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Hispanic Heritage at Rockport Center for the Arts

'LuchaMary,' a sculpture by Amorette V. Garza (left), and 'Getting Acclimated,' a painting by Alejandro Macias, are among the pieces on exhibit at Rockport Center for the Arts during Hispanic Heritage Month. 'Sacred Americanx' runs from Sept. 11 through Oct.17. Courtesy images

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Rockport Center for the Arts will celebrate with a special two-artist exhibition titled “Sacred Americanx,” featuring the works of painter Alejandro Macias and sculptor Amorette V. Garza. The show runs Sept. 11­-Oct. 17.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is a celebration of the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors originated from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

The work of the two artists at the center reconceptualizes religious, political, and pop culture icons as a means of exploring Hispanic culture specific to South Texas, said Elena Rodriguez, curator of Exhibitions for Rockport Center of the Arts.

“These motifs define what it means to identify with more than one culture and how that affects the artists’ views of the current socio-political climate,” Rodriguez said.

Works from the "Sacred Americanx" exhibit will be viewable and for sale both in person and online at rockportartcenter.com. The event is free and open to the public and kicks off Saturday, Sept. 12, with a reception from 4-6 p.m. Attendees are limited to 70 at a time in the galleries because of COVID-19 restrictions. Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all attendees, including staff, volunteers, and guests.

A native of Brownsville, Macias incorporates the conflict and merging of two cultures in his paintings, which depict the struggles and risks of assimilation and an erasure of history, heritage, and culture. Macias draws inspiration from Chicanx activists and two-dimensional artists whose works address issues of identity, repression, civil rights, immigration, and cultural misconceptions. Some of Macias’ recent projects portray topics that reflect his own identity as a Mexican-American and also a wider range of borderland, Latinx, and contemporary societal issues.

Macias earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Brownsville and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2-D studio art from the University of Texas-Pan American. From 2013 to 2019, he served as a lecturer in 2-D at UT-Brownsville and UT-Rio Grande Valley before moving to Tucson in 2019, where he now works as assistant professor at the University of Arizona School of Art.

His works exhibit nationally and internationally, including forthcoming exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, K-Space Contemporary in Corpus Christi, and the Tucson Museum of Art. Since 2016, he has received numerous awards and recognitions, including notable residencies at The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont; Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France; The Studios at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusets; and the Wassaic Project in Wassaic, New York (2021).

A sculptor, Garcia’s works are inspired by personal experiences and memories, including her cultural and religious heritage. Garza uses Catholic imagery and iconography to recreate sculptures from found objects.

Garza uses traditional materials, such as wood and steel, alongside temporal elements, such as paper, candy, and gum, to reimagine existing objects into new concepts.

"Found" objects are a vital part of her work, not only as a means of environmental conservation but also to show how everyone’s stories overlap and connect through the mixing of cultures, religious symbolism, and secular imagery.

The theme of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) influences her recent body of work, which includes found object figurines of people and animals altered with additional elements. Their drawn or painted skeletons represent the physical similarities underneath, which die away, versus the spirit that lives on.

Garza’s work can be found in the collections of Cheech Marin, Michael Manjarris, Paulette and Max Kluge, and The Art Museum of South Texas.

Garza earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She works full time as a professor of art at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi.

Rockport Center for the Arts is located in downtown Rockport at Estelle Stair Gallery, 406 S. Austin St. Hours of operation are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, visit rockportartcenter.com. Follow the center on Facebook or call 361-729-5519 for more information.

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