FESTIBA 2018: Building Bridges Through the Arts

EDINBURG — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is kicking off the 2018 Festival of International Books and Arts this week with events focused on this year’s theme, “Transcending Borders: Building Bridges Through the Arts.”

“Through FESTIBA, we celebrate the arts as a humanizing force that has great potential to build bridges throughout the world between cultures and communities,” said Dahlia Guerra, associate vice president for public art. “This year’s FESTIBA theme focuses on how the arts can transcend any borders.”

The annual festival aims to promote literacy and arts throughout the entire Valley and will host more than 70 events at UTRGV’s two main campuses in Edinburg and Brownsville through Saturday. These events include talks and presentations by special guests, university faculty and students.

The Nu Flamenco show featuring dancer Niurca Marquez and award-winning guitarist Jose Luis de la Paz helped kick off the festival with a show Monday evening at the Performing Arts Complex on the Edinburg campus.

“When we found out about the topic that is being addressed, it seemed so pertinent and so in touch with the work that we were already doing,” Marquez said. “In part because the repertoire that you will see tonight, it is based on this exact idea of being able to transcend borders, being able to build bridges between cultures, between music styles. And the idea of what happens when artists of different arts get together and we are looking at the same thing, in this case flamenco, but each of us with our own lens and each of us with our own perspective.”

Some of the main events also include the FOLD Exhibition featuring contemporary works by 13 female artists, as well as a presentation by Chilean author Alejandro Zambra, who will be the special guest during the Big Read keynote panel on Thursday. Zambra’s book, “Ways of Going Home,” is featured in the community reading program, the Big Read, funded via a grant by the National Endowment of the Arts.

“The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles,” said Professor Steven Schneider, author of the NEA grant. “The event is free and open to the public, and we invite the entire community to the special opportunity to hear from an international literally luminaire from Latin America.”

Through the program, about 200 copies of Zambra’s book have been given to participants of the community book clubs, he said, as the university received a $14,000 matching grant to promote the event in the region.

For more information and a full schedule of the events, visit utrgv.edu/festiba or pick up a copy of the schedule on campus.