UTPB Art Exhibit Getting Negative Reviews Before it Opens

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA-- UTPB art students are going on the defensive.  They say they're promoting artistic creativity, awareness and diversity, but many don't agree.  They're critical of the replica of the U.S. border fence, that's scheduled to be displayed in an upcoming art show.

"We're not taking any particular stance.  It's a social awareness issue," Art Association President, Michelle Acosta, said.
Art students are putting the final touches to their display pieces for the 2nd Annual Art Association Show at UTPB.

Acosta says this is a non-themed show, but they do have some objectives they want to accomplish, "We're pretty much promoting creativity, involving the community, involving the university, everybody actually getting involved in what we're trying to do.  We're trying to show some of the young artists here at UTPB and gain support in the endeavor of promoting diversity in the artistic community."

20 art students will be displaying works in 7 different medias. Although it doesn't stand for one side or another, one piece is already getting attention, and it's not even finished yet.

"It is a representation of the border wall, not really promoting any violence or anything that people may think of as negative. We're just trying to get some kind of debate going, people thinking about the issues going on around the border," Acosta explained.

Senior art student, Luis Carlos Trejo says they aren't sparing any detail, from the materials it will be made from to the authenticity of the look, "It will, ultimately, look like a replica of a section of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.  We're making it out of corrugated tin and sheet metal.  It's going to have an authentic look.  It will be completely rusted and have some graffiti on it."

Once it's complete, the replica of the U.S. border wall will be 9 feet tall and 26 feet wide.  Art students say placing it at the entrance to the gallery, plays a key role in the whole exhibit.

"Since it's the biggest thing in here, we want it to really have an impact.  It's right here, at the entrance, so people can see it and feel it," Trejo said.

The negative feedback, so far, has been mild, inferring the art work celebrates illegal immigration.

With university support, Acosta and Trejo say they don't have any hidden agendas.  But as artists, it's their job to raise awareness on any issue that affects the general public.

According to Trejo, "Art reflects society.  This is something that is an important issue of our times.  So, it's important for the art community to have a voice in it."

The art exhibit opens Friday, July 23rd and runs through August 22nd in the Cardozier Gallery at UTPB.  Admission is free.