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Spring 2021 Community Engaged Practices in the Arts


Over the next two academic years the Rubin Center will be working with UTEP’s College of Liberal Arts to create a program for Community Engaged Practices in the Arts that will include visiting artists, public programming and community collaborations which will be complemented by volunteer opportunities, paid internships and, over time, interdisciplinary for-credit classes for students. This speakers series was created to open up an initial public conversation about these kinds of practices by artists who excel in their fields. Each one-hour presentation will include a formal artist talk and will be followed by an optional 30-minute conversation on the work presented. 



Black Feminist Praxis: Using Books to Build Community
Featuring Ola Ronke Akinmowo: The Free Black Women’s Library
Friday, February 26th

The Free Black Women's Library is a social art project that features a collection of over three thousand books written by Black women. The library uses the writing, research and activism of Black women to explore, confront and discuss the complications and intersections of race, culture, class and gender.  Book lovers of all races, ages and genders are welcome to engage with the collection in any way that works for them. In this talk Ola Ronke discussed how the library serves as interactive installation, literary hub, community resource and a radical space for learning, rest, reflection and connection. Learn more about the library's free programming, reading club and grant programs by visiting the library's website at -

MARCH 2021


Self Determination & Solidarity: Towards Love Centered Futures
Featuring Joseph Cuillier III and Shani Peters, Co-Directors of The Black School
Tuesday, March 30th

The Black School (TBS) is an experimental art school teaching Black/PoC students and allies to become agents of change through art workshops on radical Black politics and public interventions that address local community needs. Founded by Joseph Cuillier III and Shani Peters, TBS has facilitated over 100 workshops and hosted three annual Black Love Festivals to date. 

As The Black School moves towards expanding its Black radical arts education programing into the shape of The Black Schoolhouse, a multi-functional Community Center in New Orleans, LA we are more compelled more than ever to interrogate the question of how Black, Indigenous and POC people in the U.S. and abroad can achieve self-determination of our communities. What do we need to achieve this? Who do we need to achieve this? How do we collectively reimagine a society defined by our own values and desires? In the context of The University of Texas at El Paso’s campus community we are especially interested in imagining the ways intentional, structural applications of Solidarity among historically marginalized communities can enable us can seize the possibilities of this unprecedented moment in modern society to reshape our world as we want it to be, not as we are forced to accept it.

To register/receive a zoom link for this event please email with the subject line “The Black School”.  

APRIL 2021


Collaborative Community Mural Making:  Artist talk featuring Michelle Angela Ortiz
Tuesday, April, 13th 2021

Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator/ filmmaker who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through community arts practices, painting, documentaries, and public art installations, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community.

For 20 years, Ortiz has designed and created over 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led art for social change public art projects in Costa Rica & Ecuador and as a Cultural Envoy through the US Embassy in Fiji, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba. 

Ortiz is a 2020 Art For Justice Fund Grantee, PEW Fellow, Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellow, and a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist National Fellow. In 2016, she received the Americans for the Arts' Public Art Year in Review Award which honors outstanding public art projects in the nation.
FACEBOOK: Michelle Angela Ortiz
INSTAGRAM: @michelleangelaortiz
TWITTER: @michelleaortiz1

To register/receive a zoom link for this event please email with the subject line “Collaborative Community".  

Community Engaged Practices in the Arts:
An artist talk and conversation with Sandra Paola López Ramírez and Ramon Cardenas
Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

In this final talk of the series, Rubin Center’s Community Engaged Practice Team will use the format of an artist talk to introduce themselves and then engage in a discussion with Rubin Center Director Kerry Doyle about the future of the Community Engaged Practices in the Arts initiative which will launch in the Fall of 2021.