COURTESY PHOTO - Local artists can be seen at the Hillsboro Tuesday Night Market every week working on the Frida Art Project. The painted panels will be installed and unveiled at M&M Marketplace sometime in September.For the last several Tuesday evenings this summer at Hillsboro’s Tuesday Night Market, local artists have been gathering to paint large panels with a common theme — a theme combining the cultural landscapes of both Oregon and Mexico.

This ambitious venture, titled The Frida Art Project, aims to bring together two cultures that live so closely in Hillsboro, and yet often seem to be separate. Thinking of a project for the summer, Linda Holland, who serves on the board for the Tuesday Night Market, asked Valerie Otani, program supervisor for Hillsboro’s public art program, for ideas.

“We came up with this idea of partnering with M&M Marketplace and creating these panels,” said Holland. “It fit the goal I had of showing folks who come out for Tuesday Night Market all the talented artists we have in Hillsboro, as well as combining our cultures with the Hispanic folks who live among us.”

At the end of the summer, the colorful panels will be installed at M&M Marketplace, 346 S.W Walnut Street, just a few blocks south of downtown Hillsboro, to signify a completing of the partnership.

The Latin American-style, all-inclusive market draws several thousand shoppers every weekend and features vendors from a variety of Latin American countries.

One of owner Jaime Miranda’s goals for the marketplace is to integrate more non-Latino vendors and promote the unification of different cultures in the community.

The project and the open house celebration will bring two cultures together helping people become aware of all that is wonderful in the Hillsboro community. The project offers up a chance for the community to see how creativity happens when two cultures combine their talents.

The name for the project came out of a discussion between Miranda and Holland; thinking of important artists of Mexican heritage, they decided Frida Kahlo was a perfect fit.

Kahlo was one of Mexico’s most famous artists. She contracted polio at the age of six, and suffered a near-fatal bus crash at the age of 18 that left her with a lifetime of pain.

Kahlo was able to transcend her pain and express it in her paintings. Her work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

There are a total of ten 48-by-48 inch panels with one artist working on each panel. The panels will be permanently installed on the front of the building of M&M. Artists have been volunteering steadily after seeing the work being done at the Tuesday Night Market’s artist corner at Third and Main, which is nicknamed “Who’s on Third?”

The project will be finished at the end of the summer and installed sometime in September, which is when the open house celebration will take place.

“When people go out of their comfort zone to do this and make this connection, something happens, and the next time they meet someone with a different culture they may act differently. That interaction makes them better people and better people make our community better,” said Holland. “And this all happens because of art.”