Local Chicano Artists Join Forces in Pop-Up Gallery

ST. PAUL, MINN- Pop-up art galleries have been making appearances all over the Twin Cities, with the latest effort coming from a partnership between Maharajas owner and the newly formed art collective, Electric Machete Studios. The venture will allow the owner to fill the empty space next to his St Paul store while giving the art collective a shot at entrepreneurship, without the high cost a permanent space. Starting March 21, the West 7th neighborhood will get to experience this unique take on an art gallery.

Temporary galleries can be mutually beneficial for building owners, artists and the communities they occupy. Artists get to show their work at an affordable cost, vacant storefronts get put to use, and neighborhoods get a boost of life and culture. With no other galleries representing Chicano culture in the area, Electric Machete will be a welcome addition to St. Paul’s growing art scene.

“Whenever we put art on blank walls it’s a good thing,” agreed painter Ernesto Ybarra, “anytime we use a space to enrich our lives it’s a good thing.”

Electric Machete Studios is a Twin Cities family collective of musicians, dancers, producers, film-makers, fashion designers, teachers, and community organizers working together in the contemporary creative narrative of the Chicano, Indigenous identity and artistic style. A pop-up gallery reinforces their core values of making art accessible to everyone, while using their work as a catalyst for change.

“It’s crucial for us to start thinking seven generations beyond us,” said collective member Felipe Espinoza-Day, “the Indigenous teachings I’ve been looking at are about creating your own economy...If we can do that with our art, that’s beautiful. My children will have their own sense of economy, and they can learn from this model we’re teaching them.”

Electric Machete Studios is located at 201 W 7th St in St Paul, and will be open through early May.

For more information about this topic, please contact Felipe Espinoza-Day by calling 651-353-0687, or e-mail Felipe at Felipe@electricmachete.com.

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