Cenizo Journal Spring 2022 - Page 7


PUBLISHER Riley Stephens publisher @ cenizojournal . com
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Shawna Graves shawna @ cenizojournal . com
Letitia ( Tish ) Wetterauer ' s work is influenced by the culture of the US / Mexico border area of El Paso , Texas , where she grew up . Her work is frequently described as social satire . She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Bachelor of Soil Science degree from New Mexico State University . She has worked as a graphic designer , scientific and engineering illustrator , book designer , and web developer .
Letitia has been awarded artist Residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside , California and the Blue Mountain Center , Blue Mountain , New York . Her work has been exhibited in invitational and solo shows around the Midwest . Venues include : Iowa State University Pioneer Gallery , Ames , Iowa ( Solo Show ) Kirkwood Community College , Cedar Rapids , Iowa ( Solo Show ) North Dakota State University , Minot , ND ( Solo Show ) Iowa Artist ' s Gallery , Iowa City , Iowa ( Solo Show ) Gallery of Fine Arts , Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library , Topeka ,
Kansas ( Two-Person Show ) Iowa Artist ' s Invitational at the Des Moines Art Center , Des Moines , Iowa University of Minnesota Nash Art Gallery Invitational Show ,
Minneapolis , Minnesota Minnesota Museum of American Art , Drawings Midwest Competition , St .
Paul , Minnesota
Letitia has also received purchase awards from the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames , Iowa and Kirkwood Community College , Cedar Rapids , Iowa . She received a second-place award in the Lincoln Electric National Welded Project Competition .
SUBSCRIPTIONS Print subscriptions will be mailed for $ 29 annually .
Send payment via check or credit card to Cenizo Journal , PO Box 1824 , Alpine , Texas 79831 or call 432-614-4074 ext 801 . Subscribe online at CenizoJournal . com .
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Danielle Gallo editor @ cenizojournal . com
We ’ d like to feature your work in the Cenizo Journal . Contact Danielle Gallo at editor @ cenizojournal . com for submission information or mail to PO Box 227 , Marathon , Texas 79842 .
Cenizo Journal is published four times per year . © 2022 Cenizo Journal . Copyright of all art and images contained within are retained by the image owner and are used with permission .

Cenizo Notes by Danielle Gallo , Editor

This issue of the Cenizo touches on a number of subjects that are heavy on my mind .
I ’ ve often thought about how our communities and economies both profit and are disadvantaged by our reliance on outside visitors . In recent years , the massive uptick in interest in the Big Bend and Trans- Pecos region have wrought many changes — some of them good , some of them questionable . It ’ s nice to have my choice of espresso bars . The housing crisis takes the shine off a bit for me , though .
I can ’ t fit into my own local bar anymore , even on a Wednesday . Which is fine , really , since I can ’ t afford to patronize it anyway . I can ’ t get a meal in South County from February to May . My friends in the service industry struggle to find housing — any housing , affordable or not . Some of them live in their vehicles , others pack themselves into any closet they can find , just to have a bed . Every available house has been made into an AirBnb , whose owners seldom visit . I don ’ t recognize most of the cars on the road , most of the dogs in the neighborhood , most of the faces I encounter day-to-day . I cringe when I overhear visitors jauntily explaining the area to each other , mispronouncing the place names and airily taking ownership of something that , to them , is just a trendy vacation , rather than a rich and unique culture populated by beloved people and fascinating happenings .
For those of us who live here , struggling to make ends meet by working multiple low-wage jobs ; those who raise children here , worrying about the isolation and the lack of opportunities ; those who want to join the community but have been utterly priced out of it , the tourism industry can be a bitter pill . The millions of dollars flowing through the area don ’ t really trickle down , especially to the families that settled here a century and a half ago , who are holding on to their familial homes and their seasonal , underpaid service-industry jobs by the fingernails .
All that being said , I feel strongly that this place holds genuine wonder for those who are exploring it for the first time . There ’ s a reason so many folks are flooding in , and they mean no harm . It isn ’ t incumbent on the visitors to preserve our communities , but on those of us who live here , work here , own businesses here . If we want to keep the things that make living in this dry , dusty , brutal , beautiful landscape worthwhile , we have to focus on them as well as on the flood of outside dollars — on our libraries , to provide our kids with a place to go and something to do ; on our public lands , to preserve the natural beauty we all enjoy ; on the hardships that make us stronger and more beautiful , never in short supply in the Chihuahuan Desert ; on our history of self-reliance and living outside societal mores , still ongoing to this day ; on our willingness to come together to build a church or a social hall or a community center to keep our interconnectedness alive and thriving .
The Big Bend is at a tipping point in its history , and I think it can go one of two ways : we can mindfully invest in our communities , making stable economies with opportunities for individuals to thrive ; we can invest in real education for our youth , community-centered activities and spaces , careful management of our scarce resources — all of which are things that will only make us more attractive to visitors , so that everyone benefits ; or , we can sally forth in whatever direction the greatest profit is at the moment , pricing out our families , eliminating jobs that have upward mobility , and replacing our real towns with something more like Disneyland — a place one can visit , but where no one really lives . A place with a faint memory of the character that made it attractive in the first place , but no real substance . A West Texas Palm Springs or Jackson Hole .
A sixth-generation rancher friend said to me the other day that this place has survived millennia of change , and our communities will outlive everyone who has ever lived here . I genuinely hope that ’ s true . I also hope I ’ m here to see and be a part of their evolution into a place where everyone can love them , enjoy them , and work together to make them better all the time .

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