Little City, Big Heart

I moved to Lubbock, Texas shortly after my 21st birthday to attend Texas Tech University. I was scared and excited to begin a new chapter of my life as a graduate student in Human Development and Family Studies. I was also a big city girl who had lived on both the East and West Coast, in towns such as Boston, MA, New York,NY, and San Diego, CA. I grew up spoiled into believing that everything was available at the corner store or the supermarket, that there was always a store or market around the corner, and that school was always no more than a leisurely walk away. I had never heard the words “y’all”, “yonder”, or “fixin-to”, and expected the world to come with easy-to-read instructions.

When I drove to my new home, past the sign “Now Reaching Lubbock City Limits”, I imagined a romanticized version of Clint Eastwood meets Norman Rockwell. I was going to fall in love with a gentlemanly cowboy that talked sweet and treated me like I was worth a priceless diamond. Yet, at the same time, I had the image of myself becoming a modern-day female version of Albert Bandura (my absolute intellectual idol to this day); I was going to expand on his research and come up with new theories to improve the quality of children’s lives. Where was my handsome cowboy in this dream? Off adoring me for my intellect, I guess…

While I haven’t met the romantic, steer-roping, boot wearing, man-of-my-dreams (yet), and I obviously haven’t become famous for my theories on child development, I have found something beautiful in Lubbock. The city is a rich tapestry of people from different cultures, education levels, religions, and political views and the harmony here is not feigned. We may not agree about each others’ ideals, but the majority of citizens will defend your right to have opposing views. The democratic system is more than an ideal, it is practiced willingly and without exception.

There is a beauty in Lubbock that I have not seen anywhere else I have lived. Of all the places I have lived, we have the largest arts community and First Friday Arts Trail. There is ALWAYS somewhere in town to go and listen to live music playing, and it is always good. Whether you’re a drinker, a thinker, a sports aficionado,a family and church regular, or a bit of it all, you’ll find much to love in our fair city.

Come back next week for a spotlight on one of the reasons LUBBOCK IS GREAT!

Ulabs Makerspace

There is a place in Lubbock where you can go to learn almost anything for almost no cost. It’s not a community college. It’s more like an arts entrepreneurship community center. If you would like to learn how to paint or cook, or make Jewelry, or any of a number of things, than ask yourself: “What’s stopping you?” If you already know how to do these things, ask the question again. If money was the answer in either of those cases, then you have no excuse now. Makerspace has classes that run from $10 to $35 per hour. You may choose to purchase a monthly membership. Makerspace college student members pay $25 per month  ($15 for high school students, $35 for non-students) for the privilege of using the facilities and “Oh my!” what facilities they have! There are laser cutters, 3-d printers, jewelry making tools, paint supplies, cooking tools, tons of space, and even a place to hang out and play games.  Here’s the best part: if you come up with an idea you think you want to market, Ulabs has an attorney in patent law that will give you a free 30 minute consultation!

There are over 5 large rooms that can also be rented, plus a Kitchen, Dark Room, Jewelry Studio, and Storage facility for personal materials. Rooms can be rented for art-related themes and weddings. Rental ranges from $150-$200 per room with smaller meeting rooms that rent for $50-75/hr. Rent a room, and Ulabs manages the whole event for you. No messy organization/planning needed!

You may be wondering ho all of this is possible. Ulabs Makerspace is currently in its development phase being lead by Master student in Nonprofit Administration at TTU, Yousef (last name unknown). Yousef is helping the organization establish a positive track record. He follows up with members, engages in fundraising for the organization, and assists with staffing and event management. An MPA, Master in Public Administration for the community helps organizations in their infancies determine how they will sustain growth, and helps them build their resume or record in the community. Yousef helps Makerspace determine what problems they address in the community. Makerspace’s slogan is “A Gym for Your Mind” and the organization is all about allowing young people opportunities to use the machines to better their own lives.

One final note is necessary. Safety is key at Ulabs. Anyone wanting to use the laser cutter or plasma cutter must sign up and take a safety class. Non-compliance is not an option.

Ulabs-Makerspace….Just one more reason why “Lubbock is great!”

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Bop ’till You Drop

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Lubbock has a heart and its heartbeat can be heard across the city. I am speaking, of course, about the beat that can be heard every time anyone picks up an instrument or flexes their vocal chords in this fair city. Angels sing here. In fact, they often rock out!

Lubbock is the birthplace of artists like Natalie Louise Maines Pasdar, better known as Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks. Lubbock has also seen the birth of legends such as Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper himself. In fact, there are countless musical talents both past and present coming out of the Hub City. Why? Why not. Music is literally in the wind. It howls, and cries to be heard.

Lubbock is a cornucopia of music variety, too. If into rock or country, we have jazz, classical, tejano, transcontinental, and probably a few you have never heard of before. Austin may have SXSW, but our music festival is literally 365 days a year.

Así, por qué no vienes a bailar con nosotros? (So, why not come dance with us?)

First Friday Life!

In Lubbock, few things are as integral to the community as the arts. Every month, hundreds of people from Lubbock and across the Region gather to share culture and dialogue. Galleries, museums, studios, schools, and even pubs and breweries open their doors and proudly display art.

It’s difficult point out the best part of this event. Is it the fact that it’s free to everyone? Or maybe it’s the variety of art and perspectives that can be seen on any given First Friday. There’s also the opportunity for anyone, trained artist or Von Gogh-esque stick figure expert such as myself, to show their work publicly. I think it’s the magic that allows a 7 year old with her mom to confidently walk up to a Texas Tech Professor and ask a surprisingly insightful question.

Regardless of the role; artist, observer, or both, everyone leaves First Friday with more than they came with. They leave with insight, cultural understanding, questions, new ideas, and a thirst for more. Moreover, most come away with more friends they can’t wait to get together with again!