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Fort Worth’s lowrider culture takes center stage in new art show

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Candy paint and gold flake are the mediums of choice at a new exhibition in Fort Worth celebrating the beauty of the lowrider. 

 Catch “Lowrider: Cultura and Art Show” at Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center (1440 N. Main Street). The opening reception starts Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

Show curator Sarah Ayala said it’s an opportunity to showcase the pedal cars and bicycles emblematic of the culture.

“Most people see lowriders cruising down North Main Street, and they don’t get to see them up close,” Ayala said. “They don’t get to see the intricate work, the pinstriping, the gold flake. I wanted to bring that into a space for people who might not be so familiar with lowriders.”

Johnny Pantoja’s intricate lowrider bike will be among the pieces featured in the show. Photo courtesy of Johnny Pantoja.

The show, which is in collaboration with the United Lowrider Council of Fort Worth, will also include photography and paintings. It’ll feature work from regional artists like Lokey Calderon, a Dallas-based artist who specializes in the intricate and delicate brushwork you’ll commonly find on lowriders. 

“He’s going to bring an entire Monte Carlo trunk that he’s painting,” Ayala said. “So, it’s a very wide range of pieces, which is good because I think that represents the Latinx community way better than just one type of art.”

The opening reception on Friday, Dec. 3 will also serve as a fundraiser for Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center, located inside the Rose Marine Theater. 

Executive director William Giron said the proceeds will go toward restoration efforts for the historic building, which was built in 1914.

“It was renovated back in 1999,” Giron said. “ There’s some needs that we have like updating curtains and the projector. As we build quality programming, we also want to have a quality environment and bring it up to date.”

Curator Sarah Ayala says the show, which will also feature photography from Raul Rodriguez, is a chance to see lowrider culture up close. Photo by Raul Rodriguez, courtesy of Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center.

Ayala, who also serves on the cultural center’s board, grew up attending car shows in Fort Worth. She said making the opening reception a fundraiser with food, music and a raffle also speaks to the lowrider spirit. 

“In Fort Worth, it’s all about community,” she said. “Every car show that you’ll go to in Fort Worth that is organized by the United Lowrider Council, there’s always a benefit for a family that needs help or some cause.”

Want to see more? Check out KERA photographer Keren Carrión’s photo essay on Oak Cliff’s lowrider community.


Got a tip? Email Miguel Perez at mperez@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @quillindie.

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