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A few have incorporated an element of community participation, but with its long workshop process and cooperative creation "Uprooted Dreams" moves the concept of community informed and participatory public art to a complex new realm.

Since then, participants have spent hours learning to carve with the traditional knives and machetes used by alebrije artisans and mastering the intricately patterned painting technique.

The words served as inspiration for "Uprooted Dreams," a singular, ambitious public art project by El Paso artist Margarita Cabrera.

But after high school, Cabrera lit out of West Texas and headed to New York, where she scooped up bachelor's and master's degrees at Hunter College.

"Absorbing everything about the New York art scene, the international art market was critical," she says. "But we learned nothing in art school about any non European art making or craft traditions."

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Hermes Belt Brown

Hermes Belt Brown

Cabrera immersed herself in conceptual theory, intrigued by the cerebral advancements of minimalist sculptors such as Robert Morris and Donald Judd.

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the alebrije tradition as the project's essential form because of its familiarity, its origin in indigenous Mexican culture and its current ubiquity in the contemporary folk art market. Even the materials to make the sculptures were gathered from a public park with a long standing significance to Austin's Latino community.

Evan Benitez, 27, is from El Salvador. His contribution to "Uprooted Dreams" comes in the form of Gucci Belt Expensive

A busy father who works as a piano technician at the University of Texas San Antonio, Francisco Chavez, 57, said he never had time to pursue formal art classes. Now, using his time off in the summer to take part in workshops, Chavez was blending mythic animals from Aztec creation myths to fashion his own symbolic critter.

Participants in "Uprooted Dreams" are all immigrants from Latin America people awash everyday in the emotional swirl that comes with cultural dislocation.

"The telescope isn't so narrow. There are many different ways of making art," Cabrera says. "There are so many levels on which an artwork can exist. And I wanted something that would really speak to the mission and purpose of (the MACC) and what it represents to the community."

And though Cabrera was awarded the commission from the city's Art in Public Places Program, she is not alone in the creation. Over an intense monthlong series of workshops, she has involved some 19 people from the Latino community and two master artisans from Oaxaca to make large scale, colorfully painted wooden sculptures in the style of alebrije, the vibrant creatures found in Mexican folk art.

"Uprooted Dreams" is a site specific installation for the foyer of the new addition to the MACC.

"Alma. Identidad. Injusticia. Arte. Libertad," are among several dozen words written in neat, capitalized script.

Since then, she has connected with Latino organizations in Austin to recruit people willing to commit a month of their time to their first ever art making experience. And she traveled to Oaxaca where she convinced master alebrije artisans Ranulfo Sergio Santiago Ibaez and Lucila Sosa Luria to leave their considerably busy craft making operation for a month's residency in Austin. (The couple employ 48 people in their Oxacan workshop.)

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Hermes Belt Brown

The words form a colorful rectangle on the dry erase board in the pristine, white walled art studio at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.

´╗┐Ambitious art project to grace Mexican

a large fish, specifically a trout capable of powering upstream, he explained through a translator. Benitez said the trout holds significant personal symbolism. In order to get to the United States, Benitez had to make the arduous journey over three borders.

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All new public building projects in Austin have an art component. (The city's public art program allocates 2 percent of municipal building projects to commission or purchase art. Started in 1985, Austin's is one of the longest running civic Michael Kors Belts Brown

public arts program in the country.)

Hermes Belt Brown

Hermes Belt Brown

Along with much of her immediate family, Cabrera now lives in El Paso, where she shares parenting of her two young sons with her ex husband, cellist Zuill Bailey

Cabrera choose Lv Belt Graphite

Together, the sculpture will hang in the foyer of the MACC's education center as a permanent installation.

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"Soul. Identity. Injustice. Art. Liberty."

Cabrera received the $51,500 project commission in 2010 after a competitive selection process. (All public art proposals go through a lengthy review and interview protocol.)

Last month, Cabrera gathered everyone and, along with guidance from a city arborist, combed the sprawling Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park in East Austin for fallen branches and tree limbs that could be fashioned into imaginary animals.

"People call me the pianoman at work," says Chavez. "Now I get to show off my artistic side."Cabrera's own immigration story begins in Monterrey, where she was born in 1973. She moved to the United States at age 11 when her father, a mining engineer, took a position in Utah. The family then moved to El Paso, again following her father's professional trajectory.

"Recent Hermes Belt Brown immigrants are not in the position to be cultural producers," Cabrera says. "I think that this is creating a platform for them to be a part of the cultural dialogue in Austin. They're now a part of that cultural dialogue."

Hermes Belt Brown

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