Ali Garza of Ali Art & Co. is setting up a display of what she calls “kinetic art” as the first group of onlookers and possible customers stroll over to take a look during Harlingen Art Night.
“Anything we can do to get our name out there is good,” said the Brownsville resident. “Events like one this allow us to express what we have to offer.”
The last Friday of every month is Art Night in downtown Harlingen, complete with live music. The monthly event is an offshoot of the committee that also runs the city’s popular Jackson Street Market Days.
“We’ve tried to figure out ways to contribute in any way we can,” said Nancy Russell, a downtown committee leader. “We’ve reached a point in doing events for the last six to seven years where we can have something like art night that gives a spotlight to artists and musicians.”
The art displays were set up on First Street and Jackson at the last art night of 2019 on Dec. 27. Nearby, across from the Baxter Building, lights were added to a stage in preparation of live music. Both vendors and artisans were setting up their displays on First Street as customers made their way to Carlito’s Wine House and Girl Of All Trades coffee and tea shop, which are located a block apart on Jackson Street.
“What we’ve been doing has evolved naturally,” said Rachel Corsi, a downtown committee member. “There’s ebbs and flows in every community. When you have events like art night it brings people downtown to see what’s happening here.”
Russell refers to Carlito’s and Girl Of All Trades. He says these two downtown anchors – among others – are bringing people back to downtown. Jackson Street alone features an interesting mix of eateries, antique shops and art galleries. They complement the offices for lawyers and government entities. The monthly art night is a good fit to go with downtown Harlingen’s recent evolution.
“We’ve got people from all sections of the community here,” Russell said during the late December art night. “It’s good for downtown, and besides that, you just get to see the creativity the artists have.”
Laurie Ruiz is one of those vendors with her handcrafted jewelry. She was located across First Street from Garza’s display and said the art night is an event she looks forward to attending.
“It’s always a nice atmosphere and a pleasant experience to come over,” said Ruiz, who lives in Edinburg and is with Pattinos Handcrafted Jewelry. “They get enough people to make it worthwhile to be here.”
At the Ali Art display, Garza is explaining her mixed art paintings of Frida Kahlo and Selena to a possible customer as the music down the street starts up.
“Those of us who do this, (art), are really passionate about it, so to have an outlet like this one is really great,” she said.