Art and activism come together at Beto O’Rourke’s Dallas fundraiser


At the Erin Cluley Gallery in the heart of the Manufacturing District, North Texans came out Tuesday night to support Beto O’Rourke’s gubernatorial campaign at an art auction and fundraiser. The gallery was packed with artists, bidders and campaign supporters waiting to take a picture with O’Rourke.

Around 50 Texas artists donated work that raised over $81,000. About half of the artists were from North Texas.

While politics and art are not an obvious pairing in Texas, artists at the fundraiser said their work is an important vehicle of protest and support for their communities.

Beto O'Rourke speaks to a crowd.

Elizabeth Myong

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KERA news

Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke addresses a crowd at an art fundraising event for his campaign on September 20, 2022.

Andrea Tosten, 45, said her art is a way to build her community by being part of the “visual conversation” and trying to connect with other people.

“There’s a lot of effort going on right now to divide society and so that’s a big part of being a part of your community and something you can do in addition to voting,” she said.

Andrea Tosten stands by her artwork.

Elizabeth Myong

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KERA news

Andrea Tosten stands by her mixed media piece “Am I Maybe” at the Erin Cluley Gallery. The piece says “I am a flibbertigibbet man” in black letters.

Tosten’s mixed-media piece Am I Maybe is part of her series, which is named after the word “flibbertigibbet,” which Merriam Webster defines as “a stupid, volatile person.”

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She said the idea for her series and the piece she has donated came during the pandemic and waves of social unrest. At the time, she was investigating “what it means to wonder if one is doing enough when the intensity of human existence is increasing as it has in recent years”.

Other artists such as Armando Sebastian said his work is not political but a form of protest in the way he embraces and reflects his culture.

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“I feel like if you’re celebrating your culture and who you are and you don’t forget and embrace all of these elements that make your culture so rich, I think to me that’s like the best political statement you’ve made.” can do. ” he said.

Armando Sebastian.JPG

Elizabeth Myong

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KERA news

Armando Sebastian donated his painting Boy Charro No. 2” to the art fundraiser in support of Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for governor. Sebastian celebrates his Mexican heritage in his art with bright colors reminiscent of Mexican folk art.

Sebastian donated his painting Boy Charro No. 2”, which, among other things, addresses the idea of ​​gender identity through the depiction of a Mexican Charro or Rider, an iconic male figure. By changing the color of the Charro‘s outfit and sombrero, as well as his demeanor, Sebastian said he wanted to play with the idea of ​​a more feminine style Charro.

June Dufilho stands by her artwork.

Elizabeth Myong

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KERA news

June Dufilho, 13, is a sixth grade artist. She said she donated her clay sculpture because she likes mushrooms and wants to help Beto O’Rourke become governor of Texas.

Artists of all ages contributed to the event, including 13-year-old June Dufilho, who donated a red and white mushroom clay sculpture that added atmosphere to Studio Ghibli. She said she wanted to help and hoped her work would help O’Rourke win.

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When asked how politics and art are related, she said, “It’s important to express how you feel through art.”

For bidder Glen Jones, who works as a designer, art and politics go hand in hand. He scanned the QR code on the title card of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Mound #1 The Legend Sweats and Bubbles Part 2 and hastily typed in his bid.

“Both are at the forefront of doing something different,” he said. “Artists do it and political activists do it – it’s the same.”

That’s what he loves about Hancock’s work – it’s provocative, “sometimes there’s bad language, sometimes there’s other lewd things.”

As the event drew to a close, Erin Cluley, who made her gallery available for the night, said the issues at stake in the gubernatorial race were vital. And she thinks the artists at the auction reflect the moment.

“Artists and the work they do and their practices are of the time, they are the storytellers. What a beautiful way to bring it all together.”

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Do you have a tip? Email Elizabeth Myong [email protected]. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Elizabeth_Myong.





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