The University of Texas at El Paso will showcase the talents of its students, faculty and alumni as well as many of the institution’s iconic backdrops during “UTEP Arts Alive,” a virtual series of performances that will start run all week.
Zuill Bailey, the Grammy Award-winning cellist and UTEP music instructor, kicked off the run at noon on Monday with a taped presentation of the Allemande from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “First Cello Suite in G Major” inside the Lhakhang cultural exhibit.
Patrons can watch the recital on the College of Liberal Arts Facebook Page.
Additional series segments will be broadcast at noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Oct. 9 on various social media platforms. Actors, artists, dancers, singers and musicians, as well as historians, creative writers and others will participate.
Each pre-recorded performance will last between five and 10 minutes.
Organizers hope to culminate this interdisciplinary collaboration with live performances around campus at noon every day during Homecoming Week, Oct. 12-17, on Facebook Live.
Kerry Doyle, director of UTEP’s Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, planned the series with representatives from the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso Pro-Musica (EPPM), UTEP’s Center for Arts Entrepreneurship (CAE) and the departments of Art and Music.
“Our goal is to reach our shared publics; keep students, faculty, staff, alumni and community connected to campus when visits in real life are not possible; and use the arts to inspire and comfort people during this difficult time,” Doyle said in reference to COVID-19.
Other Week 1 performers will be Department of Art metals students who will showcase the “Handmedal Project,” a collection of wearable medals that are part of a global salute to COVID-19 healthcare workers, from inside Fox Fine Arts Center studios.
A different segment will involve two performances by alumna Nancy Green, who earned her graduate degree in art education. She will perform with a flute and then with a drum and spoken word from the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.
Some of the other scheduled performers include Brian Yothers, Ph.D., chair of the Department of English; Steve Wilson, DMA, chair of the Department of Music; and Cherry Duke, visiting assistant professor of music and director of Opera UTEP.
The list of campus backdrops include Centennial Plaza, the Fox Fine Arts Center, Sun Bowl Stadium, the UTEP Dinner Theatre patio, the University Library lawn and the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.
Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice with the Chicano Studies program, is one of the scheduled performers. She planned to read an excerpt from her recently published Spanish-language graphic novel, “A.W.O.L.” It is the story of a Chicana soldier who leaves the military without permission to find her brother who was kidnapped. The action takes place in and around El Paso.
Carrizal-Dukes said that the virtual series will allow the University to engage a wider audience and to enhance awareness of the talents of people of color. She hoped that this series might inspire more youngsters to pursue their own interests in the arts.
“This program allows us to celebrate creative works,” said Carrizal-Dukes, who recorded her segment in front of Graham Hall, home to the Chicano Studies program and one of the campus’ first buildings that once served as a dormitory.
Series spokesperson Felipa Solis, EPPM executive director and a CAE leader, said she was excited by how the program would showcase the University’s talented artists and the campus.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Solis said. “We hope that UTEP Arts Alive is a love letter to our community and our campus.”
The segment producers were Edgar Picazo Merino, a senior multidisciplinary studies major and Rubin Center intern, and Chris Beroes-Hagis, who earned his Master of Music degree in cello performance from UTEP in May 2020.
Beroes-Hagis served as audio engineer and video editor. He also briefly played his cello for additional background footage. Picazo scheduled the performances, conducted interviews, and mentored students who helped with the project. Both served as videographers.
Picazo, an El Paso native and first-generation college student, said he appreciated how the series would highlight programs within the College of Liberal Arts to include some that often are overlooked.
“I could not be happier to be involved,” he said.
The performances will be collected and archived on the College of Liberal Arts website.
Click here for the most up-to-date information on upcoming performances.