The 45,000-member, $275 million Evolve Credit Union, formerly the El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union, has found that supporting its local community and promoting its recent name change has meant reaching out to El Paso's burgeoning art community.
“We have a growing art community in El Paso,” explained Evolve spokesman Elisa Terrazas-Arce, “but it's not yet at the tipping point like art might be in a larger metropolitan area like San Francisco. We saw this as an opportunity for us and for the artists.”
In sponsoring the show, the CU will place the art work in its Mission Valley Branch, which Terrazas-Arce described as having cathedral ceilings and being particularly well suited to display art. The show will run for a month and the CU will open the branch to members and the public on the show's first night on Jan. 26. The CU will serve refreshments and provide life music at the event, she added.
Terrazas-Arce said that she married an artist and that this had sensitized her to the artistic community's need for venues where their work can be displayed and perhaps sold.
The CU has been collecting pieces for about a month, and she said that about 40 artists would exhibit their work at the month-long show where artists will be able to sell as well as show their work.
But as much as the artists are likely to benefit, Terrazas-Arce explained the CU would benefit as well. Evolve had sponsored the show first last year and there had not been a particular theme, but this year the CU asked artists to submit pieces that were inspired by the word “evolve,” the credit union’s new name.
The credit union’s board and staff began talking name change in 1997 after it was granted a community charter and a media account quoted Evolve CEO Kenneth Walters on why the CU had finally made a decision. “We simply decided that we had been dithering around long enough and needed to make a decision,” Walters said.
He said the Evolve name speaks to the changes in financial services the credit union can now offer, including a range of electronic banking products. Terrazas-Arce said the CU wanted the show to help members and the community at large to make the jump from the old name to the new one. El Paso Employees FCU was founded in 1936.
She acknowledged the CU had taken a big step in broadening its field of membership to embrace the broader community as well. That had been part of the reason for the name change in the first place, to make it clear that the CU was there for all.
All the art will have Evolve as a theme or an inspiration, Terrazas-Arce said.