A multiple-day community arts festival and fundraiser event will take place this weekend in McAllen, Brownsville and Alton. The “Encuentro en la Frontera” is the first event of its kind and organizers hope to manifest border resistance by opening spaces for collaboration,education and engagement among artists and activists.

“We, as a community, we really need to take advantage and come to support one another and uplift one another,” Damariz Damken, program director at Encuentro en la Frontera, said. “I think it’s important because of what we’ve seen throughout the past few months and throughout the years and what our communities really need is a space where we feel like we can come together and feel supported … now more than ever after the El Paso attack.”

The event hopes to facilitate safe spaces to incubate creativity, activism and culture shifting by developing solidarity-resource networks among more than 30 artists, organizations and cultural centers across the borderlands of the Rio Grande Valley.

The event will have a fundraiser for the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen and interactive workshops, poetry night, visual arts and music, among many other activities.

“A lot of the times what happens with the media that comes to report stories that happen here in the Valley, they don’t incorporate our voices as a community,”

Damken said. “We have to make sure that we are the ones telling our stories and that we show that there is resilience here and there is power and there is creativity and talent.”

The event kicked off Friday at the Grain to Glass in McAllen and will continue at 4 p.m. today at the Revival of Cultural Arts at Carlotta K. Petrina in Brownsville.

The third day will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at Pulga los Portales in Alton. For more information, visit

“This event is for the purpose of uplifting education so we are going to be having all sorts of activities,” Damken said. “The panel will open dialogue about activism, poetry night, music, visual arts, interactive workshops, so people from the community can come and do hands-on learning about different ways of creative expression.”