Reportistas Printmaking Summer Workshop
Las Imaginistas kicked off the summer with our Reportistas Printmaking program! The Reportistas Youth Program is dedicated to investigating current street vending policy and creating accessible materials that inform about and celebrate the cultural tradition of street vending. Celeste DeLuna, a local arts educator and Imaginista, taught the workshop that brought very talented and empathetic young people together to discuss the multitude of issues impacting street vendors in our city. The youth Reportistas were very engaged with the issues happening in our community. Bi-national students quickly noted how strange it was to have street vending outlawed on one side of the bridge and ever present on the other side, especially given the Mexican cultural tradition of street vendors. Celeste led a discussion about the value of street vending beyond its economic impact as a microeconomy. Students observed that local street vendors create a sense of community by knowing locals personally and could extend credit, empathize with neighbors when they were having troubles, help spread community news, and encourage people to come outdoors and socialize. The youth talked about the idea of activating space, and about how “activating space” happens quite naturally in public parks and streets in Mexico. The students mused how the street vending restrictions are related to border militarization and class issues in the United States. Many of our student participants had no idea street vending was outlawed in Brownsville until they took this workshop.
The students were divided into two groups throughout the workshop. Half of the youth worked on vendor profiles of local business owners in the community, and the other half worked to design and illustrate a vendor guide describing how to navigate and work under the Texas cottage law, as well as how to become a vendor at local markets.
The former group interviewed Rito, a local Zapatero and our Taller de Permiso neighbor. Reportistas Brenda Duran and Carla Santillana created a linocut zine based on their interview with him. Rito’s story from Zacatecas to setting roots and providing an invaluable service to the Brownsville community is incredibly touching, and a story that is worth being told. Be sure to visit our website and social media pages in the coming weeks to see Rito’s zine, along with the guides for street vending and other vendor profiles.