TEXAS FOLKLIFE PRESENTS “TAQUERÍAS OF SOUTHMOST” EXHIBIT
Opening on , will Feature Presentations by Photographer Chuy Benitez and Mando Rayo, co-author of Tacos of Texas and Free Tacos!
Austin, Texas – July 26, 2016 – Texas Folklife is pleased to announce a new gallery exhibit with photographs of the Southmost area in Brownsville, Texas, by internationally renowned photographer Chuy Benitez.
Southmost is home to almost a third of Brownsville’s 175,000 residents. Geographically it is located on the southernmost populated tip of Texas along the banks of the Rio Grande and bounded by the infamous border wall. It is a tight-knit community of immigrant families whose cultural heritage is expressed daily in their traditions, celebrations, music, gardening, religion, lifestyle and food. Economically, historically, and culturally it is the most underserved area of the city, but the local Mexican food restaurant industry is booming. More than 20 locally owned taquerías have established within a three-mile radius of Southmost Road, the main artery of the neighborhood. Locally it is known as “Taco Boulevard.” The “Taquerías of Southmost” photography exhibit provides an entrance into a culturally rich and otherwise closed and guarded population.
In 2012, Texas Folklife and the Brownsville Historical Association partnered together on “Taquerías of Southmost,” a research, documentation, exhibit, outreach and promotion project. Texas Folklife conducted fieldwork in the Southmost community as part of its National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)-funded statewide survey of food traditions. The goals of the project were to create a start-up cultural program to provide services to an underserved community and to bring significant promotion to a neighborhood with rich cultural and culinary offerings.
The exhibit opening on , from is free and open to the public. It will feature a talk by exhibit photographer Chuy Benitez and a presentation by Mando Rayo, co-author of The Tacos of Texas, to be published by the University of Texas Press in September 2016. In addition, a limited number of free tacos will be provided courtesy of some of Austin's finest Rio Grande Valley inspired taquerías.
“Taquerías of Southmost” is a collaboration between Texas Folklife and the Brownsville Historical Association with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts which believes a great nation deserves great art, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Humanities Texas. Additional support provided by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Mando Rayo is an author, taco journalist and CEO & Engagement Strategist at Mando Rayo + Collective, a multicultural digital agency based in Austin. Rayo is the co-author of the book, Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day and the upcoming book, The Tacos of Texas, to be published by the University of Texas Press in September 2016. Rayo's work has been featured in The New York Times, Bon Appetite, NPR, Texas Standard, Texas Monthly and The Food Network.
About Texas Folklife
Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. For over 30 years, Texas Folklife has honored the cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.