Named UTSA Women’s Studies Institute’s 2018 Women’s Advocate of the Year, Best Of San Antonio Local Author 2017, the Chingona in Literature Award 2016, the Ancinas Award at Squaw Valley, the NALAC Fund for the Arts Award, the Accion Women Inspiring Women Award, and the Mentorship Leadership Award from the National Performance Network, Anel I. Flores lives her creative work. She is co-editor of forthcoming Jota Anthology with Korima Press and author of Lambda literary award nominated book Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas. Flores holds her MFA in Creative Writing, is a member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop, the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua and the National Association of Latina/os in Arts and Culture. Among various anthologies and magazines, Flores’ work can be found in Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art with UT Press, The Jota Anthology, Queer Spiritualities, Rooted: A Queer Women of Color Anthology, El Mundo Zurdo Anthology, The Brillantina Project, Sinister Wisdom This City Is A Poem, Raspa Magazine, OutInSA Magazine, iungo Arts Magazine, the Lodestar Quarterly, The Pitkin Literary Review and La Voz de Esperanza. Her play Empanada toured for 10 years throughout the University and Theater circuit and continues to be produced today. She is currently in the process of completing her forthcoming book, Cortinas de Lluvia, a series of Children’s books and a narrative art series to be exhibited in 2018. Her teaching career includes 11 years the public high school and college, along with 4 years in Education Arts Administration, and various community literary workshops.
In addition to her work as a community artist, activist and writer, she worked for 15 years as an educator and administrator in San Antonio’s public schools, she has been recognized for her entrepreneurial spirit with 1st Place in the Cooper-Hewitt Community Design Competition, Valedictorian of the Alexander Briseño Leadership Development Program, and the Constance Allen Heritage Guild for Lifetime Learning Award. She is an alumni of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Institute, a Member of Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Writer’s Workshop, the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua, the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber and a graduate of Leadership San Antonio Class of 39.
While not working in the arts, Flores uses her creativity and skill to run her boutique real estate company A&N Realty and contributes to her community as the Co-Founder and Grant Coordinator at LezRideSA. She undoubtedly does all this with the overflowing love of her queer familia and the patience and support from her wife, Erika and two marvelous daughters.
I was 19 years old when I enrolled in Chicano Literature with Dr. Pérez. It was 1995. On the first day they asked the class to raise their hand if our parents were from Mexico. I raised my hand. Dr. Perez followed with, “Are your parents over 50 years old?” I raised my hand again. The questioning continued until they finally asked the question that struck a chord in my heart. “Raise your hand if you speak Spanish fluently.” I didn’t raise my hand. In Dr. Perez’s class I discovered my parent’s generation of Mexican-Americans, native and immigrant, were punished for speaking Spanish as children. In my childhood, at home only, my parents and grandparents spoke to me in Spanish and I replied in English. It worked, so I thought. During my semester in Dr. Perez’s class I visited home more often and began engaging in interviews with elders in my family about their experiences growing up on the US/Mexico Border in Mission and McAllen Texas. The language barrier between us became more evident when I realized my parents and grandparents didn’t have the vocabulary to tell me the true experiences of their life. I learned my family members held their bladders in school and soiled their pants because they didn’t have the English words to ask to use the restroom. My father was asked to kneel on bottle caps for speaking Spanish. He still has the speckled scars on his knees. My mother was charged a quarter for every Spanish word that came out of her mouth. If she didn’t have the money, she was sent home and lost the opportunity to learn. They both shared shameful memories of standing in the 100 plus degree sun during lunch time, in the dirt, with the other brown kids, while the white students pointed and made fun of them, from their covered and paved patio on clean lunch tables. They didn’t have the words to question, protest, teach, learn or engage in their basic needs. Thousands of Mexican Americans didn’t have the words and still don’t because of the impact of our blood memory and the mere fact that we are reflections of our parent’s quiet and submissive forced personality. And, because of the rape of our language, Chicanos were hence denied the stories of tradition, medicine, spirituality, survival, history, education, the arts and all that builds our identity. Since my first Chicano Literature class, I have dedicated my life to discovering stories in the lost words of our Mexican-American and Chicano people, past, present and future.
During these last twenty years, my commitment to investigating and reporting the untold stories of Chican@s all along the border, on both sides, resulted in my career as a Chicana Author, Artist and Independent Scholar. In 1998, I began publishing and presenting my writing and visual art in magazines, journals, zines, in public art forums, at national conferences and more. In 2004, I received my MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on Chicano, Spanish and French Feminist and Queer Literature. In 2012, I published my first book titled, Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas, following the journey of protagonist Paloma, a young lesbiana learning to maneuver her loving heart through a culture of judgment, curiosity and questions. My collection “birthed a new geographic space in Latina, Chicana, Mexican and Lesbian literature and lesbianidad.” (Korima Press 2012.) Currently, Empanada has been adopted by grade school, high school and university classrooms throughout the country. Annually, I visit classes in person and also via Skype or Google hangouts.
If the naked eye could see the passion and truth alive and brewing in a person’s soul, you would see the electric colors found in the subjects of Anel’s visual art. She works primarily in oil paints but has worked her hand in water color, pencil, ink and printmaking. She is always on the journey to find the next medium that will live longer than the previous, to tell the story and preserve the story in her work. Flores paints women in their most luscious, terrifying and loving moments of their lives. Currently, she is fusing native indigenous thought with gender, gender travel and gender spirituality. Her work always lives, grows and expands.
Gently handcrafted, with various inlays of lace, circa 1930, each of her fine silver and copper sculpted jewelry preserves history, tradition and craft, while resulting in a one of a kind piece of wearable art. Each of her pieces has the print of lace from her late grandmother’s five and dime store. She uses the lace, made by women’s hands, from her grandmother’s store, sold by women’s hands in her works to preserve the work women do with their hands and leave a legacy in her hand work. It is her commitment to the abundant life women contribute to the universe.
Anel’s silver and copper jewelry is made from the traditional metals found in Aztec ceremonial instruments. Her metals are not mined from the land; but instead, she uses recycled silver and copper from old car engine parts and digital mechanisms to create each piece. Furthermore, the gemstones found in her work are lab-grown and originate from a process that is environmentally sustainable and conflict-free to humans and animals.She studied in San Miguel de Allende where she founded an international artist partnership exchange while also mastering bronze, gold and silver sculpture and jewelry making.
Anel is a successful leader, artist and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience. Besides being a nationally recognized artist and published author, Anel has also been a leader in her community as an Art Education advocate, professor, lecturer and program director. She has a keen eye at recognizing the needs of her clients as well as her community and specializes in meeting those needs.
After an incredible journey with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty she started her own firm, A&N Realty. She believes in family, leadership, technology, green practice and loyalty. Her decision to start A&N realty came with it being her father’s 30 year anniversary and my 10 year anniversary in the real estate business. With more than 40 years combined real estate experience, The A&N Realty team is tech-savvy, intelligent, articulate, detailed, and professional, with a keen view of the local market and an impressive connection to the global market. With an intuitive use of social media, Internet services and technology for instant on-line transactions, A&N Realty ensures quick delivery of new opportunities for their clients.
As part of her studies in undergraduate and graduate school, Anel traveled and studied throughout Mexico. Her artwork and writing has taken her on tour to such cities as San Jose, Chicago, Washington DC, Houston, Mexico City and her very own San Antonio. Anel’s extensive involvement in the community, her solid background in entrepreneurship, marketing and travel, and her eye for beauty all give her the edge it takes to find the perfect home for any buyer. She is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors and San Antonio Board of Realtors.