From the Digital Archives: Frontera Artists, Mexican and Chicano Artists in El Paso, Texas (1997)

“Frontera Artists: Mexican and Chicano Artists in El Paso,” was a 19-part analog video program (530 minutes), co-produced from 1996-1997 by myself and Gabriel Gaytan, a producer at EPCC TV in El Paso, Texas.

The format featured interviews with El Paso Chicano and Mexican artists in the EPCC-TV studios with two cameras. Each program was about half an hour each. Additional footage of various artists’ work was recorded and later added to their interviews. I originally pitched the idea to EPCC-TV’s General Manager Danny Mata in 1996, after one of the late Robbie Farley Villalobos (then Managing Editor for the El Paso Herald Post) Lunch Group meetings in Downtown El Paso. Mata encouraged me to produce a proposal, which I later did and the rest is history. My intent was to interview El Paso’s Latino artistic history and have EPCC-TV air these programs directly into people’s living rooms. The series was an attempt to circumvent the process from which institutions decide whose artistic history is important and whose is not.

Artists featured in the series included: the late Gilbert “Magu” Sanchez Lujan; the late Sculptor Luis Jimenez Jr.; Paul Dean Daniggelis (talking on the art and life of Urbici Soler); the late Artist José Cisneros (interview in Spanish); Painter, Muralist and Art Educator Lupe Casillas-Lowenberg; Muralist and Artist Carlos Callejo; Pharmacist Teresa J. G. Chavez (talking about the work of her late father Francisco “Frisco” Gutierrez, artist-in-residence at the Plaza Theater); the late Painter and Muralist Mario Colin; Photo-mercenary Rigoberto de la Mora; Artist and Educator Gaspar Enriquez; Artist Carlos Florés; Artist and Muralist Mago Orona Gandara; Artist Judith C Garcia; Artist Gabriel Gaytan; Artist Ernesto P. Martinez; the late Artist Gloria Osuna Perez; and filmmaker Willie Varela.

The programs have ran continuously from 1997 to 2002 when I left El Paso to pursue a masters degree at SUNY Buffalo. The show took a hiatus for one year in 2000 or 2001, but returned in 2002. I can safely state that I was seen by El Paso/Cd. Juarez audiences interviewing artists over 600 times via the program Frontera Artists.

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