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The spring ArtReach Series: Art and Social Change featured lectures by contemporary thinkers with expertise in critical social and political issues that affect our community. The series was a complement to the exhibition Citizen Culture: Artists and Architects Shape Policy, which took a look at 7 case studies of projects in the Americas that reveal the potential of art to address critical contemporary issues, such as prison reform, immigration, environmental policy, citizen participation and socially responsible urban development. All lectures took place at the Rubin Center Auditorium.

Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6-7pm
Difficult Dialogue: The Black Community, Ferguson and The New Jim Crow
Lecturer: Dr. Sandra Braham
This lecture focused on the status of the African American Male in the United States, using as a context the recent shootings of Mike Brown in Ferguson, the school to prison pipeline and the rise of private prisons as a factor in making the mass incarceration of Black men a profitable venture. These issues are all connected to the implications of injustice with regard to race, gender and socio-economic status and they relate to both Suzanne Lacy’s work No Blood/No Foul and Laurie Jo Reynold’s work Tamms Year Ten project, both of which are exhibited in Citizen Culture: Artists and Architects Shape Policy. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 6-7pm
Hip Hop Re:Education - Ciphering a Global Space of Possibility
Lecturer: Fabian "Farbeon" Saucedo, Founding Director, Hip Hop Re:Education Project
Farbeon is a community-artist, educator and agent-of-change, originally from El Paso, Texas but now based in New York City. With 15+ years in education, he works to develop pedagogy that moves beyond high-stakes testing and bridges the gap between the arts, academics and social youth development. Farbeon discussed his work with the Hip Hop Re: Education Project, a NYC-based youth-arts organization that uses Hip Hop culture to empower young people to explore and express their unique experiences, the critical challenges faced and the solutions necessary to enact change in their communities. This lecture was organized to complement discussions related to Suzanne Lacy’s work No Blood/No Foul, a part of The Oakland Projects, a 10-year series of installations, performances and political activism involving youth.

Wed, March 18, 2015, 6-7pm
Returning the Wolf To Texas
Lecturer: Rick LoBello, Sierra Club
In the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, there exists a wild predator that we all know as a symbol of wilderness, the gray wolf or Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). Rick LoBello, Sierra Club ExCom member and El Paso Zoo Education Curator since 2002, has been active in wolf restoration efforts in Texas during the 1990s when environmental groups helped to gain public support for the return of wolves to the Southwest at the Apache National Forest of eastern Arizona. This year, the Sierra Club is launching a new “Return of the Wolf to Texas Education Initiative" to help get wolf restoration back on the conservation radar screen in Texas. This lecture addressed environmental concerns in our community, and drew links to Ala Plástica, an art and environment organization working on creating connections of ecological, social and artistic engagement. Their work in Citizen Culture is about overseeing the cleanup of the 1999 oil spill in the Rio de la Plata estuary, the largest freshwater spill in history.

Wed, March 25, 2015, 6-7:30pm
Obama’s Immigration Reform Plan
Lecturer: Carlos Spector, Immigration Attorney
This lecture discussed Obama’s Immigration Reform Plan, from the perspective of a local, renowned immigration lawyer, Carlos Spector, who will discuss the implications of the reform plan not only in a theoretical sense but also how it directly applies in practice to our community. This timely lecture had connections to Tania Bruguera’s performance piece and political movement. The Francis Effect that engaged Citizen Cultureattendees and local immigration advocates in a large-scale letter writing campaign, urging Pope Francis to grant Vatican citizenship and diplomatic rights to undocumented immigrants worldwide.

Thursday, April 9, 2014, 6-7 pm
Sadows to Light: Experiencing Reentry
Lecturer: Juan Ferret, Executive Director of the Philosophic Systems Institute.
This lecture presented a philosophical examination and collaborative artistic exploration on the experience of reentry into the community by recently released felons from the Federal Reentry Sendero program. It interrogated how philosophy and art can work systematically to enhance an individual and a community's potential to return ex-offenders to their lives and families after serving time. This lecture highlighted the importance of prison reform programs that consider the humanity of an individual, and actively engaged us to consider ways to reduce recidivism. It provides a local connection to Laurie Jo Reynold’s Tamms Year Ten project, included in the Citizen Culture exhibition, a 10-year long campaign for humane reforms for the notorious super-max prison in Illinois.


08/26/2014 Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Alejandro Almanza Pereda has developed an international reputation for the creation of large-scale artworks that often appear to defy the laws of physics. He uses sculptural and architectural techniques to create objects and installations that force the viewer to confront precarious situations, playing upon our reactions to danger and uncertainty.


09/18/2014 Gaspar Enriquez Airbrushing Studio Workshop
Gaspar Enriquez offered a studio workshop on the technique of airbrushing. Enriquez was born and raised in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio Neighborhood, as were many of the subjects reflected in his work. Enriquez has been included in numerous exhibitions, including the nationally touring CARA-Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985 and Chicano Visions, which was curated from Cheech Marin’s private collection. In describing one of his works, Enriquez said, “one is born a Mexican-American, but one chooses to be a Chicano,” which reflects a lifestyle that will continue to endure and reflect generations to come.


09/25/2014 Rachelle Theiwes Something Gleams: A Conversation with The Artist
Rachelle Thiewes is an internationally renowned metalsmith and jewelry artist who celebrates her work in the context of the beautiful desert landscape that has informed her de­cades-long study of light, movement, order and chaos. In this gallery talk, Thiewes walked the viewers through her exhibition, Something Gleams, and discussed her process in regard to her metalsmithing practices, showing the viewers the models, metals and the tools that inspire the pieces exhibited. In May of 2014, Thiewes completed 37 years of teaching in the UTEP Department of Art, where she has provided both artistic and educational leadership to a generation of artists while becoming an international leader in the field of metalsmithing. Thiewes’ art is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Na­tional Museums of Scotland, Victoria & Albert Muse­um, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Museum of Arts & Design, among others.


10/14/2014 Trawick Bouscaren
Tra Bouscaren is a post-disciplinary artist, university lecturer, and freelance curator. Bouscaren’s studio is a mixed-media recycling factory where he creates and then destroys physical and digital artifacts down into abstracted fragments, only then to re-mix those remains into the next generation of artworks. This progressive, anti-precious, and auto-cannibalistic approach builds his own artistic history back into the found material with which he works towards a post-dialectical end-game. Featured in more than 60 exhibitions in Europe and America, his work has been shown at venues including the Lincoln Center in New York, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia,, Hallwalls in Buffalo, The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, the Maud Piquion & Partner Galleries in Berlin and Weimar, Victor I Fils Gallery in Madrid, and the Centre Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. Bouscaren is currently the Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Art at the University of Texas, El Paso.


10/23/2014 Fausto Fernandez on Risks, Rewards and the Artist’s Integrity
El Paso native Fausto Fernandez is a mixed media collage artist living and working in Los Angeles, California, whose works include a variety of paintings, public art, and community engagement projects, through which he explores the relationship of nature and technology as they intersect with human behavior. Fernandez’s work has been selected for exhibitions at the Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, California; McNay Museum of Art in San Antonio; Akron Museum in Ohio; Mesa Contemporary Arts at Arizona’s Mesa Arts Center; Tempe Center for the Arts in Arizona; Smithsonian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York; and Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Public art works produced by Fausto Fernandez include the production site-specific artwork at the Scottsdale waterfront in Arizona; the terrazzo floor design at the Sky Train Station in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport; and a community arts project in San Pedro at the Center for the Main Gallery.Fausto Fernandez is currently the artist-in-residence at the Border Art Residency in La Union, New Mexico.
11/11/2014 Roya Mansourkhani
Roya Mansoukhani was born and raised in Iran. In 1979, when Mansoukhani was 12 years old, the Iranian Revolution began. Mansourkhani’s generation witnessed many tragic changes toward dictatorship, endured war against Iraq, and came to understand lack of freedom and many laws created against women. Due to these circumstances, her family immigrated to U.S in 2003. Finding herself myself in a different world with a lot of opportunities and freedom, she returned to school and earned my Master of Arts degree in painting from New Mexico State University in 2013, while also maintaining a part-time lecturer position at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her first paintings and drawings series were a collection of the beauty of her land, Iran. Then, she began to turn her attention to injustice, discrimination, and inequality against Iranians, especially Iranian women under control of Islamism, in Iran as well as other Islamist countires. Her work is intimately linked to her identity as a Muslim woman who has lived in Iran and is living in the United States now. Mansourkhani is currently the Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Art at the University of Texas, El Paso. 


During the month of September 2013  the Rubin Center took a closer look at the art scene in our region. Three different panels of artists and arts professionals- from El Paso, Marfa and Juarez- presented a recent history of contemporary art in their respective cities, highlighting innovative practices and emerging opportunities for contemporary artists and their collaborators. These informal conversations were a unique opportunity to take a look at how contemporary artists are living and working in these three very different contexts. 

09/04/2013 EL PASO

Ben Fyffe, City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs
Carlo Mendo, Loft Light Studio
Cathryn Vandenbrink, Artspace

09/11/2013 MARFA

Tim Johnson, Marfa Book Company and Gallery
Erin Kimmel, Ballroom Marfa/Michael Strogoff
Nicolas Miller, Chinati Foundation/Michael Strogoff
Caitlin Murray, Judd Foundation

09/18/2013 JUAREZ

Victoria Martinez Aguirre, Gun Gallery
Abril Castro, Curator, Espacios Comunes
Alejandro Morales, Independent Artist
Gustavo Ruiz, Collectivo Punta de Lanza


01/31/2013 The Story of Creative Kids: Empowering Youth Through Art
Stephen Ingle and Andrea Gates-Ingle, Co-founders of Creative Kids, El Paso
Stephen Ingle and Andre Gates-Ingle shared what it takes to launch and grow a successful non-profit, and what they have learned about making art with children from diverse backgrounds. They described ongoing programs such as ABLE (Art Brokers' Learning Experiences), which helps at-risk youth residing in public housing, Project AIM (Arts in Motion), which target children battling cancer, and project MAP (Making the Arts Possible), which is intended for children with disabilities.

02/28/2013 The Healing Power of Art: The Theory and Practice of Contemporary Art Therapy
Karina Diaz, Art Therapist Private Practice, New York City
Karina Diaz explained how she chose this particular field and share some of her experiences using art-based therapies to counsel a variety of clients in both New York and her native Juarez. Since relocating to the east coast, Diaz has led psychotherapy sessions at institutions as Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, the Coalition for Hispanic Services in Brooklyn, and Sanctuary for Families at the Family Justice Center in Queens. Her talk highlighted the role of art in confronting, transforming and healing violence and emotional pain.

03/07/2013 Shedding Light on the Brain: LED Technology in Art and Science
Douglas Steel, Founder and Creative Director iE, El Paso
Douglass Steel discussed an artistic approach to the study of the human brain and described new therapeutic treatments that uses LEDs to manipulate and individual's sensory input about his/her environment. Steel's lecture also an LED presentation that illustrated how visual artists might use these technologies.

04/18/13 The Duet: A Collaborative Approach to Artistic Production
Szu-Han Ho, Assistant Professor of Art and Ecology, University of New Mexico, Department of Art and Art History, Albuquerque
Szu-Han Ho discussed the duet as a form of creative expression for visual artists. In the past, she has partnered with artists and musicians such as Samantha Topol, Ellen McSweeney, Andres Duhau, Emiliano Gonzalez de Leon, Elias Herrera Zacarias, Jesus Lemo, and Steffani Jemison, among others. During her talk, she presented some recent works and emphasized the importance of exchange in generating new opportinities for artistic production.

04/25/2013 Machine Project Presents!
Mark Allen, Founder and Excecutive Director, Machine Project, Los Angeles
Operas for dogs, vacation for plants and concerts for dentists are a few of the recent performances produced by Machine Project, an experimental art space and curatorial venture in Los Angeles. Machine Project's founder Mark Allen discussed this mysterious organization's history, fantastic events, and myriad collaborators.