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Experiencing the Bosque (ETB) is a multigenerational project radically integrating community organizing, art-making and environmental stewardship through the activity of creating performances together. Grounded on embodied practices that reconnect us to land and what Robin Wall Kimmerer calls “more-than-human nature,” this project is a deep investigation of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park— a 372-acre ecological restoration project of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo valley ecosystem on the U.S.-Mexico border. During this multi-year project, we are offering public workshops, performances and other events that use the creative process as a vehicle to bring together university faculty and students from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), public schools, non-profit organizations, independent artists, and members of the public to support a meaningful reintegration of our species into our local ecosystem. 

Led by UTEP faculty and performance activist Sandra Paola López Ramírez, ETB has grown out of a collaboration between the Center for Environmental Resource Management (CERM) and the Community Engaged Practices in the Arts initiative at the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts.



At the heart of every step in Experiencing the Bosque is meaningful student engagement. Since its beginning, UTEP students have been involved in doing research and creative activities at the park, participating in community workshops and reflecting on their environmental impact and their relationship to water and land in this region. The completion of the first phase alone involved over 140 students in Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Chicano/a Studies and Women and Gender Studies, who participated in developing, curating, and shaping the site-specific performance, the art exhibit and the immersive theater experience.


“It was very nice to hear some of what we did for arranging class [in the performance]... This really inspired me to look forward to more interdisciplinary art. Is really beautiful to see how every art takes a part over the impressions of the other and it’s translated in their own world.” - Andrés Rico López, Arranging and Composition Music student, 2023

“My relationship with the park has changed dramatically compared to my very first time there. The first time I was really scared to actually let go and connect with the bosque because it was something I hadn’t done before, but now I feel more free and aware of what is going on with my body and mind when I’m there, it brings me happiness. and its actually something that I needed.” - Andrea Meza, Latinx Voices in Performance Activism student, 2022

“What I learned about my body in the activities offered is discovering in which parts I felt my gratitude for not only water, but also for oxygen, life, movement and for being surrounded by others. Thinking about were in our bodies we felt thankful for water made me think about where did I felt thankful for other things. I discovered that I feel gratitude primarily in my chest, where my collarbone is, behind my neck, and at my center of gravity which is my belly button. When we were looking at pictures of maps that indicated where the river was located and how they have changed throughout time gave me chills, just imagining that where I was walking there was once a river path and living species living on it and drinking from it.” - Mitzy Lira, Dance Improvisation student, 2021


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