Creating Encuentros: Changarrito 2012-2024

Apr. 12

Apr. 12 @ 5:00 pm Aug. 25 @ 5:00 pm


April 12, 2024 – August 25, 2024

If you find yourself walking through the streets of Mexico, you will inevitably encounter a changarrito, a food cart, or locally run shop. Changarritos, enticing with the smell of antojitos, the persistent beckoning of vendors, or sheer curiosity, are difficult to ignore. These carts exist freely, usually outside of the controls, supervision, or instruction of formal institutions. More than just a business, changarritos are an integral part of Mexican culture, communities, and families. 

In 2005, artist Máximo González initiated a Changarrito cart as a possible platform for artists to present their art to the people without having to be accepted by traditional art spaces or official curatorship, blurring the boundaries between established galleries and tianguis (informal street markets). Changarrito offers opportunities to artists and those interested in purchasing art; either to collect, use, or give away to a loved one. More so, the program creates the possibility to develop art as an encuentro: a moment of connection between the artists and the public, a moment that is profoundly personal and collective.

From its inception in Mexico City, the Changarrito has appeared in twenty-two cities, brought to Austin by Leslie Moody Castro and became active at the Mexic-Arte Museum in 2012. Since the program’s implementation, dozens of artists have used it to display their art and interact with the public on 5th Street and Congress Avenue. In 2020, with the rise of Covid, the Changarrito residency introduced a digital component called changarreando. Now, more people than ever can learn about and engage with the monthly Changarrito resident artists thanks to the Changarrito art cart residency, which has resumed its in-person component while continuing with its digital feature.

Changarrito Permanent Collection

The artworks in this exhibition are part of Mexic-Arte’s permanent collection, acquired during the residencies of Changarrito artists from 2012 to 2024. This year, Mexic-Arte celebrates the history and legacy of this program through the artwork of over a hundred artists, many from Texas. Accompanying the display of artworks, Mexic-Arte has commissioned a sound piece by Lisa Salidvar (Mexico City), an interactive artwork by Gil Rocha (Laredo, Texas), a hand-painted exhibition sign by Alán Serna (San Antonio, Texas), and a mural by Stephen Longoria, (San Diego, California), titled Tejas Forever.

Through the Changarrito residency, Mexic-Arte has cultivated a platform for artists to share their artwork and foster community. We invite you to reflect on the history of Changarrito at Mexic-Arte and engage with artists, staff, and the larger community to create your own encuentros.

Upcoming Encuentros

In addition to the exhibition, Mexic-Arte will host a variety of encuentros taking place during the exhibition, including Family Days, Media Mixers, a panel discussion, and pop-up art sales in the Mexic-Arte store.

Installation Images

Photos by Chris Caselli

Lisa Saldivar, Sonidos de México, 2024
Audio collected on the streets of México
Commissioned by the Mexic-Arte Museum

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