Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Botánica Music and Arts Festival announced Sunday that popular local artist Cruz Ortiz and his wife, Olivia, would serve as the festival’s art and culture ambassadors. They will manage the artistic elements of the inaugural festival, which is set to take over Six Flags Fiesta Texas on March 3.
As ambassadors, they will “lead environment and activation design and construction, interactive art pieces, and cultural retail experiences within the festival,” according to a news release. “Their focus for Botánica year one will be the creation of the festival entrance marquis and interactive art installations.”
Cruz Ortiz founded Snake Hawk Press, a creative agency specializing in marketing, branding, illustration, and graphic design “targeting companies who value the growing Latino and millennial market.” Olivia is the company’s chief operating officer.
Snake Hawk Press will take over the amusement park’s Texas State Square during the festival with its merchandise, “including hand-pulled poster screens, [and] art,” according to the release.
“We’re super excited,” said Olivia Cruz. “This festival has big potential, and of course, it’s in our hometown. We’re honored to be part of it. We have some fun design ideas and retail experiences we can bring to year one of this fest, but I’m also inspired by where we can take this festival longer term. We hope to build a retail and design program that respects and highlights the amazing arts scene and culture of our great city.”
Cruz Ortiz’s work, typically screenprinting, has been associated with several local political campaigns, most recently Andrew White’s bid for Texas governor, and can be found in sculptural form on the Southside, where his 60-foot-tall Dream Song Tower was installed in November 2017. His work has appeared in various exhibitions and festivals from Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum to the Louvre.
Newly honored James Beard Award semifinalists Rico Torres and Diego Galicia of Restaurant Mixtli, were recently named Botánica’s culinary ambassadors, and on Wednesday festival organizers released a list of chefs and vendors from across the state who will provide fare to hungry festival goers.
Among them are Austinites Nic Yanes of Juniper; Sarah Heard of Foreign & Domestic; Rick Lopez of La Condesa; and Kevin Fink of Austin’s Emmer & Rye, a fellow Beard nominee. Recognizable local favorites include Stefan Bowers of Goodman Bowers Restaurants; Jason Dady of his namesake restaurant group; and Jeff Balfour of Southerleigh. Also joining the festival are chefs from Dallas and El Paso.
Renowned local bartender and bar owner Jeret Peña will craft a full menu of cocktails for the festival as the beverage ambassador.
Originally a two-day event, Botánica organizers decided in January to shorten the duration of the festival and move its location from the parking lot at Six Flags Fiesta Texas to inside the park. The change provoked some outcry on social media, but others welcomed it. Concertgoers can now hop on rollercoasters and other rides between sets.
“This concentrates all the fun into one day,” said David Heard, Botánica co-founder and TechBloc CEO, last month. “We’re a new brand and people are learning what the experience is going to be like. This allows us to turn on all the entertainment in the park.”