Nestled in the colorful Tlaquepaque Market in Eastwood is the East End Studio Gallery, home to the Frida Festival, an annual art exhibition inspired by the work of Frida Kahlo, one of Latin America's most beloved artists. The exhibition, now in its eighth year, will open tonight with a series of spoken word performances by local poets.

Frida Festival 
Today from 6 to 10
April 19 from 6 to 10
April 20 from noon to 5
East End Studio Gallery
708C Telephone Rd.
eestudiogallery.com

 The festival was originally held in July to mark the month of Kahlo’s birth, but the heat kept many people away. "It's extremely hot here in Houston during July," says curator Lizbeth Ortiz. "The first few festivals we did do in July, and it was torture."

This year’s Frida Festival runs for two weekends and includes performing artists and local vendors selling Kahlo-inspired crafts. "The festival grew out of celebrating her birthday, Ortiz says. “Now it's about celebrating her birthday, her inspiration, and her legacy.”

Tonight’s opening festivities will include appearances by local artists Cutthroat, Lilibeth André, and Julie Zarate, as well as art by California artists Gabriel Navar and David Flores. The festival will continue two weeks from now on Friday, April 19 with a DJ, a live performance by belly dancer Y.E.T., and a Frida look-alike contest for adults. The contest encourages attendees to present their best visual interpretation of Frida's style for a panel of judges. April 20, the final day of the festival, will feature a children’s version of the Frida look-alike contest and an arts market on the patio of the nearby café Bohemeo's. Visitors are encouraged to talk to vendors and artists.

"We've expanded to Bohemeo's because last year for Day of the Dead we had five hundred people here and we didn't fit," Ortiz explains. "It's nice that we have the market underneath one roof so that it's more like a mercado like in Coyoacán where Frida is from. That's what this plaza really looks like—it has a real Mexican feeling to it.

 

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