Uncovered Spaces



Uncovered Spaces presents a groundbreaking exhibition with celebrated contemporary artists from around the world coming together to share their creativity at the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen. This exhibition featuring women and LGBTQIA+ artists creates a place for artists and audiences in our community to engage with contemporary art, appreciate aesthetics in various media such as sculpture, photography, video art, and painting, and examine our social expectations and identity. The exhibition is open through July 10 at the IMAS in McAllen, and visiting the show is free to all museum members. Artists from New York, Nashville, and Miami, and from countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia, represent the many places of art production in the cultural diversity of this show, organized by Dr. Katherine Moore McAllen and Raheleh Filsoofi.

The participating artists of Uncovered Spaces include Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (multimedia artist and the Cornelius Vanderbilt chair of Fine Arts, Vanderbilt University), Wendy Red Star (multimedia artist raised on the Apsáalooke [Crow] reservation), Margarita Cabrera (multimedia artist and assistant professor, Arizona State University) Erika Diamond (textile artist and director of Galleries Chautauqua Institution, New York), Vesna Pavlovic (photographer and professor, Vanderbilt University), Zac Thompson (artist, performer, and photographer, Brooklyn, New York), Natalia Arbelaez (multimedia artist and visiting artist, The American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California), Jana Harper (performance artist and professor, Vanderbilt University), Maria Fernando Barrero (mixed media artist, Monterrey, México), Melissa Potter (multidisciplinary artist and professor, Columbia College, Chicago), Daisy Patton (mixed media artist, Western Massachusetts), Lauren Sandler (ceramicist, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and Linda Behar (artist and educator, Parkland, Florida) with scholarly contributions by ebecca VanDiver (art historian and professor, Vanderbilt University).

The Genesis of the Exhibition

Uncovered Spaces began with leadership of the Center for Latin American Arts (CLAA) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), where director McAllen collaborated with her friend and colleague Filsoofi from Vanderbilt University to create this exhibition. Together they have brought artists, educators, and students to the museum to create a unique and cutting-edge show at the IMAS in South Texas. This exhibition creates a stronger community of artists in the Rio Grande Valley with national and international networks of exchange between artists in the U.S. and Latin America and institutions such as Vanderbilt University.

“Valuing the arts is crucial for our community to enjoy creative expression, innovation, and appreciate the beauty of our visual culture,” McAllen said. “By celebrating the diversity of our artists’ voices, we can make a positive impact in our community to uncover spaces and begin new dialogues through art.”

Filsoofi shared her thoughts about the importance of this exhibition as a former resident of this community and an immigrant herself.

“The Rio Grande Valley has the potential to become a hub for intellectual, creative, and cultural exchange in the northern and southern hemispheres [in its location close to Latin America],” she said. “So many artists and scholars around the world can also benefit. As an artist and educator who lived and worked in this area for over four years. I have seen the impact of this place on my own practice. My story as an immigrant coalesced with the stories of many people here and gave me a pivotal perspective about the political landscape of this country.”

Celebrating UTRGV Alumni Success at Uncovered Spaces

Three generations of student-educator relationships and UTRGV alumni support have also made Uncovered Spaces a successful arts-based community project. Former UTRGV students Cristina Correa and Fatima Lai, who are now fine arts instructors and leaders in the public school system, are leading high school students across the upper and lower Rio Grande Valley to participate in the concurrent IMAS student art exhibition titled “Student Crossroads: Contemplating Uncovered Spaces” opening May 19 and running through July 10 sponsored by H-E-B and the Center for Latin American Arts at UTRGV. Correa is an art instructor and AP leader at IDEA College Preparatory San Juan, and Lai is an instructor at Rivera Early College High School in the Brownsville Independent School District. Working with McAllen, Correa, and Lai’s leadership creates opportunities for past, current, and future students to create, appreciate, and learn about art together. Uncovered Spaces functions to realize the vision of the CLAA at UTRGV and the IMAS to connect multiple generations of art students and inspire them to succeed and connect with their creativity through the power of art in the museum space.

This exhibition would not have been possible without the efforts of the Center for Latin American Arts artists and graphic designers team of Carlos Limas and Angela V. Scardigno, UTRGV alumni and talented contemporary artists and graphic designers for the CLAA. Also, Jessica Treviño, in the Dean of the College of Fine Arts Office, and student employees at UTRGV, contributed important support to make this exhibition possible. These students and graduate alumni at UTRGV include Daniel Ymbong and Carol López, and more recently, Raja Ayoubi, Kathy Bussert-Webb, Ricky Sullivan, and Joe Lopez. The Center for Latin American Arts also sends its thanks to the generous financial support of nonprofit institutions who have given winning grants to the CLAA, including the Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation, the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, H-E-B, the Brown Foundation, and the Hollyfield Foundation. The IMAS also thanks the Texas Commission for the Arts for their support of the IMAS and this exhibition.

Visit the IMAS and the UTRGV CLAA website to learn more about the exhibition: utrgv.edu/claa and theimasonline.org/uncovered-spaces/.

Follow the CLAA on Instagram: @claa.utrgv and Facebook: facebook.com/UTRGVCLAA and IMAS social media: @imasmuseum and facebook.com/imasmcallen.

Katherine McAllen