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Interview with Manuel Cabrera of Polen

Anyone who’s been paying attention to our south-lying sister city has no doubt caught wind of the fact that Tijuana is going through something of a cultural renaissance.

One large force behind cultivating art, music, food, and fashion in Tijuana has been Polen, a collective of creatives who put on periodic events such as the bi-annual Vegetarian Cuisine & Arts Festival and their seasonal artisan flea market, Arts & Trees.

"Polen is a musical and artistic platform to publicize what your imagination or concern has inspired you to create,” says organizer Manuel Cabrera.

“All are welcome regardless of musical genre or project. If things are done from the heart, there is always a place in Polen."

See what it’s all about on Saturday, June 22 from 1 to 9 p.m. between 6th and 7th Streets on Madero (a block east of Zona Centro main-vein Avenida Revolucion), where Arts & Trees will be hosting a summer bazaar with local artists, clothing designers, food, beer, and wine.

The vendor line-up has yet to be release, but anticipate live jams from Love & the Skull, Fax, Teenage Fiction, Al-B, Coastral, Guaycura Sounds, Wero, Memory Lounge, Das Falco, and Rredeye.

What is the current state of art and music in Tijuana?

Manuel Cabrera: Right now there is much more diversity in music and art. There is always activity, and there are increasingly more projects of very good quality. Only some remain and continue on, but it is a constant movement of graphic artists, musical projects, artists, etc.

How have you seen it chance in the last few years?

MC: We have seen a constant growth in the artistic and musical activity in Tijuana. Today, people risk more. Their purpose is to create, nothing more. The social dynamic is a constant fuel for creativity and concern in the creators. There are influences in everything. Life itself is responsible for keeping that desire alive.

What are the reasons for this change?

MC: Today, openness and accessibility are close at hand. Social networks let you organize yourself and reach a larger number in less time. With this in mind, people want to create and show us what they’ve created, be it pleasant or not. Either way, there it is. Now, there are more spaces available to exhibit and organize events. There are things that do not change and it’s OK because, well, they work. There are changes that work because they are good.

What is your vision for music and art in Tijuana?

MC: Tijuana has always remained at the forefront in terms of artistic activity in all its fields. The bicultural influence is notable on occasions. Tijuana always presents and will present projects worthy of applause.

How does Polen support this vision?

MC: Polen was created some years ago as a response to the lack of exhibition spaces for live music, graphic artists, plastics, etc. A few years ago, there were only electronic DJ sets due to a lack of spaces for live music.

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Anyone who’s been paying attention to our south-lying sister city has no doubt caught wind of the fact that Tijuana is going through something of a cultural renaissance.

One large force behind cultivating art, music, food, and fashion in Tijuana has been Polen, a collective of creatives who put on periodic events such as the bi-annual Vegetarian Cuisine & Arts Festival and their seasonal artisan flea market, Arts & Trees.

"Polen is a musical and artistic platform to publicize what your imagination or concern has inspired you to create,” says organizer Manuel Cabrera.

“All are welcome regardless of musical genre or project. If things are done from the heart, there is always a place in Polen."

See what it’s all about on Saturday, June 22 from 1 to 9 p.m. between 6th and 7th Streets on Madero (a block east of Zona Centro main-vein Avenida Revolucion), where Arts & Trees will be hosting a summer bazaar with local artists, clothing designers, food, beer, and wine.

The vendor line-up has yet to be release, but anticipate live jams from Love & the Skull, Fax, Teenage Fiction, Al-B, Coastral, Guaycura Sounds, Wero, Memory Lounge, Das Falco, and Rredeye.

What is the current state of art and music in Tijuana?

Manuel Cabrera: Right now there is much more diversity in music and art. There is always activity, and there are increasingly more projects of very good quality. Only some remain and continue on, but it is a constant movement of graphic artists, musical projects, artists, etc.

How have you seen it chance in the last few years?

MC: We have seen a constant growth in the artistic and musical activity in Tijuana. Today, people risk more. Their purpose is to create, nothing more. The social dynamic is a constant fuel for creativity and concern in the creators. There are influences in everything. Life itself is responsible for keeping that desire alive.

What are the reasons for this change?

MC: Today, openness and accessibility are close at hand. Social networks let you organize yourself and reach a larger number in less time. With this in mind, people want to create and show us what they’ve created, be it pleasant or not. Either way, there it is. Now, there are more spaces available to exhibit and organize events. There are things that do not change and it’s OK because, well, they work. There are changes that work because they are good.

What is your vision for music and art in Tijuana?

MC: Tijuana has always remained at the forefront in terms of artistic activity in all its fields. The bicultural influence is notable on occasions. Tijuana always presents and will present projects worthy of applause.

How does Polen support this vision?

MC: Polen was created some years ago as a response to the lack of exhibition spaces for live music, graphic artists, plastics, etc. A few years ago, there were only electronic DJ sets due to a lack of spaces for live music.

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