Staff Report August 18, 2018NewsComments Off on UTEP, El Paso, Juárez Among Finalists for Cross-Border Art Project Funding
The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, along with the Cities of El Paso and Juárez, are in the running for an award that will provide funding for a joint cross-border art installation.
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that El Paso is one of 14 cities that could receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.
“The Rubin Center has a dynamic history of presenting contemporary art that involves artists and audiences from both sides of the border,” said Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center at The University of Texas at El Paso.
“This partnership with the City of El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation and our partners in Juárez highlights the strong connections we have with our sister city, and the importance of building bridges for the future.”
The proposed art installation is titled “Border Tuner.” The project, led by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, includes a series of light and sound installations that will connect El Paso and Juárez with robotic searchlights that make a bridge of light. The light sources open bidirectional live sound channels that allow people from each side of the border to communicate with each other from three stations at Juárez’s Chamizal Park and three at Bowie High School in El Paso.
In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors from U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects. More than 200 cities applied with proposals that fostered creative collaboration, addressed civic issues and supported local economies through public art.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will select at least three winners among the 14 finalists in the fall to execute their projects over the course of 24 months. The grants will cover project-related expenses but will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.
Other participating foundations for the El Paso/Juárez art project include the El Paso Community Foundation, Fundación Comunitaria Paso del Norte and the state government of Chihuahua.
When her work was included in the 2017 Annual Juried UTEP Student Art Exhibition, Sarah Aguilar said she was surprised. When she learned that two of her pieces were accepted for the 2018 show, her reaction was more of relief.
“It feels rewarding because I work hard on my pieces,” Aguilar said as she took a break from the installation of one of her pieces in the show. She is one of the center’s education interns. “I’m kind of relieved that it’s over. I’ve done the best that I can and I’ve submitted them. Now, I can exhale.”
Aguilar, a senior arts major with a concentration in drawing and minor in printmaking, used a collage of 108 drawings with brief text for “Found Objects and Questions,” and used an intaglio printing process to create “Are You Picking Up What I’m Putting Down,” which was based on a photo she shot of a discarded shoe on a downtown El Paso street.
The El Paso native’s artwork is among the 82 pieces created by 63 student artists from The University of Texas at El Paso for this year’s show that opened May 4, 2018, in the Gerald and Stanlee Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. The displays will be up through Aug. 10, 2018.
Jason Lucero earned the Arlene Smith McKinnon Endowment Purchase Award for Overall Best in Show for “A Miscommunication with Conversationalists.” Jasmine Flores won the Sarah and Tom Lea Purchase Award for Best Life Drawing or Life Painting for her “Stream of Consciousness.” Each earned $750.
Kerry Doyle, Rubin Center director and the show’s organizer, said this event always brings big crowds because of the number of new artists represented, and the interest in their style and level of craftsmanship.
“There are always a few surprises, but at the same time, some of the best work rises to the top,” she said.
For the students, this event is special because their work is judged by top professionals with international reputations. The faculty and staff play no role in the decisions of the judges, who have their own different, subjective aesthetic view.
This year’s jurists were San Francisco-area illustrator Craig Frazier for the graphic arts, and Mexico City visual artist Betsabeé Romero for the fine arts. They reviewed the approximately 400 submissions of drawings, paintings, prints, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry, metalsmithing and graphic designs, and selected about 100 finalists before choosing the winners. A blind juror process was used to ensure no favoritism.
The process is similar to what these students will need to follow to apply for grants and art shows, or to sell their work, Doyle said.
“There are opportunities for success and rejection, but students have to learn to put themselves out there,” she said. “The show is important, but the process is equally important.”
This competition is a high-impact experience that UTEP students can use on their resumes, CVs, and graduate school and job applications, said David Griffin, chair of UTEP’s Department of Art.
“The level of work shown is really phenomenal,” Griffin said. “Past jurors have commended us on our students’ work.”
Zachary Silva, a senior double major in art history and studio art, said he looks forward to seeing the work of his peers, but he is most excited to see the public’s reaction to his two pieces that were accepted into the show.
Silva said he stayed in the campus art studios well into the night for about two months to create the pieces that are anchored in printmaking, a time-consuming art form. “Animal Group Triptych” is a three-panel piece that includes bits of text, and “Strangers in the Night” has a sculptural component and is based on an abstract narrative about relationships.
“This is my first time in the show, so this is exciting,” said Silva, an El Paso native. “This shows that others appreciate my concepts enough that they want to show them to others.”
For Aguilar, the art show is like experiencing the end of a leg of an artistic journey. She understands how practice and failure have propelled her to where she is as an artist.
“I know I have a long way to go to get better, but (participating in this show) is a sign that I’m doing something right.”
Staff Report March 13, 2016NewsComments Off on UTEP’s Rubin Center Celebrates a Decade in Art
For more than 10 years, the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas at El Paso has focused on bringing thought-provoking international contemporary art to the border region.
The Rubin’s latest showcase, the 2016 UTEP Department of Art Biennial Faculty Exhibition, is no exception. This exhibition will feature recent works from distinguished faculty members from the UTEP Department of Art focused on the “creative life” of working artists.
The show will begin Wednesday, March 16, 2016, and run through Saturday, April 23. The Rubin Center will host panel discussions with the participating artists throughout the showcase.
Internationally renowned artworks that respond to the geographic and political location of the border, along with exhibitions that explore hands-on practices in contemporary art, have attracted visitors from countries across the world to the Rubin Center.
“The Rubin Center is the only exhibition venue in El Paso that has a
mission to bring contemporary art and current thinking and art practice to our community,” said Rachelle Thiewes, internationally renowned metal smith and jewelry artist and former UTEP professor. “As an artist working in El Paso, I find it’s programming invaluable to my own art practice.”
Supplementing UTEP’s mission to provide higher education to the residents of El Paso and the surrounding region, which includes Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico, the Rubin Center is committed to understanding the international and multicultural character of the border region.
From 1980 to 2004, UTEP’s Main and Glass Galleries comprised the University’s major exhibit spaces. The Rubin Center, located in Seamon Hall, opened in 2004 after the 1928 building underwent a $2.2 million renovation.
The galleries increase appreciation and awareness of visual culture through art exhibitions from both Mexico and the United States.
“I think the Rubin Center plays an important role in interdisciplinary art that pushes the boundaries,” said Paola Lopez, professor of voice movement and dancing at UTEP. “It’s a really important venue for contemporary art in the community.”
Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center, said the center is a laboratory for emerging artists and innovative practitioners.
“We serve as a learning site for students from The University of Texas at El Paso and the surrounding community by creating opportunities for student involvement in the planning and execution of exhibitions, and through formal and informal educational opportunities for audiences of all ages,” Doyle said.
Not only does the Rubin Center serve as a showcase for art and a learning site for students, it also can be used as a classroom or meeting center for certain events. In order to initiate thought-provoking innovative and cross-disciplinary conversations within the arts and between partners from colleges throughout UTEP, the Rubin uses the classroom setting to expand its circle of visitors and supporters.
“The Rubin Center has gained a considerable reputation in the U.S., and that reputation is beginning to branch out internationally,” Thiewes said. “This lifts the University profile as an institution that supports arts education. Importantly, all UTEP students, faculty and staff have access to current contemporary thinking in the arts through the exhibits and lectures presented by the Rubin.”
Visiting artists create site-specific installations, give public lectures and conduct workshops for area high school and university students. The Rubin has hosted artists from throughout the United States and Latin America, in addition to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Since the center opened in 2004, it has displayed more than 75 exhibitions of contemporary art, several of which have traveled throughout Texas and around the country.
Every Rubin Center exhibition offers community members a direct experience with contemporary artists and curators of international recognition and importance.
Exhibitions and programming have been recognized and supported through generous grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Lannan Foundation, the Leonard Nemoy Foundation and others.
Among the gallery’s exhibitions featuring local and international artists is the annual Juried UTEP Student Art Exhibition, showcasing undergraduate student art from all mediums – painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, metals and graphic design.
The Rubin Center celebrated UTEP’s Centennial in 2014 with an exhibition of works from more than 100 different artists, which included art department alumni. Titled “10 Squared: 100 Artists Celebrate the Centennial,” local artists and past and current faculty members were invited to create 100 cm x 100 cm works of art celebrating the University’s 100th anniversary.
The Rubin Center delayed its 10th anniversary celebration until 2015 in order to commemorate UTEP’s Centennial year in 2014.
In celebration, the Rubin hosted a series of exhibitions focusing on space and art on the U.S.-Mexico border centered on the theme “Territory of the Imagination.” The title is a phrase borrowed from a former director of the National Science Foundation “to describe the special place that both artists and scientists inhabit,” Doyle said.
The project included a series of exhibitions, workshops and public events in El Paso and Juárez, Mexico and sought to put space-related technology into the hands of communities that have little to no access to the technological infrastructure behind commercial or governmental use of space.
Several artists spoke at “Aerosolar: Space without Rockets,” a program and conference about alternatives in space exploration as art.
Among the speakers was Tomás Saraceno, artist and initiator of numerous aerosolar, lighter-than-air projects, collectives and ideas. He also launched one of his lighter-than-air sculptures at White Sands Missile Range on Nov. 8, 2015. The Argentine-born, Berlin-based artist came to the border to demonstrate through a floating sculpture in the dramatic landscape of the White Sands desert how we can float into space.
“The Rubin Center has grown to become a shining star in our community since its founding,” said Rebecca Krasne, strong supporter of the Rubin Center. “The Rubin has helped put UTEP and its art department on the map and has given UTEP students an incredible opportunity to engage with art on a whole new level and expand their perspectives beyond the University and El Paso.”
The Rubin Center is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. The Rubin Center is closed on UTEP home game Saturdays. For more information on the Rubin Center, including a calendar of upcoming events, how to become a member, and more visit their website at rubin.utep.edu