The PRT is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members. Aissa Huerta, of Nogales, and Emmett Rahm Oakes, of Patagonia, have joined our Board of Directors. Emmett and Aissa bring a unique perspective and the freshness of youth to the paper.
Aissa Huerta was born and raised in Nogales, AZ. She is the executive director of La Línea Art Studio on Morley Ave. in Nogales, AZ, a cooperative art and event space that works to enrich the cultural environment of Ambos Nogales. She offers instructional workshops for adults at the Santa Cruz Day Training Center, and a sensory art therapy program for youth with developmental disabilities in collaboration with the Southern Arizona Autism Association and the Border Youth Tennis Exchange, as well as a semester-long course for youth in the community on mural painting, which reinforces the importance of public art and creative placemaking for Huerta.
While studying developmental and abnormal psychology at Vassar College, Aissa dedicated her time to the development and maintenance of the nonprofit R.E.A.L. Skills Network, Inc, and has since spent several years acting as an early childhood and arts educator.
Aissa is passionate about finding community-based solutions to localized issues and the grassroots nature of the Patagonia Regional Times resonated with her personal approach. “This county is subject to some pretty nefarious narratives. Riddled with fear-inducing language, these stories often highlight the atrocities of the border and say nothing of the beautifully vibrant communities that surround it” Huerta said. She loves that the Patagonia Regional Times’ volunteer journalists are active members of the community.
Emmett grew up in Philadelphia and New York, as well as spending time in France. He spent a gap year between high school and enrolling in Brown University working at wineries in the Bordeaux region of France and in Argentina. In 2016, during his junior year at Brown, where he was studying contemporary literature and writing poetry, he was “itching to get back to winemaking,” and took a summer job with James Callahan, who was making wines for Deep Sky Vineyards, Pillsbury Wine and under his own label, Rune Wines. He returned the following summer, having been hired as an assistant winemaker by Callahan.
He moved to Patagonia in 2019 with his partner Lily Christopher, who works for Borderlands Restoration Network. The couple subsequently headed to northwest Spain, where Lily taught English and James continued making wine. COVID brought them back to the U.S., first to Rhode Island and then back to Patagonia in April 2020.
Emmett and Lily are currently working with Kayla Simpson to open a wine bar and restaurant called The Queen of Cups, in the space in the back of the Gathering Grounds. They plan to serve “fresh, simple, good, inventive food, served with house wines, beer and local mead,” Emmett said. He and Lily would really like to grow grapes in the Patagonia area in the future.
He was inspired to join the PRT Board, he said, because “I feel really lucky that there’s a local paper that is willing to help me make sense of the complexities, achievements and developments going on locally.”