstract Paintings by Benilde González Fernández at IMAS.

McAllen- Benilde Gonzalez Fernandez’ exhibition at the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS), titled "Everything Intertwines", includes 14 paintings that echo impressions of the sea, the night, motion, noise, and silence, through an array of symbols expressed in gesture, geometry, texture, and color. These qualities reflect the rich diversity found in her native city of Tampico, a beautiful and progressive port by the Gulf of Mexico which, in conjunction with the Mexican Consulate of McAllen, has graciously sponsored this exhibition.

“Ms. Benilde González Fernández has a fascination for abstract design; taking color, shapes, and textures she creates dynamic explosions which continue a thread of communication with their source of origin” remarks Maria Elena Macias, IMAS Curator. Her dramatic work is exhibited in the Welcome Pavilion from July 17, 2008 through September 7, 2008. The artist will be present at the opening reception on Thursday July 17, 2008 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Free admission for members and general admission applies for non-members.

After completing her studies in Interior Design in Mexico City, Ms. Benilde González Fernández continued her Visual Arts education under the direction of artists such as Fernando Vega y Gomez (Conceptual Art), Angelina Perez (Sculpture and Ceramics), architects Cain Valdez and Jose Luis Diaz (Painting and Drawing), and Katty Harvey (Fusion Glass). Ms. Gonzalez has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Proyectart Gallery, Casa de la Cultura Tampico; Casa de Cultura Tamaulipas in Mexico City; Poliforum Siqueiros, Mexico City; Chile-Mexico Mythology; Selected in the Art Competition Ramon Garcia Zurita, Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas, and Cultural Space Metropolitano in Mexico City.


The mission of the International Museum of Art & Science is to promote a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences through exhibitions, cultural events, and educational programs; and to expand, preserve, and display its permanent art and science collections. The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue. Monday: closed; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. General admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $4 for children ages 4 to 12. Children under age 3 are free, and unlimited general admission is provided on a complimentary basis to IMAS Members. On Sundays, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. IMAS offers free general admission, thanks to the generosity of Hidalgo County.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"DOS" Video Clip

"DOS" Who Can Laugh, Will......

Monday, July 14, 2008 Buy local handmade from home

Don't waste time at the mall looking for the perfect gift. Don't even waste time getting dressed. With at your fingertips, harried shoppers can browse thousands of unique handmade items and give a present that will really impress even the most impossible recipient, and you don't even have to get out of your jammies.

Check out the stores from local Brownsville sellers:

and, founded in 2005, has sold $1.7M worth of goods as of May 2007 and is giving sites like Ebay a run for their money. 

Here's a cute video on how to do it.

For you artists and crafters out there, here's another way to get your creations out to a worldwide audience. Just a warning, be prepared to become addicted.

South Texas College Presents The Poet Mariachi

South Texas College presents
The Poet Mariachi: Daniel Garcia Ordaz

When: Tuesday, July 15, 16 & 17, 7:00PM
Phone: 956-872-6486

South Texas College presents Daniel Garcia Ordaz, author of "You Know What I'm Sayin'?" . . . "the voice of the Rio Grande Valley . . . " (The Monitor).

Open Mic 7 to 7:30 p.m. Contact Kristina Wilson @ 872-6486 to sign up. Reading 7:30 to 9 p.m.

July 15: Starr Co. Campus Library: 142 FM 3167: Rio Grande City, TX 78582

July 16: Mid-Valley Campus Library: 400 N. Border: Weslaco, TX 78596

July 17: Pecan Campus Library--2nd Floor (Rainbow Room): 3201 W. Pecan Blvd., McAllen, TX 78501

Free & Open to the Public.


About the author:


TAOB Note: Poets and poetry lovers, this may just be the treat for you! There are 3 opportunities to check this out at all 3 of South Texas College libraries.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Art of Tacos

If one could make a list of things Brownsvillians have great passion for, it would be for tacos. Yes, we Brownsvillians love food...if we didn't, so many of us wouldn't be suffering the risks of having a diet that has not adjusted to our now modern and rather sedate lifestyles. But none the less, when it comes to tacos, that's speaking straight to the heart.

Most people have their favorite restaurant or "taqueria"; a favorite taqueria in Brownsville and a favorite taqueria in Matamoros. Back in the 80's, it used to be that one had to go to Matamoros to get decent tacos made just the right way, with queso blanco (white cheese), aguacate (avocado), cebolla (onion) and cilantro and with a side of frijoles a la charra (beans) and una Joya bien fria (Mexican soda). But around the 90's, a taqueria boom began in Brownsville and now you can pretty much get tacos made a la Mexican style at a variety of locations. But still, if you want an authentic taste that hits the spot, the occasional trip to Matamoros, just for tacos, is a must-do.

There are a few differences between taquerias in Brownsville and Matamoros. In Brownsville you will find that many locations offer a variety of aquas frescas (different flavored water beverages), lemonade being the drink of choice and preferably homemade. Those locations that offer powdered lemonade lose one star in my book. My personal fave is Horchata (a sweet rice drink) but it's also somewhat rare, not many locations offer it, I guess because the process of making it is much longer. But in Matamoros, most places only offer carbonated drinks of Mexican brands and Coco-Cola and they will bring them to you chilled in the original glass bottles to drink directly from.

Many Brownsville taquerias offer a more diverse menu that include tostadas, flautas, plate specials, if you are in the mood for tacos but maybe your companions are not, then stay in Brownsville because most taquerias in Matamoros only serve tacos.

One thing you will not find in a Brownsville taqueria is a trompo, a vertical rotisserie where pork is marinated and thinly sliced to make tacos al pastor. From what I heard, the reason why is due to a health department regulation and you will understand why in the next sentence. Many Matamoros taquerias proudly place their trompos at the entrance of their location, but also mostly because there is better ventilation outdoors. While Brownsville taquerias have figured out ways to make Tacos al Pastor that taste pretty good, al Trompo just tastes better in this blogger's opinion.

Tacos are a part of mainstream culture for the young to the old. It's not strange to see a whole extended family eat out for tacos, be there a celebration or not. It's also quite popular for the younger crowds to go eat tacos in the wee hours of the morning after a night of clubbing or bar hopping. Many families even frequent the same taqueria and pass the tradition from generation to generation. Brownsville can grow and change, but tacos, are here to stay.


TAOB Note: If you would like to share the name or names of your favorite taquerias, please do so in the comments section of this post.

Friday, July 11, 2008

UTB/TSC "Tex-Mex" Photography Exhibition

What: TEX-MEX Photography Exhibition Opening
When: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday, July 14
Where: The Art Gallery in Rusteberg Hall at the University of Texas at Brownsville

The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will host an opening for the TEX-MEX Photography Exhibition from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday, July 14, at the Art Gallery in Rusteberg Hall.

The exhibit will run through Saturday, July 26.

The exhibition will feature 16 UTB/TSC photography students, as well as 60 analog photographs that focus on the way of life along the Rio Grande.

“It seemed like a natural fit,” said Exhibition Curator Brad Doherty, referring to the TEX-MEX theme. “This year’s exhibition should measure up to last year’s.”

The exhibition will combine the cultures of Texas and Mexico and showcase the unique culture that lies along the border. Images range from portraits, landscapes, local architecture, cars and food that capture the essence of local living.

“It is in the blending of these differences, great or small, where things become exceptionally visually interesting,” said Doherty.

Last year’s theme was “El Centro,” which showcased the downtown Brownsville surroundings.

Admission is $1 and there is free for all art major students.

The gallery’s hours are Monday to Thursday from 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – noon.

For more information contact Marivel Graham, gallery director, at (956) 882-7079 or at or log on to


TAOB Note: For those wanting a visual taste of life on the border, then this show is your treat. It's always interesting to see local sights and happenings documented through photography into visual art. To the visitor, it gives perspective into a different culture and for the native, it helps see the everyday and mundane from a fresh perspective. Either way, there's something everybody can take away from this show and you are also supporting local art students!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Stuff by Carl Vestweber

Carl Vestweber will be presenting his solo show New Stuff by Carl Vestweber at Manichaus (pronounced: manic house), a new artist-run modern art space in McAllen, from July 11 to August 1, 2008. A reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 11, 2008. The artist will present an informal talk at 8:30 p.m. Manichaus is located at 1301-B, North Main Street in McAllen. Admission is free.

This will be Vestweber's first solo show. Vestweber is one of McAllen's most popular artists with his collection of characters ranging from Jim Bird to solitary robots and not-so-menacing Chupacabras. His work is lighthearted and just a bit introspective so that anyone can enjoy it. Vestweber will be presenting new drawings and watercolors.

Gallery summer hours are: Monday through Friday, 12 Noon to 6pm; and Saturdays by appointment. Please call 956-207-0940 or e-mail: for more information.


TAOB Note: Lighthearted and just a bit introspective are the perfect words to describe the artwork of Carl Vestweber, and may we also add fun? When I look at his art I am reminded a bit of Dr. Suess's artwork and illustrations, but none the less Vestweber's work also speaks its own style. Some of you may remember his work from some of the first flyer cards made to promote McAllen ArtWalk. There was a flyer for each month thus a new work to appreciate as well. It's highly recommended you check this show out!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Pangs of Writing An Artist Statement

Writing an artist statement is as comfortable a process as taking a spinning class at the gym. (For me at least, those seats provide no comfort while trying to peddle a stationary bike with added weight to fast techno music). Unfortunately in the art world, its not good enough to say, "it felt good to make it at the time and I had fun". From a very subjective and personal experience, that being the the mediated or unmediated process of making of art, you need to derive meaning, and if possible identity or a label (check out Gabriel's post below on the labeling of art).

Can't the art just speak for itself??? Sadly, no... well if you want your idea or message to get across correctly. It's a far and wide assumption to think that your viewer is going to understand your artwork just by looking at it. Many artists are aware of that just from experience when speaking with viewers themselves. "No, I wasn't thinking about so and so when I made the piece. Actually...". Yet sometimes it's intriguing to know what people's interpretations are. Sometimes a viewer catches something you never realized and it changes your perception of the piece as well. And then you are back to square I need a new artist statement??? It's a vicious cycle.

You know what can be just as painful as writing an artist statement? Reading it! lol. Oi, the worry if it will leave the reader in wanting (for lack of any relevant information that the statement is hollow) or make them want to regurgitate (for too much information that it seems like you take yourself too seriously). Obviously there is a need to practice communicating, not so much BS (there's plenty of that already), but just being sensible in getting an idea across. Most art just comes from an idea, but many statements read like grand manifestos about very vague concepts. Not that I am saying there is not a place for philosophies and manifestos in the art world, from hence comes dialogue that ignite the passions of art historians and critics. People like ideas, tell them the idea behind your art. Keep it simple and if possible, relevant. How can your audience relate? When writing an artist statement, consider who you want your audience to be.

Most artists are not writers. If we were, we'd be writers. Some are lucky to also be writers. But even then, we all face that same blank canvas, be it for an artwork or that darn artist statement. It is a necessary tool to advance our art if we wish to expose it to more people, be it for profit or personal gain. Considering that and the challenge of communicating effectively, I think that is what makes writing an artist statement difficult. If any artists out there have no difficulty with writing artist statements and have had success with them, please tell us your secrets in the comments section. Or if you are like most of us, who find difficulty in writing an artist statement but none the less have good tips, please also share your secrets!

Meanwhile, check out the links below on artist statements.

"How to Write and Use an Artist Statement" by Molly Gordon
"How to Write an Artist Statement" by The Artists Foundation
"How to Write an Artist Statement" by Melissa Wotherspoon on EBSQ
"Art Narc: Bad Artist Statements" by Beth Secor on

Updating Links

Not to say that we have been completely out of the loop, okay maybe just a little...just a bit...but with developments we also need to update our links to websites and blogs. (check out the links section on the left.)

The Brownsville and Valley Blogosphere has exploded with numerous blogs! New websites for galleries, museums and other attractions are also increasing which is just amazing!

Take a look at the categories we have in our links sections. If you feel you have a site or know of a site that would fit into those categories, send an email with the website address to In the email subject line please type Proposed Link for TAOB.

The Art of Brownsville reserves the right chose which outgoing links it will display on our blog. Sites should be relevant to content of The Art of Brownsville, whether it have a regional emphasis or be about arts and culture. We also want to extend great gratitude to the blogs and websites that have linked to our page! Thanks so much and we hope this effort will help return the favor!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Meet the TAOB Team

Hello! Readers! As promised, developments are coming to The Art of Brownsville, so for starters, meet The Art of Brownsville Team!


The Art of Brownsville Team

Aberdeen Sather, Contributor

As a new member of the community—an import of Minneapolis, MN—I was immediately attracted to the thumping undercurrent of art. It was easy and convenient for me stay current with events through an artist co-worker. I was fortunate for the contact, and I’d like it to be just as convenient for all members of the community and around the world to know what’s new in the pulse of Brownsville.

I’m a high school journalism teacher and artist, specializing in drawing and painting. I’m obsessed with old photos, and I’m currently experimenting with clothing design and video production. I have worked for The Soap Factory and The Coffman and Larson Galleries in Minneapolis in PR and curating, and with MPLS/ St. Paul Magazine arts and lifestyle.

Gabriel Treviño, Contributor

Local artist Gabriel Trevino was born and raised in both Brownsville Texas and Matamoras, Tamps, Mexico. He has been a painter of fine art since 1997 and a contributing writer to The Art of Brownsville since Fall of 2005. He has participated and received recognition in various local art exhibitions and recently held a two-an show entitled “Dos” with local artist Carlos G. Gomez at the historic Alonso Building. Read the Brownsville Herald article about "Dos" by clicking here. Gabriel Treviño's future plans are to increase the accessibility of his artwork to wider audiences as well as to have a one-man show.

Cristina Balli, Advisor

Cristina Balli has directed the activities of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito, Texas for four years, overseeing all programming, promotion, fundraising and administration. In this capacity she produces an average of 38 cultural programs a year, including the annual Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival, which attracts 3,500 attendees from the entire country. Ms. Balli was the Tourism/Fund Development Coordinator for the City of San Benito where she led a citywide effort to utilize the city’s rich musical history in developing a cultural tourism program. She helped create the Museums of San Benito: Historical, Conjunto and Freddy Fender, and helped obtain resources to develop the Plaza de San Benito as a cultural civic space. Ms. Balli is also a public radio producer, having worked at KMBH/KHID, the Rio Grande Valley’s public broadcasting station, and is now coordinating a Border Radio project for Texas Folklife Resources.


Interested in contributing to The Art of Brownsville? We will always be open to welcome new members to the team. We are currently recruiting for a Webmaster, PR/Marketing and Treasurer but also welcome any writers or artists who also wish to contribute. If you need to reach any of the TAOB team members or if you are interested in contributing, email

Call for Artist

Call for Artist

Local church seeks to commission a local artist to paint a realistic oil portrait. This portrait will commemorate a special person in 100-year history of the church. Work will be need to be completed by October 2008. Any interested artists, please send examples of work in jpeg format and proposed price range/sizes to

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Invitation to the public

Local artist Gabriel Treviño will be holding open discussion at the "Dos" art exhibition at the Historic Alonzo Building this Monday, July 7th and Tuesday, July 8th from 11am-3pm. The public is invited to come and discuss art with the painter. Light refreshments will be provided. The exhibit will close on Wednesday, July 9th.
To locate the Alon

Historic Alonzo Building
510 E. St. Charles
Brownsville, TX 78520

What is art if not a label ?

"What is art if not a label? We must learn to appreciate the work before we govern it with labels, it is the viewers biggest challenge. The work must be allowed to speak for itself so it can be heard, appreciated and understood". GT

Is "Chicano Art" or "Decorative Art" a label ? Can these labels have a negative impact on the work itself ?

Lets see what you think.....Comment area is open for debate.....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Reflection on Teaching

Teaching is hard.

And the sentence I just wrote above, a gross understatement..

My first year was a challenging. Yet, I will be better prepared for take two and I am glad to say that teaching was NOT a complete and utter disaster. It was actually pretty good and after a good month of summer vacation reflection, I am happy with my teaching experience. For it changing me, for cramming in more knowledge and experience that four (okay, five years) of college could not have prepared me for. Not that I regret my education or that I am saying that college didn't prepare me adequately...quite contrary...but there is no better teacher than experience and no better discipline than practice. As a teacher, I too am a student and shall continue to be so.

It's been a while since I have posted like this. I wish I could find myself inspired to write about art but not being a natural writer, I can only write when inspired and write about what I am inspired about. As a teacher, naturally I want to write about that. I guess that is why the past year, my postings have been limited. But yes, I do need to broaden my horizons, I need to dedicate more time to art.

Luckily, I get to teach art and it was scary at times (when you have 30+ students handling sharp objects) and also fun (when you break through and are able to reach a student, even more so when a whole class gets involved in discussion).

I have more to learn but as I continue to do so I will share my lessons with you all from time to time. All I can say now is that children need good people in their lives. In their families, in their circle of friends and in their circle of influence. If you are lucky enough to be within any of those circles, please consider them in the decisions and actions you take. Be a positive mentor and most importantly a positive example. A few times, I found myself to be the only one to offer a student positive insight or support that they had never heard. It's sad. We are losing values in our schools, in our families and in our society. To recover them is not the responsibility of the teacher, it's EVERYONE'S responsibility. When a student would be at a loss to display respect or value, it made me sad to think what brought that child to that point. Adults, we need to be less selfish and give more time to our children and essentially our future. To save us time and convenience in the present by turning to TV, video games and internet to babysit our children, we damage their development and thus we are sacrificing the quality of our future.

This is all I have to say. Enough spilled. I hope to write more soon and not just about teaching, cause one has to mix things up...but for now God speed!

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