Alumni Start Arts and Culture Magazine for the Rio Grande Valley
E. Moody and Osli J. Mejia, both of Brownsville, recently launched VIDA for the Rio Grande Valley. The
bi-monthly magazine will focus on community affairs, dining, architecture,
finance and innovation while keeping an emphasis on lifestyles and creativity.
UTB Alumni Jason E. Moody, Osli Josuhe Mejia and Cindy Vela celebrate the launch of VIDA.
Valley is ready for a publication like this,” said Moody. “We want to
provide the Valley with something they haven’t seen before.”
co-publishers kicked off the magazine’s launch with a celebration on Friday,
July 26 at the Brownville Museum of Fine Arts on East Ringgold Street.
Moody and Mejia both graduated from UTB, they had never met before starting the
a 1999 graduate of Brownsville’s Pace High
School, was involved in yearbook and newspaper and liked the creative side
of journalism. He attended The University of
Texas at Austin but graduated from UTB in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in
graduated in 2005 from the Science Academy
of South Texas in Mercedes and wanted to study neurology in medical school.
His family had always been involved in business so he decided to change his
major and graduated from UTB in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in business
said he has wanted to publish a magazine for at least three years, and found
the timing was right this year to make his vision a reality.
also wanted to publish a magazine with a business theme.
rather leave a dent here in Brownsville before I go anywhere else,” said Mejia.
“I am always looking for progression.”
and Mejia met through mutual friends this spring and discussed their concepts
and determined they could be put together.
became good friends actually,” said Mejia. “We have the same goals and
direction. It is about creating an impact in the Valley.”
premiere edition of the magazine had a circulation of 5,000 but with its
success, Moody said twice as many copies will be available for the September/October
edition. The magazine has been distributed regionally to spas, hotels and other
magazine utilizes freelance photographers and writers for content. The first
edition features stories on The Original Oyster Bar and Sacred Heart Church in
downtown Brownsville and the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg.
lot of our friends pitch us stories but we find what is impactful,” said Mejia.
of the magazine’s advertisements feature QR code readers which, when scanned by
smart phones, can take readers to web pages and other special content of the
and Mejia want to make the magazine the state’s official cultural and
lifestyles magazine for South Texas.
think we set the bar high for ourselves,” said Moody.
June/July edition has Brownsville born, Olmito raised and Los Angeles resident
Cindy Vela on the vivid orange, cream, red and yellow cover.
was on campus this spring to film scenes for the independent film “End Game”
directed by Carmen Marron about school chess in Brownsville. Vela portrays a
loved the idea that someone wanted to tell the story not just from a
teacher-to-student standpoint or a student learning and growing into his own
but about the Rio Grande Valley,” said Vela. “There are not very many stories
that go into film about the Rio Grande Valley, about Brownsville and McAllen.
Sometimes they are not that positive. This was positive and beautiful.”
a 1997 graduate of Los Fresnos High School,
played the alto saxophone in the Mighty Falcon Band. She graduated in 2003 from
UTB with a bachelor’s degree in music with teacher certification. While at UTB,
she played in the One o’Clock Jazz Band and UTB Concert Band.
was my father who asked me to stay at UTB and to continue my education here,”
said Vela. “At first I was a little skeptical about why I would want to stay
where I have been so long. Even though I loved it here, I wanted to see the
world. It ended up being the best thing I have done for myself which was to
stay here and get my education and learn about the community and to learn about
graduation, she worked three years as an assistant band director at Memorial
Middle School in Harlingen.
was so much fun,” said Vela. “All the factors I had in the university of
learning about myself and the culture and musicianship and all those wonderful
things I was able to use in middle school for these children who I was able to
inspire and give that same direction.”
this time, she started doing modeling and acting as a pastime. During her third
year of teaching, she traveled to Los Angeles to visit and met an agent who
offered to represent her.
came back and thought about it for a bit, and thought well I graduated high
school, graduated college and have a degree,” she said. “I taught and I had
done everything I set out to do. And yes there was more I needed to do but it
was an opportunity to do something different and something I had never done