By empowering teens through creative writing, higher education, and creative arts, the Barrio Writers are reinstating the term “Barrio” to its original meaning – community – and embracing it. This writing community began with small workshops at El Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana, California and have now evolved into week-long, intensive programs on university campuses across America. At the end of the week, the Barrio Writers transform their stereotypes into a place of positivity and become empowered in their own words. Having also published several summers of writing into anthologies, they collaborate to promote diversity, cultivate creative writing, and offer a new voice in literature. Get information about events in Central Texas at barriowriters.org
Watch full performances from students who participated in the Austin program this summer.
As a painfully shy child, Allyson Garo embraced theater and costuming to free her inner extrovert. Today, as the owner of local boutique Coco Coquette, Garo brings maximalist glamour to the masses. Showcasing a treasure trove of wigs and accessories, this splendid little shop helps Austinites find their inner diva.
Wig parties bring friends together to explore the art of incognito and inspire even the introverted to be flamboyant fashionistas. Garo shows how easy it can be to transform one’s self into a work of art at Coco Coquette Austin’s masquerade market.
Having survived under a totalitarian regime, Cuban hip-hop duo Krudas Cubensi refuses to compromise. Lyrically, nothing is off limits as they spit fiery lines about politics and sexuality with a frankness and openness that is seldom seen. With a persistent Afro-Cuban rhythm, Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes use their art as a weapon “to fight against oppression, for justice, for balance, for our rights, to celebrate the life.” Now based out of Austin, Texas, Krudas Cubensi continues their fight for social justice through their incendiary, original hip-hop.
This week’s Arts in Context Shorts features Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s eerie photographs that possess a “wildly strange” nature. Often employing masks, dolls and sometimes his own children set against abandoned buildings and other eerie backdrops, Meatyard’s work differed from the documentary, photo-journalism approach that defined the mainstream definition of the photographer in the 1950s. His photographs blur (often quite literally) the distinctions between literature and visual art, encouraging viewers to explore the role of fiction in the photographic images and their representation of reality.
This week’s Arts in Context Shorts features the work of artist Denise Prince. Across the disciplines of film, photography, painting and object making, Prince’s work employs the commercial language of advertising to make explicit what is real or deftly, its counterpoint, fantasy. Prince’s portrait on cancer survivor and apparel designer Gail Chovan is supplemented by wit and made clear the pleasure with which she constructs narratives and then disrupts them. Through the artistic process, Prince has learned to live better by uncovering the thing we are not.
This week’s Art In Context Shorts focuses on a group exploring the limits of film. Experimental Response Cinema showcases those films that explore the untapped possibilities of cinema. By unearthing experimental films hidden in archives and publicizing new experimental works, the local organization offers viewers the chance to marvel together as images merge, pop, and glide across the silver screen. Highlighting the works of filmmakers like Roger Beebe, whose films combine multiple projectors and innovative cinematography, Experimental Response Cinema is an invaluable contributor and cultivator of Austin’s robust film scene. Creating installations that are half film and half art to audiences eager to experience a unique and imaginative side of cinema.
This week’s Arts In Context Shorts focuses on a monthly arts event for families. Every second Saturday of the month, The Contemporary Austin hosts family art-making activities at Laguna Gloria. Second Saturdays is a great way to make contemporary art accessible to families as it provides the opportunity to spend a relaxing day in a beautiful sculpture garden and learn about how nature influences art. Canopy Tower, a sculpture crafted specifically for Laguna Gloria, provided the inspiration for the table-top biospheres families gathered to create here.
At Austin Speed Shop, rusty frames and stock vehicles are canvases for a unique group of artists. Through the collaborative vision and skill of the Austin Speed Shop crew, these canvases are painstakingly transformed into interactive works of art. Founded in 2005 by John Joyoprayitno (a biotech engineer), Dr. Dan Peterson (a neurosurgeon), and Cory Moore (a music manager), Austin Speed Shop is dedicated to restoring custom American cars and trucks from the 1920s through the early 1960s. In order to bring the beauty of the hot rod tradition of the past to the present day, each stock vehicle is completely dismantled and then fully restored. The final result is a work of automotive art that has been hand built with custom metal work, parts, paint, and interiors.
If you want to see some of Austin Speed Shop’s work on display, stop by the 14th Annual Lonestar Round Up, taking place April 17th-18th at the Travis County Expo Center. The Speed Shop will be hosting an open house at their location (3507 Chapman Ln) the night of April 17th from 6-10 pm, followed by a party for registered Round Up attendees the next evening from 7pm till midnight. Tickets are $15 for the two-day event and free fro children under 12.
This week Arts In Context Shorts show how medical illustrations can make beautiful art. Brazilian-born cardiologist Carlos Machado first discovered Frank Netter’s celebrated medical illustrations as a six-year-old boy. Over the course of his life and even throughout his time in medical school, Machado has worked to hone his talent for illustration while embracing hyperrealism. Eventually, he was chosen to become the successor to Dr. Netter and worked as a valuable contributor to “The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations.”
This week, Arts In Context Shorts presents the art of thinking fast. Founded as a platform for hip-hop artists, the Austin Mic Exchange works tirelessly to create a community of aspiring and independent emcees. Their weekly open mic nights are a haven for artists seeking stage time, a forum for the city’s best emcees to connect with their peers, and an invaluable opportunity to hone their craft. Freestylers electrify the crowd as they perform their highwire act – improvising frenetically and letting the flow take over them. Part showcase, part community event, and all love, these open mics cultivate the small but fiercely active hip-hop community in Austin.