BY Andrea Torres | THE RIDER
As the sun set on Aug. 27, artists and vendors placed their works and goods on tables and people of all ages started to gather on East Adams Street in Brownsville for the Downtown Walkabout.
It was the third walkabout, which is hosted by the Downtown Brownsville Collaborators (DBC).
“The walkabout is about exposing and sharing what artists, local businesses and nonprofits have to offer to the community,” said Cianna Perez, co-founder of DBC. “It’s a great way to kind of get together and enjoy each other and get to know who you are living with.”
The organization is composed of more than 50 artists, business owners and entrepreneurs who aim to support the arts and history of downtown Brownsville, bring pride and engage the community in activities, she said.
Walkabouts, which take place on the third Saturday of each month, are centered on East Adams Street, between 11th and 13th streets. It was first hosted on June 10.
Perez said about 150 people came throughout the night.
“Since it started I think this has been a tremendous outcome,” said Frank Morales, co-founder of DBC. “I know it is a lot of effort from the whole community and we’re expecting to grow even more. … We’re looking at a growth of maybe around 300 or 400 people that are engaged.”
Danica Peña, an essential oil wellness advocate, handed out samples as well as information brochures on their use as an alternate form of health care.
“People in Brownsville are used to taking medications and pills and it’s good to try to different ways,” Peña said. “All the oils have different properties; they have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal or anti-inflammatory.”
Some attendees visited the downtown restaurants and venues, including Hueso de Fraile, located at 837 E. Elizabeth St.
Amber Silverman, who helps run El Hueso de Fraile, said the coffeehouse has seen a increase in business during the walkabouts.
“Definitely, people start coming because, you know, the walkabout is about promoting downtown growth,” Silverman said. “We’re always here. This place is all about culture, it invites everybody, and this place promotes a wonderful environment for everybody.”
She described El Hueso de Fraile as a “cultural preservation center” where live music plays every night and local artists sell art.
Other places people can visit during the walkabouts are Galeria 409, located at 409 E. 13th St., and Kraken Lounge, located at 1123 E. Adams, Suite C.
The next walkabout is set for Oct. 22 and will be in collaboration with the Brownsville International Film Festival (BIFF), which will also be free to the public.
BIFF aims to promote the growth and exposure of independent films and arts in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, while increasing awareness of its history and culture, according to the festival’s website, www.bifftx.com.
“Our plan is we’re going to be screening films in at least three venues downtown,” said Catheline Froelich, a BIFF co-director. “Locationwise, they are physically a few blocks from each other. … We are planning on actually putting [the festival] directly in line so you can actually walk from one venue, then walk through the art walkabout, then directly to another venue.”
The venues are Hueso de Fraile, Kraken Lounge and the Half Moon Saloon, located at 1101 E. Adams St.
Documentaries, narratives and film trailers can be submitted through withoutabox.com/BIFFTX or www.filmfreeway.com/festival/BIFFTX. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 2 and directors will be notified of acceptance by Oct. 17.
For more information on the festival, visit www.bifftx.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the Downtown Brownsville Collaborators, email the group at DBC4help@gmail.com.