Tuesday, March 22, 2022

By Amanda A. Taylor-Uchoa

McALLEN, TEXAS – Uncovered Spaces, an exhibition and event series centered on female artists and LGBTQIA+ artists exploring the social structures that mediate everyday experiences, will be hosted by the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) from March 26 through July 10 in McAllen.  

UTRGV students, faculty and staff have free admission to the IMAS courtesy of the university’s Center for Latin American Arts. An artists’ roundtable and student studio visits will be held at UTRGV on March 25, but workshops and the exhibition will be  hosted at the IMAS.  

The exhibition is a collaboration with the UTRGV Center for Latin American Arts, curated by Raheleh Filsoofi of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and directed by UTRGV’s Dr. Katherine Moore McAllen, assistant professor of art history, UTRGV School of Art & Design, and director of the CLAA.  

“The study and advancement of creativity in the arts is a critical part of the fabric of our community and the success of our students,” director Katherine McAllen said.

“We need to promote these values in art and education at the IMAS and our universities to elevate the arts and inspire innovation to make the world in which we live on the U.S-Mexico border a more dynamic and beautiful place.”

Through a series of workshops, studio visits, artists’ roundtables, performance pieces, and gallery discussions, the exhibition is meant to connect the creative process with shared knowledge and feminine solidarity in a collaborative and community-based arts research project in South Texas. 

“As an artist and educator who lived and worked in this area for over four years, I have seen the impact of this place on my own practice,” curator Raheleh Filsoofi said. “My story as an immigrant coalesced with the stories of many people here and gave me a pivotal perspective about the political landscape of this country.”


(Courtesy Photo: UTRGV Center for Latin American Arts)
(Courtesy Photo: UTRGV Center for Latin American Arts)


The project serves as space for artists and scholars to discuss their art practice related to gender, identity, and social norms. Uncovered Spaces has brought together artists, art historians, educators in universities across the country, UTRGV faculty, UTRGV alumni who are now art instructors in K-12 schools in the upper and lower Valley, high school and UTRGV students, and the community to create this groundbreaking event series.

Three generations of student-educator relationships and UTRGV alumni support have also made Uncovered Spaces a successful arts-based community project. UTRGV alumni and Fine Arts Instructors, Cristina Correa (IDEA Public Schools San Juan) and Fatima Lai (of Rivera Early College High School in the Brownsville I.S.D.), are leading high school students across the upper and lower Valley to participate in the concurrent student art exhibition at the IMAS sponsored by H-E-B.

Raheleh Filsoofi of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and UTRGV’s Dr. Katherine Moore McAllen, assistant professor of art history, UTRGV School of Art & Design, and director of the CLAA. (Courtesy Photo)

This exhibition “Student Crossroads: Contemplating Uncovered Spaces,” opens May 19. By creating opportunities for past, current, and future students to create art together, Uncovered Spaces functions to inspire students and members of the community to connect with their creativity in the museum space.

Grants from The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, The Raul Tijerina, Jr. Foundation, H-E-B, the Hollyfield Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the Vanderbilt University Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, the UTRGV College of Fine Arts, the UTRGV Center for Latin American Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts provided the financial support needed to create Uncovered Spaces.



An opening preview reception will be hosted at the IMAS from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the IMAS. Artists Linda Behar, Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond, Jana Harper, Zac Thompson, and art historian Rebecca VanDiver will attend.

“Not the First, Nor the Last,” a performance piece by Jana Harper, will be presented by the artists and UTRGV students at the opening.

The reception is free for IMAS members and one guest. General admission is $10. UTRGV students, faculty and staff have free admission.

UTRGV CLAA will be hosting a campus visit on Friday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that includes an artists’ roundtable at 1p.m. titled “Navigating Your Own Space: Artistic Identity and Social Interactions in the Artist’s Practice” at the Center for Latin American Arts in the UTRGV Library, located at 1201 W. University Drive in Edinburg, on the 2nd Floor of the library at the Center.

The IMAS will be hosting the Uncovered Spaces opening day events on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the IMAS. This includes interactive gallery talks with artists Linda Behar, Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond, Jana Harper, and Zac Thompson. Curator and director talks by Raheleh Filsoofi and Katherine McAllen with scholarly discussions from art historian Rebecca Vandiver will also be presented.

The artists’ roundtable on March 25 and the painting workshop on April 7 are also available via Zoom.

“We want Uncovered Spaces to help artists and viewers feel more empowered through their creativity and open up new perceptions and create a safe place to engage with art and value it in our community,” McAllen said.

“By creating a space for artists and students to learn and have confidence in their expression through art, they can break through boundaries of space and identity and support diversity and inclusion.”



  • March 24 – March 26: Grand Opening of Uncovered Spaces
  • Thursday, March 24: IMAS Members Opening, 5 – 7 p.m. – IMAS, 1900 W. Nolana Ave., McAllen.
  • Friday, March 25 – UTRGV Campus Visit/Studio Visits – 10 a.m. – School of Art & Design, 2412 S. Closner Blvd., Edinburg.
  • Friday, March 25 – Artists’ Roundtable “Navigating Your Own Space: Artistic Identity and Social Interactions in the Artist’s Practice” – 1 p.m. – UTRGV CLAA, UTRGV Edinburg Library, Second Floor.
    ZOOM ID: 897 1006 9252
  • Saturday, March 26: Uncovered Spaces Opening Day – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., IMAS
  • Thursday, April 7: Painting Workshop – 1 to 2 p.m. – UTRGV School of Art & Design, Brownsville
    ZOOM ID: 899 3216 1351
  • Thursday, May 19 – Sunday, July 10: “Student Crossroads: Contemplating Uncovered Spaces” – IMAS


To register for the opening reception on March 25, visit the IMAS website:  https://theimasonline.org/uncovered-spaces/ or direct link: https://sales.theimasonline.org/Performance.aspx?pid=547.  

For a complete list of workshops and to view the exhibition schedule, visit https://www.utrgv.edu/claa/exhibitions/uncovered-spaces/index.htm and https://theimasonline.org/uncovered-spaces/.  



Director, UTRGV CLAA, Uncovered Spaces / (956) 665-3480


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.