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Founded in 2005, the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas, El Paso, is the leading contemporary arts organization in the El Paso/Juárez border region. We have a broadly recognized history of presenting critical projects by international artists that respond to our location at the epicenter of the Americas, engaging a unique cross-section of campus and community audiences. Through this work, we have built deep relationships with individual artists and contemporary arts organizations in both cities, and a growing understanding of the underlying context and needs related to artistic production in this place. We are currently at a critical stage of growth as we reorganize to capitalize on our knowledge and history and respond in innovative and expanded ways to our role as a contemporary arts organization at the border: In 2022, with the support of a $400,000 Mellon Foundation grant, we began a strategic planning process that includes the hiring of two full-time staff and the development of revised working plans for many of our internal processes. We will also launch a series of exhibitions and related publications for local artists, starting in the spring of 2023.

In its 17 years, the Rubin Center has organized more than 150 original exhibitions with a risk-taking international roster of artists and ideas that have raised the bar in the production and display of contemporary art in the borderland. With each exhibition, the center hosts visiting artists, writers, and curators of international recognition and importance. Artists create site-specific installations, give public lectures, and conduct workshops for students of all ages, offering our communities a direct experience with practitioners from around the globe. We have a uniquely bilingual, bicultural, and cross-border presence and long-standing partnerships with artists, arts institutions, and community organizations in both Juarez and El Paso. The depth and breadth of these partnerships was central to the execution of our largest project to date, Border Tuner, with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in the fall of 2019, which was funded in part by the Mellon Foundation and involved more than 300 local artists and 11,000 visitors to a fourteen-night-long performance and conversation across the border. The project was featured on the documentary series Art21 and received international press. Projects like this exemplify the mix of internationally recognized art and local participation that has defined the Rubin Center. Other exhibitions and site-responsive projects have included artists such as: Teresa Margolles, Mark Bradford, Gaku Tsutaja, Minerva Cuevas, Chico Macmurtrie, and Zeke Peña, among others. In 2024, we will host the first U.S. Museum solo show of Honduran artist Adán Vallecillo.

Over the years our exhibitions and programming have been supported through generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, VIA Fund, The Lannan Foundation, and Harpo Foundation, among others.

Our staff, student body, and collaborators are uniquely bilingual, binational, and bicultural. We are deeply committed to engaging the broadest possible representation of border voices, implementing de-centralized strategies for programming, and disseminating information. By going beyond our traditional local networks for art and culture, we strive to create a free and open platform for diversity of expression that is visible, rigorous, innovative, and accessible.