In what's known as the "Tropics of Texas," McAllen, Texas has developed into quite the arts town. I was recently at an event incorporating food and crafts from all over Mexico at the McAllen Creative Incubator in McAllen, Texas.
The incubator might look like a stark professional building to the untrained eye, but there's a lot going on. This is what they have to say about it:
What is the McAllen Creative Incubator?
The McAllen Creative Incubator is a venue that offers low cost studios for start-up artists. The Incubator is meant to foster the creativity of the tenants and provide emerging artists and organizations with managerial, legal, and technical support. The goal of the McAllen Creative Incubator is to support the continued professional growth of artists in order to enhance the cultural and economic vitality of our local community. The McAllen Creative Incubator will market and publicize the Incubator as a creative cooperative. Marketing materials will be created to promote the Incubator and its resident artists. Events will be held at the incubator to develop dynamic relationships between art, artists, audiences and the public.
17 Art Studios
1 Paint Lab
1 Idea Lab
Mon - Thu: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
There are also comfy sofas where you can just come in and take meetings, if you work out of your house, etc.
The incubator hosted a day of the Mexican Artisan Expo. The expo featured were over 100 artisans, including people who had traveled for days from remote, Native American regions in Mexico. Artisans came from 12 Mexican States such as Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Estado de Mexico, Puebla, Chiapas, Coahuila, Veracruz and Michoacan among others.
I saw all kinds of unique products for sale, such as home made pickled peppers, dulce de leche candies, honey products, hot sauces and a very different kind of candy made of sweet potatoes. I got a chunk -- they look like cut crystals -- and was surprised that they're low in sugar, but high in nutrients like fiber. There were also lots of hand-dyed and hand-embroidered linens to decorate dining room tables.
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