Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
Opened in 2004, the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas at El Paso presents exhibitions of contemporary art that encourage adventuresome thinking and dialogue. Under the direction of Kate Bonasinga, the center offers the geographically isolated region of El Paso a direct experience with contemporary art of international recognition and importance. The center serves as a learning site for students from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the surrounding community by creating opportunities for student involvement in the planning and execution of exhibitions, by engaging in interdisciplinary education about the exhibitions on display, and by providing a framework for critical thinking about contemporary art and its place in our world.
Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
Address: The University of Texas at El Paso
500 West University Avenue, El Paso, Texas, 79968
Tue, Wed, Fri,10 am – 5 pm.
Thurs 10 am – 7 pm.
Sat 12 noon – 5 pm.
Closed Sunday and Monday.
All events are free and open to the public.
How is the project operated? For-profit, nonprofit, artist-run, etc.
How long has it been in existence?
Since Fall 2004.
What was your motivation?
To serve the University and broader El Paso community through exhibitions of challenging and innovative visual art.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
The center has both a Director and an Associate Curator/Assistant Director
How are programs funded? (membership fees, public funding, sponsors, etc.)
The center is a University Art Museum, so it’s partially state funded, partially funded through government grants (federal and state), and through private foundation grants and gifts from individuals.
Who is responsible for the programming? (Curators, Directors, etc.)
The College of Liberal Arts faculty and the Rubin Center staff
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Approximately 10 exhibits for 3 months each (three galleries in the museum).
What kind of events are usually organized?
Contemporary visual art exhibitions, performances, and lectures.
How is your programming determined?
Through the director and a committee.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We maintain a three-part curatorial focus on:
1) exhibitions of fine art created from craft-based media
2) site-specific works that bring renowned artists to our border community to create one of a kind installations
3) art that responds to our geographic and political location at the epicenter of the Americas.
What’s working? What’s not working?
Working: Risky exhibitions that challenge our audience.
Not working: Safe shows that don’t.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
A big one. There is no other place like this for hundreds of miles.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Mark Bradford in June.
Continuing to grow and serve our audience.
Traveling more exhibitions and making a bigger impact nationally.
Images courtesy of The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas at El Paso.
Mike Bianco, West Texas: regional editor
Mike Bianco is an artist and curator currently based in Marfa, Texas. Bianco earned his MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2007, and has been the director and founder of such projects as Queens Nail’s Projects and The Waypoint. Currently he is directing MUD, a ceramics gallery and studio located in Marfa. _