Discover the McAllen Creative Incubator in McAllen, TX
The McAllen Creative Incubator moved early in 2013, taking up residence in what used to be the city’s public library at 601 N. Main St. The location certainly fits, situated amidst the Arts District Business Center, the Art Village on Main and several galleries.
“The Creative Incubator is actually right in the middle of the art district,” says Ivan Gonzalez, director of art development for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “We have at least another five or six galleries nearby, so we all share the same concept of hosting artists so they can exhibit their work.”
What’s more, the building has roughly double the room of the incubator's former location.
The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, which runs the incubator, spent more than $200,000 to gut the old library, replace carpet and lighting, and build studios, paint labs, workshop and classroom areas, gallery spaces, and performance and event venues.
"We have several spaces and common areas the artists can use to teach, make exhibitions, and hold their performances or workshops. Since we moved into the [former] library, we’ve gotten really positive feedback from the community and the local artists," Gonzalez says.
Art Classes at the Incubator
Painter Karen Norberg, a tenant, teaches classes at the McAllen Creative Incubator.
"We're really excited about our new digs," she says. "There's a variety of art, all the way from photography to violin lessons to choir to the symphony to, of course, the artists that are painting and teaching painting and drawing classes all the time.”
Classes for both children and adults are a big draw, among them a Wine & Design class for which painting supplies are provided and students bring their own beverage.
“We're really trying to promote our wonderful new space; we're so proud of it," Norberg says.
McAllen Mini Maker Faire
Another exciting aspect of the larger space is the opportunity to hold events such as the Mini Maker Faire, a showcase of local innovation and invention that brought 50 “makers” and 700 attendees to the McAllen Creative Incubator in June 2013. Many of the participants had been working with the chamber’s Inventors & Entrepreneurs Network, and the event celebrated their accomplishments.
“What we do here is entrepreneurial activism,” says Eduardo Millet, vice president of business development for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, referring to the incubator’s mission to help people act on their ideas. “The intention of the Mini Maker Faire is to nurture innovation. It is about people inventing. It has a lot of very positive energy – people sharing excitement about what they are doing – and that gets transferred to the attendees.”
The venue was the perfect place to hold the Mini Maker Faire, as it is brimming with the creativity of local artists and grounded by the support of chamber initiatives such as the Idea Lab and Collaboration Space, which provide guidance and tools for bringing ideas along a path to market.
“It’s a great venue,” Millet says. “Any event that has to do with innovation will flourish because of the creative energy that is already there.”
Check out more on the arts in McAllen, TX.