Slowly rising from the ashes of a pandemic lockdown, El Paso’s music and arts scene begins to stir after a year-long, restless hibernation.
As restrictions in Texas were lifted this week, a cautious music and art-deprived crowd emerged at this weekend’s AHA art show in central El Paso to witness the Orange Brick Eclectic’s inaugural art gallery at 2430 Texas.
AHA – an acronym for Artists Helping Artists – is a months-long collaboration in the works with installations sprawling across hundreds of square feet on the second floor of an orange brick warehouse.
A gem of a gallery tucked on the corner of Texas and Magnolia immediately rewards visitors with riches of a beautifully chaotic arrangement made up of local artists, robbed of public expression since the pandemic’s onset.
AHA’s organizers, Brian Holt, Johnny Galindo and Victor Casa were on a mission to present a melting pot of styles and mediums to appease all audiences, rebelling against a typical gallery standard of cohesiveness.
“We wanted to do something where we brought in people of all ages, gender, color, race, art styles,” Holt said. “In this place you have printmaking, photography, painting, murals, sculpture, ceramics, you name it.”
A stroll throughout the re-imagined warehouse guaranteed a new visual adventure at every corner, contrasting style, mood and story. In the background, countless musicians played to a live audience for the first time in months, filling the room with an energy cocktail of excitement, gratitude and mostly, relief.
Couples, families and proud artists danced happily in socially distanced circles, laughs muffled under masks. The squinty, smiling eyes and raised, swaying arms revealed how the magic of art and music can nourish the souls fatigued from the effects of the pandemic.
All musicians and artists involved in the art show invested their own time, materials and passion to the AHA experience as a personal donation to feed the famished arts and music scene.
The name, Artist Helping Artists goes beyond supporting fellow creatives in reminding the community about the resilience of the local scene and its talent.
The show is free, but does encourage donations at the door to continue funding shows in the future. Artists are present and selling artwork at their exhibits.
Although the 4-day event runs through March 14, organizers are considering extending the timeline due to high attendance in order to accommodate as many visitors as possible while adhering to health safety concerns with capacity.
Attend with plans to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.
2430 Texas Avenue
March 13 – 4pm – 11pm
March 14 – noon – 5pm
For info on parking and possible schedule extension, visit Orange Brick Eclectic’s Instagram at: orange_brick_eclectic