Every last Friday of the month, the streets of downtown Harlingen are transformed into an arts district.
Art pieces created by HCISD educators lined the walls of an antique hotel lobby. Allison Cole, Mario Godinez, Mario Leal, and Oneida Trevino exhibited their work at Comminos Studio on September 24.
The Comminos Studio, the art studio of Alexander Comminos and his wife Rachel Comminos is located within a historic building that was once known as the Plaza Hotel.
“I wanted to make sure that they all had an opportunity, if they wanted it, to exhibit with one another and basically just open the lines of communication among art teachers,” Gutierrez Middle School of Arts and Sciences art teacher Alexander Comminos said. “They make amazing work, but they have never really been given an opportunity to come together and really show what they do.”
Comminos has been in his current studio since 2014 after relocating from San Antonio.
“I am thankful to Mr. Comminos for opening up his studio,” Cano Freshman Academy art teacher Oneida Trevino said. “It’s really exciting because we always tell our students why they should do certain things, but they never get to see us in action. I invited my students, and I know the others invited their students too. That way, they can actually see what their teachers do. Teachers don’t just give classwork. They actually do what they teach.”
Trevino’s inspiration to create art comes from nature and people. By participating in this exhibit, she hopes to lead by example and encourage her students to participate in more art competitions.
“I’ve done some commission work and I’ve done some murals, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done an exhibit or show,” Trevino said. “For my students, I try to push them every time there is some type of competition or event, and so now I’ll get to show them that I got to participate, so now it shouldn’t be so scary for them. We are happy that we are able to do this, especially for our students so that they can connect with the rest of the Harlingen area.”
Allison Cole, the art teacher at Vernon Middle School World Languages Academy, gains her inspiration from a personal childhood experience.
“When I was twelve, I actually went flying through the air in a tornado,” Cole said.
She even named her business Tornado Alley Art and she uses tornados in some of her art pieces.
“I’m a potter and the centrifugal force of the pottery wheel is very reminiscent of the centrifugal force of tornados,” Cole said. “So, it kind of makes sense. All through college, I was told by my professors that I should use tornados in my art, and I never did up until the last year and a half. I feel as an art educator and a teacher that it’s important that we keep practicing our own art and so I am excited to show.”
Through this educator art exhibit, HCISD art teachers had a chance to network and expand opportunities for students.
“This opens up better opportunities for the kids,” Comminos said. “If we all know of different shows, and we are all in communication, then it’s better for our students. I think the big important thing to remember, especially for our kids, is that you can make a living from art. You can have a career in it, so it’s really up to you. If you really love it and want to do it, you actually can.”