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The Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts (BSPA), serving Brownsville, Texas, is a private, nonprofit producer and arts presenter with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its mission is to enhance quality-of-life in our community through cultural entertainment.

The City of Brownsville is located in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, on the USA-Mexico border and has nearly 200,000 residents. Directly across the Rio Grande River in Mexico, lies the city Matamoros, Tamaulipas, with nearly one million inhabitants. It is underserved in many aspects and considered by many, including the US Census Bureau, as the most economically disadvantaged community in the nation.

Despite its many shortcomings, Brownsville is poised for growth, diversification and looks brightly upon various developments that bode well for our future. It enjoys nearly year round semi-tropical weather, multi-cultural traditions, a rich history, a top level university (UTB) and a rapidly growing community college (TSC).

Since our founding twenty years ago (October 1994) BSPA has produced and co-produced literally hundreds of shows, including music concerts of all sizes, dance shows, kids programs, operas, chorale works, performance competitions, master classes and artist clinics, radio shows, film screenings and a wide variety of cultural and civic events.

BSPA created two music festivals that have become a source of pride for our community and now considered important parts of our cultural calendar. Both the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival, on its 18th year, and the Brownsville Guitar Festival & Ensemble Competition, on its 13th year, generate economic, academic, and cultural benefits to Brownsvile.

BSPA has developed enduring alliances with civic, cultural and educational entities who, like us, seek to expand the quality and diversity of cultural offerings in our community. It fully underwrites as many productions as it can but also procures donors, sponsors and grants that make it possible for us to offer quality programs for free or at nominal prices accessible to the public.

Whenever possible, BSPA provides resources for our young artists to attend regional and national conferences and participate in academic competitions. It also underwrites various university level scholarships for the study of the performing arts at the nationally accredited and internationally renowned Music Department of the University of Texas Brownsville (UTB), soon to be the musical hub of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGB).

An essential function of the BSPA has always been to produce programming that is not usually offered in this area by traditional mass media. Unfortunately, these "missing" genres are important and include Opera, Classical Music, Classical Dance (Ballet), Classical Guitar, Jazz, Flamenco, Latin Jazz and much of what is considered World Music. This part of our mission is about to expand considerably as the FCC has recently granted BSPA authorization to build and operate a low-power FM radio station. The BSPA looks forward to broadcasting quality programming to thousands of Brownsville residents on a daily basis by January 2016 at the latest.

An unexpected opportunity to undertake educational outreach in a meaningful way presented itself when the City of Brownsville asked BSPA to submit a proposal for the utilization of a long-vacant downtown building. The result has been nothing less than a dream come true: a school for teaching classical music and ballet, not currently offered by our public schools, to some of the most underserved kids in our community. This project is underway and described further on our Brownsville Performing Arts Academy page.

We of course appreciate donations, in-kind contributions and sponsorships and are very thankful for the broad support our modest efforts have inspired over the last two decades. In particular, BSPA is grateful for the support consistently provided us by the City of Brownsville, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The question we're most often asked is "How can I/we help?" Usually our reply is simply "Just come to the show" but if you are able to contribute in a more significant manner, however, please don't hesitate to contact us directly at info@artsinbrownsville.org. We're anxiously waiting for your call. In the meantime, we hope to see you show!

Respectfully yours,

George Ramirez
President and Chairman of the Board
September 2014

 


General Video on the BSPA (2009)

 

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