Neta is highlighting different artists across South Texas. Our featured artist for May was Roni Cortez. She is a local artist with a unique style that really catches the eye. Her drawings and paintings capture the feeling of walking down McAllen alleys and life in the Valley. Here is Roni Cortez’s experience as a Latinx artist in the Rio Grande Valley:

I’m thankful to have been born here in Rio Grande Valley and through my work I try to show that. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the valley as much and I always felt like anywhere else was better. Of course, later on I realized I was wrong.

The Valley is a magical place in so many ways. No one probably ever thought much of the valley in a national perspective, but in this present time the idea of tall, looming, suffocating walls separating people from their homes and families is all I hear. But I can create work that shows the culture, beauty, and aesthetic that the Rio Grande Valley has. Most of my work is from my own personal photography, photos from different areas of the Valley that mean alot to me.

The great thing is people can look at my work and create their own personal memory to that painting or drawing and I think that’s my favorite part. They can look at a drawing of Cine El Rey and have a memory from 1950 or the drawing of my family making tamales on Christmas eve. They could see my Paletero Man painting and be reminded of their time at the beach with their family on that hot summer day. Everyone has their own connections, memories, to different places and things; good and bad.”

McAllen Alleys

Christmas Eve Tamales

Lorena’s Tortilleria


Paletero Man

Lines on Lines


Cine El Rey

Valley Palms

To view more of Cortez’s artwork, visit her Instagram here.
In honor of Pride Month, will feature different LGBTQ identifying artists all month long so be sure to text ART956 to 33222 for weekly art updates.