Border Arts Collective

Border Arts Collective

Border Arts Collective bridges border artists with local community arts organizations to collaborate on artistic storytelling projects highlighting the experiences of marginalized and unheard voices of the Arizona-Sonora border, including binational Latinx, Indigenous, and Black communities. Border Arts Collective expands community-led arts programs facilitating cross-regional dialogue and sharing stories through art. 

I-19 Arts Collective

In partnership with faculty from the UArizona School of Art, the Museo de Arte in Nogales, Sonora, and Galeria Mitotera, a Tucson-based art gallery and community arts hub for artists from Tucson and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the I-19 Arts Collective brings together Tucson art communities and art institutions and their binational Nogales counterparts. 

Building on previous partnerships with the Confluencenter and through the 2019-2021 Fronteridades iteration Microgrants Program, the I-19 Arts Collective cross-regional community of artists join forces to diversify and expand their impact. Artists, creators, practitioners, and UArizona students from marginalized communities in the borderlands, exchange ideas, resources, and opportunities to expand their reach, engage, and elevate their artistic representations and expressions. 

Community Art Microgrant Competition Program

The Community Art Microgrant Competition program, led by Galeria Mitotera, supports border art projects and residencies for underrepresented border artists through the I-19 Border Arts Grants and the I-19 Arts Residencies.  

O’odham Arts Exchange: The Place Where Clouds Are Formed

The O'odham Arts Exchange program supports artist and research exhibitions along with public programming enabling dialogue and reflection about how the U.S.-Mexico border has divided the ancestral lands of the Tohono O'odham people. It expands the "The Place Where Clouds Are Formed" initiative. Ofelia Zepeda, UArizona Regents' Professor and director of the American Indian Language Development Institute, photojournalist Gareth Smit, and writer Martín Zícari led the program. The initiative disrupts "crisis" narratives of the border and replaces them with more accurate narratives about the lived experiences of borderland communities. 

The O'odham Arts Exchange is a unique historic first step towards documenting the recovery and expansion of ties through shared culture and art of the O'odham in the U.S. and Mexico. The program includes the following: 

  • The execution of a binational O'odham community artist grants and exhibitions program  
  • The collection of oral histories, film, photography, poetry, and research that documents Indigenous borderlands and challenges mainstream narratives, and  
  • The publication of a trilingual (English, Spanish, O'odham) document that combines artist collaborations and the core documentation project. 

Amplifying Blackness in the Borderlands

Amplifying Blackness in the Borderlands builds a network of partnerships and engagements clustered around formations and modes of Black and Brown (Afro-Latinx) community knowledges and creativity in the borderlands. The program supports the creation of two initiatives: 

Borderlands Black Locals Community Film Collective

This initiative brings together Black and Afro-Latinx students in southern Arizona who share an interest in film. Local high school students, UArizona undergraduates, and Black youth, together with the Dunbar Pavilion, a local African American Arts and Cultural Center, establish their agendas related to film as a medium for storytelling and the amplification of Black experiences in the borderlands.  

Black Diaspora/Digital Collective

This initiative connects UArizona's Afro-Latinx and Black students with peers in similar geopolitical contexts. Students from UArizona's Gender Women Studies, the College of Fine Arts, and Africana Studies collaborate on creative, cross-cultural productions (e.g., short stories, zines, spoken word, playback theater, photography, short films/videos).  

Amplifying Blackness in the Borderlands elevates Black voices, which are often overlooked in the borderlands but are critical to the history and contemporary understandings of 'place' (and experience) in the Southwest.

Binational Art Grants - Programa Nuevos Creadores

The Binational Art Grants Program (Programa Nuevos Creadores in Spanish) supports local artists on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to creatively interpret the border life experience through various artistic forms. The Programa de Nuevos Creadores, led by the arts and culture governmental office, Instituto Municipal de Fomento a la Cultura y las Artes (IMFOCULTA), in Nogales, Sonora, MX, supports the work of young emerging artists from Mexico's borderlands. In addition, the Museo de Arte del Ayuntamiento de Nogales, Mexico, co-facilitates microgrants to artists in Sonora, Mexico. 

Learn more about the Programa Nuevos Creadores here.


Border Storytelling

Border Storytelling was a two-year program developed during the 2019-2021 Mellon Fronteridades project iteration. The program, led by the Southwest Folklife Alliance, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Arizona, gave youth from Ambos Nogales, the region comprised of the cities of Nogales, Mexico, and Nogales, AZ, opportunities to share their own stories of life on the border through photography, video, and interviews.  

The Border Storytelling program involved the development of two projects, Docu:Nogales and the Barrio Stories Nogales and. Docu:Nogales was a pilot project launched in 2019 led by VozFrontera, aimed at making culture and heritage in the borderlands more visible through documenting arts and youth storytelling. Barrio Stories Nogales, led by Borderlands Theater and VozFrontera in collaboration with Pierson High School, complemented Docu:Nogales by facilitating a youth workshop to gather local histories. During a special screening, six youths shared video clips of interviews and discussed their experience interviewing long-time Ambos Nogales residents.  

Barrio Stories Nogales also included an oral history workshop series designed for teachers and co-presented with Southwest Folklife Alliance and the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent's Office. The workshop series incorporated oral history and local culture to develop inclusive learning plans. Thirteen teachers from Nogales and nearby Rio Rico schools completed the free workshop series and received 10 hours of professional development