AUSTIN, Texas—The Brownsville Heritage Complex in Brownsville, Texas will be the site for Fronteras Cruzadas, a unique art exhibition showcasing work by students of six Brownsville high schools. The exhibit will be produced through ArtsReach, a program designed by the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin and sponsored by the University Co-op to encourage undergraduate students to establish residencies in their home communities.
“Artsreach provides an opportunity for students to learn how to give back to their home communities,” said Ken Hale, chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the university. “The students who participate in the program follow a professional collaborative agenda in the development and implementation of a specific project. They learn how to use their educational training to have a positive impact on their community. In turn, the community learns first hand the value that The University of Texas at Austin has in enriching their lives.”
Fronteras Cruzadas, which in Spanish means crossed borders, will be coordinated by university undergraduate students Mayra Cruz and Francisco Diaz. Their goal is to cast light on Brownsville’s local culture and history while sharing their experiences with younger local high school artists.
“Through this project it is hoped to help our high school students get in touch with local culture and history. It’ll open their eyes and increase awareness of their surroundings,” said Carmen Zacarias, executive director of the Brownsville Heritage Complex, which includes the Stillman House Museum. “It’ll show them the importance of history in Brownsville and Matamoros, Mexico, and it’ll benefit the citizens because it will give them an opportunity to go to the museum and see border art. Too often people forget this museum is here.”
The ArtsReach project in Brownsville will encourage high school students to participate in artistic endeavors and to recognize such involvement as an opportunity forcivic engagement. The high schools that will be participating are Hanna HighSchool, Lopez High School, Porter High School, Rivera High School, St. JosephAcademy and Valley Christian High School.
“We intend to stimulate curiosity in our history and the arts among high school students,” said Frank Diaz. “We feel that knowledge of our local history, especially from an underrepresented point of view, and its expression through the arts will help students to better understand their role in society.”
“While a central aspect of the mission of the University of Texas at Austin is the education and training of our students, we are also dedicated to the long-term development of the state of Texas as a whole,” said Robert Freeman, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The wonderful artistic project in Brownsville, put together by Mayra Cruz and Frank Diaz, two of this year’s seniors, is an important part of this effort. I salute the imagination of our young people in making this happen.”
The opening reception for Fronteras Cruzadas will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 at the Brownsville Heritage Complex. The exhibition will then be open to the public in the Bruce T. Aiken room for two weeks until Saturday, May 29.
The Brownsville Heritage Complex is on 1325 East Washington Street at the intersection with 13th Street. For more information please call 956-541-5560. There is meter parking and lot parking available within walking distance of the museum. The city bus terminal is two blocks west on the intersection of 12th Street and Adams Street. For bus route information please call 956-548-6050 or visit the Brownsville Urban System Web site.
For more information contact: Bruno Longarini, College of Fine Arts, 512-475-7021, or student coordinators Mayra Cruz, 956-346-9236, and Francisco Diaz, 956-533-7615.