Have you ever seen a story or photo that touted the Mexican migrant workers who work in the hop fields of the Northwest? No? You’re not alone. But Christie Tirado, a Mexican American artist and elementary school art teacher in the Yakima Valley region of Washington, is out to fix that puzzling omission. Her powerful block prints celebrate these essential and astoundingly unsung people in the beer industry, who make sure hops get from the ground to our glass.
During the Great American Beer Festival this week, Dry Dock Brewing Co. is presenting “Arte de Lupulo/Hop Art,” an art exhibit that features Tirado’s eye-opening prints at the brewery’s North Dock production brewery and tasting room (at 2801 Tower Road in Aurora, Colo.). The exhibit is free to view and the pieces on display are available for purchase.
For beer lovers and brewers attending the GABF, the exhibit is especially timely. “If you are attending the festival,” Tirado says, “now is the perfect time to dig deeper and learn about the important people who work so hard to grow the hops in your beer. They play a vital role in the making of great American beer, and they have been doing so for generations.”
“If you live in the valley like I do,” Tirado adds, “at harvest time you see these people working around the clock, because there’s such a short window for getting the hops harvested. But if you aren’t from here,” she adds, “you aren’t aware of it. So I created these pieces as a way to get people to start thinking about these migrant workers and the work they do for the beer industry.”
During GABF week, the North Dock is also offering a complimentary “welcome to Denver” beer to brewers and beer lovers in town for the GABF. So North Dock visitors can enjoy a no-charge glass of hop-enhanced liquid art while admiring Tirado’s hoppy printed art.
For Tirado, celebrating Mexican and Mexican Americans laboring in the hop fields and local agriculture is especially important. “I’m a daughter of two Mexican migrant parents whose work was not appreciated,” she says. “So it’s personal and cultural for me. I have the privilege to speak up about it through my art, and I want these people to be recognized and appreciated.”
If you won’t be in the Denver area this week, you can see and purchase Tirado’s hop-minded prints at https://christietiradoarte.com/ .
Marty Jones is longtime evangelist, publicist and status quo smasher for craft beer. His creative ideas, promo efforts and questionable jokes have played a key role in the success of some of the top beer endeavors in Colorado and the United States. Learn about his beery efforts at www.martyjones.com.