The Border is a Weapon

The Border is a Weapon
Curated by Gil Rocha
Presented by Other Border Wall Project

Curator's Statement


The agony of separation is something that unites us. Leaving or getting away from something or someone, whether we want to or not, is part of the negotiation to improve our lives; although many times the opposite turns out.

​At the border between the United States and Mexico we are witnesses to migratory undertakings, legal and illegal. We are accomplices or we are part of the group of people who cross our lands in the hope of achieving their dreams.

​Wars and political treaties divided the territories that today strategically frame the dividing line. Government leaders and communication platforms continually use our border as a weapon to cause panic and corrupt the peace of the country in order to remain in power. The dividing line emerges in the form of a river and a fragmented wall between deserts and mountains. Most obstructing still, it exists in the mind due to lack and manipulation of information.​  Even so, these temporarily divided territories are also united by bridges, stories, foods, languages, the air, the arts, and in short, a unique culture; a culture that adapts to the differences of two countries and makes it one.

​This exhibition of visual art tries to take control of our own voices to clarify what is professed in the north of the United States about us. Our intention is to show things as they are and dismantle "The Weapon." Things are not entirely admirable, but the country's problems are not ours or those of the immigrants. The problem arises because of the founding of a country developed in injustices. In order to understand each other, let's listen to each other without prejudice.

​As artists, we observe and shape our testimonies. This group of works is a small sample to reflect and analyze ourselves.  It is also a way to unmask myths and show our strengths and weaknesses. We use the gallery as a platform for those willing to meet us and enter into dialogue. Perhaps yes, the border is a weapon, but loaded with hopes and dreams.

Gil Rocha

Donate to Support this Exhibit

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Ethel Shipton
"Los Dos Laredos y Mas"

Whether making a mark on paper, a sculpture for the gallery wall, or an intervention in the public realm, San Antonio-based Ethel Shipton challenges context and draws on the power of the unexpected. In one series, she upholsters basketball hoops, skateboards, baseballs, and axes with colorful vinyl, boldly feminizing traditionally masculine objects. For a public commission at a newly built San Antonio bus transfer, Shipton tinted the station’s windows blue, yellow, red, and green, and applied the words “GRACE,” “LISTEN,” “TALK,” and “FORWARD.” These evocative gestures both softened and activated the otherwise stagnant waiting room, encouraging interaction between the waiting strangers.

Ana Laura Hernandez (Code-Switching)

Ana Laura Hernandez

Opening Reception
March 4, 2022
6:00 - 9:00 PM

Ana Laura Hernández was born and raised on the South Texas border and currently works in San Antonio, Texas. She holds a BFA in painting, with a minor in art history from the University of Texas in San Antonio. She exhibits her work regionally and internationally. Hernandez has also led and participated in various public art projects in San Antonio and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.


10th Annual
Birds of the Brush 

The 10th Laredo Birding Festival will be on Thursday, February 3, 2022. The Morelet's Seedeater and hundreds of prized birds abound in our scenic South Texas landscape.

Experience the opportunity to explore and discover new birding sites along the scenic Rio Grande but from the safety of your home.


Cesar Martinez
En Mi Casa

November 19, 2021

Originally from Laredo, Texas, César Martínez studied art at Texas A&I University in Kingsville and got his Bachelor of Science degree in All-Level Art Education in 1968. He was drafted into the US Army in 1969 and after serving in Korea, he was honorably discharged in 1971. Since then, he has lived and worked as a professional artist in San Antonio. His interest and involvement in the Chicano political movement since the early 1970s led his work in the Chicano and Mexican-American cultural explorations and themes for which he is now well known. He has exhibited widely at the national and international level, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Brooklyn Museum in New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston Texas, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in México City.

Opening Reception November 19, 2021


Agust 2021

My works are an illustration of humanity. These beings, or beasts, are drawn to capture development through the human condition. To reflect upon the complexities of existence in line and shape. Though sometimes unfinished or without dimension, these creatures display an unfulfilled, incomplete part of us that is reaching beyond the confines of ink-stained paper. Each line, heavy-handedly drawn, is a mistake, has flaws, Is worked and reworked with the purpose to echo our same imperfection, our inner conflict, and fragility as human beings. I primarily use white paper, black ink, and paint for my work to further depict the stark contrasts in the perpetual flux of clashing emotions encapsulated in all of us.

Opening Reception August 20, 2021

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VMT Virtual

Spring Exhibit

The Laredo Center for the Arts in collaboration with Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts Department of Visual Arts is proud to present the 2021 Student Spring Virtual Art Exhibition.

This year VMT art teachers Gil Rocha (painting and drawing) and Poncho Santos (sculpture) and their Art students at VMT Magnet School have risen to the challenges Covid-19 has presented by reconceptualizing how a normal art class operates. Rocha and Santos had to think outside the box and find creative ways to restructure their lesson plans to transition to remote teaching.

Students enrolled in Santos’ sculpture class were encouraged to be creative and use their home environment for inspiration. The students were asked to use subject matter and materials found in their immediate surroundings. Some of the artworks were created by repurposing materials, using found objects, or food such as Tabasco and Tajin.

Both Rocha and Santos assigned innovative lessons so that art students could explore new art trends such as digital art and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). VMT Art students were given lessons on modern and contemporary artists that are conceptual and innovative such as Yoko Ono, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari.

Through viewing the student's work in this exhibit it’s safe to say that both Rocha & Santos successfully found ways to bridge both digital and hands-on activities. Both of these art instructors have been leading their students throughout their time at VMT towards a more unique outlook on art.

Selected sculptures and prints will be on the display at the Laredo Center for the Arts Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Gallery. The virtual exhibit will be available to view through LCA’s website and Facebook page.

We hope you enjoy this virtual exhibit! We applaud the VMT Art Students for their creativity and talent!


VMT Contemporary

Art Studio

LCA in collaboration with the VMT Contemporary Art Studio has created a virtual student exhibit inspired by Yoko Ono. 
Yoko Ono is often considered the ‘Godmother of Conceptual Art’.  She has made artwork since the 1960s and her she is one of the most influential female artists in the history of art. In 1964, she released an art book called ‘Grapefruit’ filled with written passages called ‘Event Scores’. 
These Event Scores are sets of instructions that can be followed or not followed by the reader. They are similar to musical scores in how they allow someone else to reinterpret the original works written by another artist.
LISD VMT Magnet School Sculpture Instructor, Poncho Santos, had his art students write their own Yoko Ono inspired event scores. 
When LCA asked Santos why he incorporated this assignment into his lesson plans he responded by saying, “I love these works because of how lyrical and nonsensical they are. I want my students to learn that art does not have to be purely illustrative and can be something else other than what can be seen with your eyes. Art can exist in the mind. Another thing I want them to realize is that art is a collaboration between the artist and the observer.  It is also very important to me introduce my students to artists of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and genders whereas the historical canon of Western Art has been mostly dominated by white male artists.”
We hope you ENJOY this virtual exhibit!


Click the link below to submit your work.

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9th Annual

Birds of the Brush 

Exhibit and 

Art Contest Winners

The 9th Laredo Birding Festival will be virtual on Saturday, February 13. The Morelet's Seedeater and hundreds of prized birds abound in our scenic South Texas landscape.

Experience the opportunity to explore and discover new birding sites along the scenic Rio Grande but from the safety of your home.

Speakers during the Virtual Festival will include Richard Crossley and Holly Merker.

Target birds--White-collared Seedeater, Gray Hawk, Audubon's & Altamira Orioles, Red-billed Pigeon, Muscovy Duck, Brown Jays, and many more.



Chalk Block

June 13, 2020

Laredo Center for The Arts
Call for Chalk Artists!
Join Our Community Chalk Block
On Saturday, June 13th from 11 am-4 pm let's create colorful chalk art promoting messages of love, unity, and compassion.


Please sign up for your 6x5 spot today.
(Note: Each designated spot will be 6 feet apart from each other)
We will have 20 spots available in total in two different time slots.
11am-1pm 10 spots available
2pm-4pm 10 spots available

Two artists/people allowed per spot.

All participants must wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

 We encourage you to bring your own chalk, hand sanitizer, and water. LCA will have a limited amount of chalk, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and water bottles available.

Only positive messages of hope, love, and compassion will be allowed. LCA reserves the right to reject any work depicting inappropriate or graphic content.

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Law Day

Student Contest

March 07, 2020

Students of the Laredo and Webb County Area:
We invite you to participate in our Law Day Student Contest.

Law Day was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, to celebrate and honor the rule of law. It is on this day when bar associations, like the Laredo-Webb County Bar Association. reach out to their community to show them how the law impacts their every day lives. The theme for this year's Law Day is:




Think Pink: Paint the Patriarchy Pink 

We will be posting a virtual tour of the exhibit as well as post photos/artist information on all the participating artists and their works on our website and across all of our social media.

For more information call (956)725-1715 or visit www.laredoartcenter.org. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday from 11am-4pm. 

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For the Love of ___.

February 13, 2020

LCA Late TIL 8 presents “For the Love of_________“ a group exhibition Opening Reception celebrating the arts, love, & everything about love.

Opening Reception will take place on Thursday, February 13 in our Mezzanine area from 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

“For the Love Of ______,” will include works interpreting, examining, and illustrating the idea of love from all points of view. Whether it be For the Love of Arts! For the Love of Music! For the Love of Film! For the love of Fashion! Each artist was challenged to examine the notion of love and dissect the idea of love whether it is For the Love of something/someone deep and meaningful or fun and frivolous!

Birds of the Brush

8th Annual Laredo Birding Festival "Birds of the Brush" Contest

Join us on Wednesday, February 5th at the Laredo Center for the Arts for the 8th Annual Birds of the Brush Art Contest! The Rio Grande International Study Center and The Laredo Center for the Arts host this annual art event, designed to showcase how our vibrant Rio Grande ecosystem attracts hundreds of species of dazzling birds, some of which migrate from as far as Canada and the Central American tropics!