Stay Inspired and Don’t Stop
By Carlos Cooper
Words by: Carlos Cooper Photos by: Brynn Osborn
Corpus Christi, and the Coastal Bend at large, has been longing for something for several decades. It’s been yearning for investors, not of the financial sort, but communal and cultural. The Coastal Bend longs to grow, to become a burgeoning epicenter of culture and activity. While some may look to cities like Austin as a model for what Corpus Christi “can” be, those that are from the area know the city has its own unique energy, eccentricities, and identity.
Enter Omar Arellano and Svani Quintanilla, better known as Comida Radio. Arellano and Quintanilla met while working as chefs at the now defunct downtown restaurant, Sushi Bar. During their time together, the two bonded over their mutual passions: food, art, and music. What initially began as an idea for a food blog, blossomed into something much more. Comida Radio has been operating as an all-encompassing art collective since 2016. Comida is event driven, hosting art shows, dinners, photography sessions that raise money for charity, and much more. They also have a strong digital presence, presenting mixtapes by local DJs and producers as well as launching their own podcast.
The idea was tossed around by the two founders in the Sushi Bar kitchen as early as 2012, but the vision wasn’t actualized until 2016. However, during that time, Arellano and Quintanilla weren’t sitting idly by. They were each engaging in the art community in their own way, taking in influence and building a report with other artists to slowly build up to the Comida Radio launch.
“I started getting invited to do a photography show by Mayra Zamora at K Space,” says Arellano. “I got invited to participate more and more and eventually that made me want to do my own show. It initially started out as a show called For The Homies, which was the same idea as the food blog idea we had tossed around. We wanted to showcase local artists that were making art that hadn’t been seen.” Arellano describes how that idea of showcasing hidden talent grew into an art show that incorporated not just visual art, but music, food, and community, creating an environment in which Arellano and Quintanilla could curate an experience for people and help the community venture out of their usual comfort zone to experience everything the Coastal Bend art scene has to offer.
For Comida Radio, all of the aforementioned accomplishments weren’t enough. The duo still felt there was more work to be done. “It was always instilled in my mind to give back. We have this platform now and people are watching what we’re doing, so let’s help them see they can also give back in the process,” Quintanilla explains.
When Quintanilla approached his partner with the idea, Arellano immediately began to organize charity efforts. “We can make giving back cool,” says Arellano. Since then, Comida Radio has donated over 50 pounds of art supplies to the Garcia Arts & Education Center and over 250 pounds of food to the Coastal Bend Food Bank.
Comida Radio has bold visions for the future that includes more events, more charitable work, and expanding to more locations. Their next Comida Radio event is on April 20th at the House of Rock. But for now, Comida has one message to instill in everyone who takes part in what they do: “stay inspired, and don’t stop.”