Rhizome at TAMIU


Rhizome Poetry Contest

Calling All Poets!

Submit your poetry on humans and nature in the modern world to be featured in Rhizome, a multidisciplinary contemporary art project organized by TAMIU Artist Crystal Wagner.

The winner will recite their original work at the project’s unveiling during the Rhizome Performance April 12, 2024 and will be featured as a vocal track on the Rhizome music album which will be played through speakers within the art installation.

Submissions close Tuesday, March 12 at 11:59 p.m.

about TAMIU Rhizome.

Contest Rules:

  • The contest is open to all students at TAMIU and all Laredo residents.
  • Spanish and English poetry accepted.
  • The theme of the poetry must be: Humans and Nature in the Modern World. How you interpret the theme is entirely up to you!
  • Submitted poems must be less than 30 lines.
  • Email submissions to rhizomepoetrycontest@gmail.com.
  • Submit a cover letter including a brief bio and phone number in the body of the email.
  • The poem must be attached as a pdf or a Word doc.
  • Do not include any identifying information on the document(s) containing the poem.
  • Each contestant can submit up to three poems for consideration.
  • Contest Judges Dr. Manuel Broncano and Dr. José Cardona
  • All submissions will be considered for publication by River Gull, TAMIU’s student-run journal.

Contact rhizomepoetrycontest@gmail.com with any questions.

Rhizome Logo
Timothy A. Rubel, Assistant Professor, Dance

Call for Professional, Austin-based Contemporary Dancers:
Rhizome Virtual Audition Notice

Deadline for submission: Sunday, March 10 at 5 p.m.

Choreographer and assistant professor of Dance at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Tim Rubel seeks 2 - 3 professional contemporary dancers, preferably with site-specific dance experience, to work with on a short-term project in April 2024.

Submit your poetry on humans and nature in the modern world to be featured in Rhizome, a multidisciplinary contemporary art project organized by TAMIU Artist Crystal Wagner.

The project will be created and presented in Laredo, Texas, at TAMIU’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA). Dancers will be given lodging in Laredo for the duration of the rehearsal and performance process.

about TAMIU Rhizome.

About the Project: Rhizome is a multidisciplinary art installation led by artist and visiting assistant professor of Art Crystal Wagner. The project will be unveiled on Friday, April 12, with an interdisciplinary performance, including a site-specific dance in and around the installation created by Rubel. This dance will include both students and professional dancers.

Logistics and More: Selected dancers must be able to be in Laredo from Sunday, March 31 – Saturday, April 13, 2024. They will receive a salary of $500/per week, plus housing and a modest per diem. Rehearsals and the performance will take place at the installation site at the University’s CFPA.

Rehearsals take place Monday through Friday for 3 - 4 hours a day; exact times are still TBA. The performance begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12, and may be repeated once as a loop. Auditioning dancers should have at least two years of professional dance performance experience, be trained in Contemporary dance forms, including partnering, and be able to work in a site-specific installation format.

Additionally, dancers must contribute fully to a collaborative choreographic process, learn movement vocabulary, and be able to work with student dancers. Teaching skills are welcome but not required for this project. Dancers must be at least 18 years of age and legally authorized to work in the United States as independent contractors.

To Audition: Please email the following materials to timothy.rubel@tamiu.edu by Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 5 p.m.:

  • A current performance resumé (as an attachment)
  • A 5 – 8-minute video link of your dancing: Performance footage is ideal, but studio footage is also acceptable. The footage can be continuous or a dance reel, but it should demonstrate your dance performance skills, technical ability, and partnering or site-specific dance skills. If sending a reel, please ensure segments are long enough to see these elements clearly. If your video contains group footage, please ensure you are clearly identifiable.

Once resumés and videos are received, finalists will be selected for virtual interviews with the choreographer as the final stage of the audition process.

All auditionees will be clearly communicated with about the outcome of their audition.

For additional questions, contact Tim Rubel at timothy.rubel@tamiu.edu or call 956.326.2625.

What is Rhizome @ TAMIU?


“Rhizome” is a multidisciplinary contemporary art project organized by Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Artist and Visiting Assistant Professor Crystal Wagner that will be created on campus in Spring 2024. It involves the collaboration between faculty and students in the music, art, dance, theater, and humanities and the community at large.

Partial sponsorship provided by


How is Rhizome Made?


Through Collaboration & Engagement: “Rhizome” is open to collaborations from all TAMIU Colleges/Schools and Departments to create a fully dynamic conversation on art, culture, community, place-making, and sustainability.

Rhizome uses RPET fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, and the installation explores sustainability and awareness at the intersection of art, environmentalism, and community. Rhizome uses recycled materials and harnesses solar energy to generate power. Rhizome transforms RPET fabric into ART and then into REUSABLE TOTE BAGS. It establishes a bridge between different communities through collaboration and becomes a net producer to reduce waste in the community.

How Can I Be a Part of Rhizome@TAMIU?


Several opportunities will be offered for public participation, including Open Build Days, and printmaking workshops:


Who Is the Artist, Crystal Wagner?


Crystal Wagner is a contemporary interdisciplinary artist represented by Mirus Gallery in Los Angeles/San Francisco, Ryan Joseph Gallery in Denver, CO, Kirk Gallery in Denmark, and David Block Gallery in Marrakesh, Morocco.

She received her MFA from the University of Tennessee in 2008, her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 2004, and her AFA from Keystone College in 2002. In 2013 she was awarded the highly coveted Pollock-Krasner Grant. Wagner’s interest in combining two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms, alternative use of materials, hybrid approaches to printmaking, and massive site-specific installations, have led to her artwork being exhibited extensively in the U.S. and around the world.

Notable commissions include a large-scale installation for the internationally recognized band The Flaming Lips, a large-scale installation piece for NIKE, presented in the Shrine Auditorium for The KOBE X Blackout Experience, Bombay Sapphire, TOYOTA, and two installations for Viacom, one of which is at their headquarters in Times Square, featured by The New York Times and broadcast on national television on VH1’s Top 20 Countdown, The United States Embassy, and most recently a large-scale installation for Warner Brothers, Grammy Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

Her work has been featured by Architectural Digest, Artnet, Hi-Fructose Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine, Graffiti Art Magazine, Arrestedmotion.com, ArtAttacks Online, Art & Science Journal, Inspir3d.com, Complex Art & Design Magazine, Chrome Yellow Magazine, Catapult Art Magazine, My Modern Met, and Beautiful Decay Magazine, among others.

What is the Artist Saying?

Crystal Wagner
My works, both micro and macro, dimensional and flat, explore the sensory deprivation associated with this new relationship between human beings and forms and structures found in the natural world.

Crystal Wagner

Artist/Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M International University

“I am interested in the increasingly severe divide between human beings and the natural world. As people become more immersed in their modern landscapes and technologies, their relationship with the world outside of their cultivated spaces becomes more unfamiliar. David Abram's explains in his book, Spell of the Sensuous, that we are “Caught up in a mass of abstractions, our attentions hypnotized by a host of human-made technologies that reflect only us to ourselves.”

My works, both micro and macro, dimensional and flat, explore the sensory deprivation associated with this new relationship between human beings and forms and structures found in the natural world. The works respond to the disenchanted spaces and materials that people occupy daily as they move through the artifice of urban topology. Rooms, buildings, sidewalks, cars, and computers are just tiny elements of a greater landscape that people have cultivated to be their experience with the world they live in. The more immersed they become in this artificial landscape, both physically and psychologically, the more anomalous forms and structures found in nature appear, making nature more alien, more foreign, and more exotic.

My installations are hybrids between manufactured materials and organic forms and structures. These immersive worlds explore sculptural landscapes and environments created site-specifically with ripstop nylon or tablecloth in combination with hex netting. They are temporary 'happenings' that grow using architecture as the substrate. They explore the dialog between consumer culture, artifice, and what it feels like to walk through an environment.

I consider things like the parade floats, graffiti, plastic plants, and piñatas among others, as attempts human beings make to amplify their everyday spaces/objects in reaction to this sensory deprivation. I scrutinize and celebrate the plastic plant, painted bright green, as a stand-in for something living, and the neon streak as something beautiful. In both my large-scale works and my smaller paper sculptures, I pull from textures and shapes from seemingly otherworldly sources, but all the work I make is deeply rooted in the visual and sculptural ecological language of exotic flora, fauna, micro and macro-organisms and the rhizomatic growth that exists as the foundation for all living things.

As this sense of space and emphasis on the physical realm becomes supplanted with the binary, the unreal, and the synthetic, people’s familiarity and awareness of forms and structures found in nature both large and small are beginning to atrophy."

See the Artist's Work