Creativity Lives Here and Taller de Permiso

September 4, 2019

By: ArtPlace America

We are excited to share that ArtPlace is launching a year-long digital storytelling campaign to showcase the people and places behind creative community development. #CreativityLivesHere is a collection of grassroots video stories from amazing artists, community planners, local leaders, and allies, who are sharing the ideas, challenges, and inspirations that drive their work every day.

We’re going to share these stories across our social media platforms, and many of our friends and partners are ready to do the same.


The only thing missing is YOUR STORY.


All you need is an iPhone, the DIYdoc App, and a story about how arts and culture is helping address a challenge or opportunity in your community. From there, enlist a friend to help, or shoot the video yourself through the app and add your voice to the growing collection of grassroots stories from across the United States.

Check out some of the stories that have been collected so far on our YouTube channel, and make yours today!



In our kick-off film we visit the Buena Vida Neighborhood in Brownsville, TX which exists less than a quarter mile from the Mexican-American border. It is one of the oldest and most culturally vibrant of the southernmost edge of the US/ Mexico border. There is an incredible strength of cultural resources in the community and many people are ready to start turning their creativity into small businesses. 

Taller de Permiso (Permission Workshop) is an activist and community led arts space and campaign which seeks to decode, re-imagine and make easier the permitting processes in the area for small informal business owners. To improve their community’s economic outcomes, three artists in Brownsville, TX have launched a series of workshops and a supporting media campaign to help demystify and reimagine the municipal permitting processes in the Buena Vida neighborhood.

This neighborhood is ripe for local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and other economic development, but the city’s bureaucracy is currently seen as impeding progress. Collectively known as ‘Las Imaginistas,’ artists Celeste De LunaNansi Guevara and Christina Patino Sukhgian Houle, are a socially engaged art collective based in the Rio Grande Valley.  The trio have worked together and independently attacking a wide range of community development issues including immigration, housing, women's rights, racial justice and education.  

“As first, second and third generation U.S born Mexican women, whose families made their livelihood by running their own small businesses, we know first-hand how sustainable, community led small businesses can shape families, neighborhoods and communities.”

The artists tell us why this project is important at this time, and in this location. 

“Our personal experiences directly informed the development of the project concept for Taller de Permiso (the name comes from the tradition of the bendición- to give one’s blessing). In a time when many border residents are consciously or subconsciously feeling constricted due to our current administration, we wanted to find a way to express the idea of giving 'permiso' to live out their dreams. Inspired by a series of charrettes, healing circles, art meditations and hands-on-workshops, Taller de Permiso is composed of three phases: Permission to Dream, Permission to Act, and Permission to Know." Each project segment works to explore different lenses through which to consider the idea of receiving and granting permission. 

The initiative will conclude with residents designing and issuing their own Community Member Issued Permits and performing their version of the future of municipal for residents and the City of Brownsville.  By decentering municipal institutions as the only regulating entity with the power to distribute permission, Taller de Permiso, will consider how colonial frameworks inform traditional permitting processes. The gente (people) of the Buena Vida neighborhood are mothers, fathers, and relatives who work hard and have much to contribute. "Taller de Permiso is a way to model and affirm to our community that we value the contributions of recent immigrants. That there is enough for everyone and together we can dream of more and not less for our community.”


What Las Imaginistas had to say about DIYdoc:

"Sometimes making a video can be an overwhelming process that requires a lot of planning. DIYdoc did a lot of the heavy lifting for us in advance, making it easier for us to quickly organize our ideas and create something that reflected our artistic ideas. The app is really useful for communicating across teams so that people with varying video experience can work together to make projects. We will use it again and especially when working with our partners who are new to media. Having tools to make digital storytelling accessible across experience and background is critical for building agency in communities to share and amplify their stories. DIYdoc is an important tool in supporting people of all types to tell their own stories." 


Join the #creativityliveshere conversation & add your story here.