Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  Around Campus, Announcements, Community

By News and Internal Communications

Rio Grande Valley, Texas The 12th annual Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA) will host some of its highly anticipated recurring events this year, along with some new attractions. The festival runs Feb. 26 to through March 3.

For the first time The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be hosting ARTrageous: a unique traveling art show that combines painting, live music and puppetry into one interactive performance.

“The audience is getting a full experience because they are involved; it’s not just them sitting in the seats watching,” said Lauri Francis, ARTreach coordinator and performer with the show. “They’re participating throughout the whole show. Really, it’s their show and we’re there to facilitate and create the experience.”

The troupe consists of painters, singers, dancers, puppeteers and more.

“Every person in the troupe wears many different hats,” Francis said. “The painters are inspired by the music. They paint giant portraits that are usually 6 feet by 6 feet or bigger, within six minutes. They work together with the musicians. The audience tries to guess what the painting is, and at the end you’ll hear them be surprised.”

ARTrageous will be held March 1 at the Performing Arts Center on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, and March 2 in Brownsville at the TSC Performing Arts Center.

“When you work as a team you can do some pretty amazing things, and I think we’re a great example of that,” Francis said. “The show is for all ages. I think every single age group gets something out of it.”

‘‘Throughout the years, we’ve given out thousands and thousands of books to children. All of the arts are promoted through FESTIBA.
—Dr. Dahlia Guerra, vice president of Public Art’’


FESTIBA’s theme this year is “Transcending Borders: Building Bridges Through the Arts,” illustrated by a dandelion in the wind.

“The arts are a very uniting force across the globe,” said Dr. Dahlia Guerra, vice president of Public Art at UTRGV. “We associate the dandelion with hopes and dreams coming true.”

Borders have been a contentious topic throughout contemporary U.S. politics, she said, and now more than ever, the Valley finds itself on the frontlines of that conversation.

“It’s really relevant to what is happening right now in our area,” she said. “There’s been a lot of focus on borders and immigration, and our thought with FESTIBA’s theme this year was to show how the arts can transcend any borders.”

Guerra started FESTIBA in 2006 because she believed there needed to be a platform for arts and literacy.

“Throughout the years, we’ve given out thousands and thousands of books to children,” she said. “All of the arts are promoted through FESTIBA.”

In one of FESTIBA’s staple events,  “Reading Rock Stars,” authors of children’s books go to elementary schools across the Valley to present their books and give free copies to the children.

During the Community Festival on Friday, about 2,000 books will be distributed to children, courtesy of South Texas Literacy Coalition.

Throughout the week, “FOLD” – an exhibition of contemporary works by 13 international female artists who explore the concept of the fold in terms of form and conceptual metaphor – will be set up at the visitor’s center on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, in conjunction with FESTIBA.

The exhibits begin and extend beyond the FESTIBA week. For more information about “FOLD,”  click here.

Wednesday through Saturday the UTRGV theatre department will present the celebrated musical “In the Heights,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes.

FESTIBA week concludes March 3 with the Mariachi Festival and Competition, in which more than 600 middle and high school students from all over the state facing off during the Mariachi Competition. The event will feature UTRGV’s Mariachi Aztlán and the internationally renowned Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández group from Los Angeles.

For more information on FESTIBA, visit:


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.