When jewelry maker TK Tunchez found herself having a hard time breaking into Austin’s pop-up market scene with her Latina-inspired art and stylish handmade flower crowns, she decided to create a new path for minority women artisans whose work wasn’t always understood.
Last spring, Tunchez launched Frida Friday ATX, a monthly market featuring female vendors of color at Kebabalicious on East Seventh Street. Now, the growing market’s popularity is helping foster collaboration among female entrepreneurs as well as creating a safe space where culture can be celebrated.
“When women get together, we make magic,” says Tunchez, who owns Las Ofrendas jewelry. As gentrification becomes more prevalent in Austin, she says, these identity-based markets become even more important.
Frida Friday ATX, which is open to everyone, began with about 12 vendors and has expanded to 20 vendors who sell everything from natural soaps to art and books. Tunchez has also incorporated women of color musicians and DJs into the monthly events with regular performances by DJ Mahealani as well as frequent special guest performers.
Each month, an artisan donates an item that can be raffled to raise funds for area nonprofit organizations. Previous beneficiaries have included Barrio Writers, a creative writing program that offers free college-level writing workshops to teenagers in underserved communities.
“I feel very passionate about people of color making spaces,” Tunchez says. “We have to be able to be seen.”
The market takes inspiration from Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whose art wasn’t fully embraced while she was alive. “I love Frida’s tenacity, vulnerability and complexity as an artist, and we try to embody that spirit in the market.”
The success of Frida Friday ATX has led Tunchez to also create a traveling monthly market and event series called Luna Llena (Full Moon) ATX. Aside from crafters and makers, Luna Llena ATX features workshops on topics from self care to sexuality. Tunchez describes Luna Llena as an event that “celebrates and nurtures the diversity in our communities, with an intention to bring more cultural appreciation rather than appropriation.”
Catch the next Frida Friday ATX, which will actually be on a Saturday because of the cold weather, on Feb. 10 from 1-5 p.m. February’s Frida Friday ATX raffle will benefit Resistencia Bookstore and Red Salmon Arts. Visit facebook.com/lasofrendas/ for more details.
Conjunto music for the soul
Want to be in a music video? Austin Music Hall of Famers Conjunto Los Pinkys will be shooting a video for their single “Mira Luisa” at 4 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Slow Pokes Brisket Shack in Manchaca, Texas, and fans are invited to participate.
“We love our fans and it’s very important to us that you be there to be a part of this special project,” the band wrote on its Facebook page. “We don’t want a music video that’s all about us. It’s important to include you, our family — the dancers and listeners that have been a part of our 25 year experience!”
Conjunto Los Pinkys has new residencies in 2018. Follow the squeezebox-heavy grooves to Cisco’s Restaurant and Bakery every first Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. On the second Saturday of every month, check them out at Slow Pokes Brisket Shack during the restaurant’s monthly hot rod night with conjunto music from 6-9 p.m. Head to Little Mexico Restaurant on South First Street every third Sunday from 2-6 p.m. and to Sam’s Town Point every last Sunday of the month from 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Ensuring that this Texas-based music tradition continues to flourish has been the mission of various arts groups across the state, including Austin’s Rancho Alegre Radio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting both conjunto and Tejano music. Don’t miss Rancho Alegre Radio’s afternoon conjunto dance parties every first Sunday of the month at One-2-One Bar on South Lamar. While the tardeadas are on hiatus in February, mark your calendar for the next show on March 4.
WELCOME TO CULTURA EN AUSTIN
Cultura en Austin is a monthly column highlighting Latino-related cultural events in Austin. Look for it on the last Friday of the month.
Nancy Flores grew up in the Texas border town of Eagle Pass and has been covering Latino culture for the American-Statesman and Austin360 since 2011. Before that, she covered Latino issues as a journalist in Mexico City.
You can find more news about Latino cultural art happenings on the Cultura en Austin blog at cultura.blog.austin360.com. Send tips or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.