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UTEP Arts Alive is an interdisciplinary collaboration showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of the arts in the face of a global pandemic. The project highlights ongoing artistic activities by UTEP students, faculty and alumni from a wide range of departments and provides a virtual connection to iconic campus locations for those who cannot physically be present. Pre-recorded videos will be launched at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from September 14th- October 9th. The videos will feature musicians, artists, actors and dancers, as well as writers, historians and other intellectual voices, speaking and performing from easily recognizable locations from across the UTEP campus. Each pre-recorded video will be 5-10 minutes in length, and can be enjoyed during an afternoon break as a way to reconnect with arts, culture and the UTEP campus itself. The videos will be broadcast across the social media platforms of the sponsoring units as well as collected as an archive here on the Liberal Arts website.


The event will culminate in a series of performances to support early voting at UTEP. From noon-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, October 13th- October 30th , Arts Alive performers will be outdoors at the second floor of the Union Building providing live, socially distanced music for early voters and others.


UTEP Arts Alive is a collaboration between Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso Pro-Musica/UTEP Center for Arts Entrepreneurship, UTEP Department of Music, and UTEP Department of Art. Produced by UTEP Edgar Picazo-Merino, BA Interdisciplinary Studies and editor of Azul Arena magazine; and Chris Beroes-Haigis, alumnus of UTEP Department of Music graduate program and member of the Center for Arts Entrepreneurship.

Federico Valdez and Omar Limas at El Patio Recording Studios


Federico Valdez and Omar Limas are alumni from UTEP and part of Layali Al-Sham, an internationally recognized Middle Eastern music ensemble founded and led by Dr. Andrea Shaheen Espinosa, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Oboe at the university. They recorded an improvisation session with percussion in Ciudad Juárez, at the El Patio Recording Studio. The video includes footage of the different views of Juárez from the UTEP campus.

Cristina Goleti and Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez at Centennial Plaza


Cristina Goletti and Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez collaborate on an improvised dance performance at the Centennial Plaza. Ms. Goletti is the Chair of the UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance and President for the World Dance Alliance Americas, and her research interests lie in dance dramaturgy, interdisciplinary performance practices and gender studies. Mrs. Lopez has a multifaceted career involving performance, dance education, activism and community organizing and is currently part-time lecturer for Theatre and Dance, Chicano/a Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. They perform to the music of UTEP Music Department Professor Dr. Chris Reyman.

Dr. Carlton H. Brown at UTEP Library


Dr. Carlton Brown is an assistant professor and program coordinator of the School Counseling Program of the College of Education at UTEP. He is also a founding member of the Black Affinity Group, an organization dedicated to promoting a sense of community for the Black Faculty, Staff and Students and addressing issues of cultural and social isolation, as well as providing a safe space for those experiencing inequality and injustice. His background in the arts include being a creative writing teacher and amateur actor. For this segment of UTEP Arts Alive, Dr. Brown recites a speech to educators by Mr. James Baldwin, one of the leading voices during the American Civil rights movement. The video was recorded behind the UTEP library.

Dr. Elvira Carrizal-Dukes at Graham Hall


Dr. Elvira Carrizal-Dukes is an Assistant Professor of Practice and Undergraduate Academic Adviser for Chicana/o Studies at UTEP. She is also the author of A.W.O.L., a graphic novel featuring a Latina soldier on unauthorized leave from the military, which was illustrated by her husband Ronnie Dukes. For her participation in UTEP Arts Alive, Dr. Carrizal-Dukes reads a couple of scenes from the Spanish translation of her novel. The recording took place outside Graham Hall.

Valerie Santos outside the Physical Science Building


This installment of UTEP Arts Alive was in charge of the Department of Theatre & Dance at UTEP. Located in the courtyard behind the Physics Building, Valerie Santos performs a scene of the play “Into the Beautiful North,” ​written by Karen Zacarías, directed by Melissa Crespo, and based on the novel by Luis Alberto Urréa. ​ The performance is part of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read program. Right after the scene, different students in charge of the sound, lighting, set and costume designs of the play discuss their work. These full behind the scenes videos are available on the Theatre Department webpage.

Noraya Ccoyure at The Rubin Center


Noraya Ccoyure earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos with an emphasis on Peruvian poetry from the 60’s. She has published two collection of poems: Río Blanco and Criadero. She is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Master’s at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is also the founder and active member of the independent theatre company Llaqta. For UTEP Arts Alive, Noraya performed “Postes Amarillos”, recorded inside the Rubin Center, with images from the campus at night.

Dr. Steve Wilson at Centennial Plaza


Dr. Steve Wilson is the Chairman of the Department of Music as well as professor of trombone at UTEP. He has been active nationally and internationally as a soloist, as a member of the Continental Trombone Quartet, and as a member of the Jim Widner Big Band. For UTEP Arts Alive he plays a piece called “Aborigial Voices” by Niel Corwell, a euphonium player for the U.S. Army Band. The piece was inspired by the Aboriginal people of Australia, with all sorts of aborginal and nature sounds. He performs in front of the UTEP Dinner Theatre, overlooking the Centennial Plaza.

Tom Birkner at Fox Fine Arts Plaza


Tom Birkner is a painting professor at UTEP. For this video, he put together a project for his painting class focused on abstract expressionism. The class met outside the Fox Fine Arts building, where they painted in a free way by splashing paint on small and large canvases. Mr. Brikner also explains, from his studio at the university, how the changes brought by COVID-19 can be used as an advantage in the development of the students. The song in the video is by UTEP alumnus Andrés Ortiz and is titled “Yo Soy".

Nancy Green at The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens


Nancy Lorenza Green, M. Ed. is a bilingual teaching and performing artist. A writer, musician, and photographer, Nancy's vision as an Afro-Chicana from the border region offers a unique perspective grounded on the spiritual values. For UTEP Arts Alive, she plays the drum at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens with a 6/8 rhythm that originates West Africa, performs a poem called “Awakening/Despertar” of her collection Reflections of Time, and finishes with a song called “Alfonso’s Dream”, which she wrote and is performed on an ocarina.

Jess Tolbert at UTEP Metal Studio


Jess Tolbert is assistant professor in the Department of Art and head of the Jewelry and Metals Program. For this episode of UTEP Arts Alive, she invites us to her metal’s studio located in the Fox Fine Arts, where she is working on an initiative called The Hand Metal Project, a global metalsmith effort to honor health professionals during the pandemic. The hands, made by her students, will be given out in November 8th within the El Paso and Juárez region.

Zuill Bailey at UTEP Lhakhang


Zuill Bailey, widely considered one of the premiere cellists in the world, is a distinguished soloist, recitalist, and teacher. He is the Artistic Director for the Center for Arts Entrepreneurship at UTEP. For UTEP Arts Alive, Mr. Bailey performs Allemande from Suite No. 1, composed by Bach, at the Lhakhang, a temple gifted by the Bhutanese people to the university.

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