Miembros Newsletter: April 2021

From the Director

A Big Thank You to Our Sponsors During the Year of the Pandemic!

On behalf of the Mexic-Arte Museum Board of Directors and Staff Members, we whole-heartedly thank all our generous sponsors that supported the Museum during this past year of the pandemic. As we reflect on the past twelve months, it seems like it began yesterday. The year was filled with many emotions – starting with the fear of not understanding what Covid was, what a pandemic meant to us personally, and to the organization. As soon as we covered all the art and windows, turned all the lights off, locked the door and went home, our fears quickly transformed into determination. 

Our staff immediately started looking for resources, knowing that if the Museum was closed, this meant zero income from the store, admissions, rentals and special events. We listened, researched, gathered information, learned and then went into action, applying for all the opportunities available to our organization – the Payroll Protection Program, grants, donations and funding. Our day’s work was filled with searching and entering information into forms, phone calls, emails, zoom calls and learning new ways to communicate. This was the most challenging time I have ever experienced in my thirty-eight years of directing the Mexic-Arte Museum. We worked harder than ever. The Mexic-Arte Team assembled, realigned and adjusted to these trying times in order to overcome economic hardship and the pandemic.

Then, generous assistance for the Mexic-Arte Museum started to come forward from individuals, as well as many local, state, regional and federal agencies. We are so fortunate and thankful to all our friends and donors. We say Gracias, Gracias and Mil Gracias!!! From this terrible year of loss and hardship, we have grown stronger as an organization because of our supporters.

We want to acknowledge and recognize all of the generous support we have received. Since March 2020, our staff has been employed. We added two new full-time positions thanks to organizational grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, Humanities Texas, and the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. With a grant from Austin Community Foundation and Stand with Austin, we hired artist contractors including

Ulysses Cueto who painted the Animo mural on the 5th Street wall to spread the message, Cheer-up – We can do this! We pivoted to digital platforms and created a new website, thanks to the generosity of Bloomberg Philanthropies. We created an online store through Shopify to increase sales. HEB, the Junior League of Austin, the Brown Foundation, and the City of Austin Community Youth Development Program supported virtual education classes, tours, lesson plans for students at home sheltering in place. 

We created exhibitions, Bruno Andrade Retrospective:  A Native of South Texas with the generosity of Trey Andrade, as well the 37th Annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition. Our first online exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands was supported by a major grant from the National Endowment of the Arts using the integrated CulturalConnect app. Our staff digitized over eight hundred collection artworks donated to the Museum by Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. and curated Mexico, the Border and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection. We ventured into the digital dimension by adding augmented reality to the outdoor mural, Tu Dolor es Nuestro Dolor supported by the Austin Latino Coalition which was featured on the PBS Hour arts and culture series, “CANVAS” in February. Our team produced a virtual gala supported by the Board of Directors, private donors, Tom Gilliland and Fonda San Miguel, raising more funds than previous galas. In addition, we produced the Viva la Vida Fest – Goes Virtual presented by the Austin Convention Center. Our work was facilitated by the purchase of eight new computers funded by the Lola Wright Foundation. In addition to all our programs – the Museum Building Committee persevered, working diligently with the City of Austin on the $20 million building renovation project.  

Mexic-Arte Museum is so fortunate to have the generous support from an incredible Board, Staff, Members, Interns, friends, donors, foundations, and institutions during this difficult year.  We truly appreciate your kindness, friendship and generosity that empowered the Museum to grow stronger to continue to provide services for you and the community 

Left to right: Sylvia Orozco, Danielle Houtkooper, Diana Garcia, Nikki Diaz, Sara Palma, Savannah Diaz, Jose Martinez, Andrew Anderson, Dr. George Vargas, Amber Amezquita, and Selene Bataille

Thank you! ¡Gracias, Gracias, Mil Gracias! From the Mexic-Arte Museum Team

Sylvia Orozco

Executive Director


Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands:
I am Immigrant You Are

Luis Jimenez, Cruzando el Río Bravo, 1987, Lithograph on paper, 38 3/4″ x 28 1/2″

Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands is an important part of the current exhibition Mexico, the Border, and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection, on view until August 22 at Mexic-Arte Museum, in Austin, Texas. The Sandoval Collection represents the unique distinct history and culture of the borderlands or la frontera. In keeping with our mission, the Museum’s Collection is a vehicle whereby the public can gain access to valuable information on cultural heritage and social issues through the visual arts. Humanities programs, like this one, encourage an understanding of humanity in the broader culture of Texas, and in the global community.

Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands is divided into five sections according to themes: Creating a Border; Land, Fauna, and Allegories; I am Immigrant You Are; Immigrant Dream and Nightmare; and The Culture Continues/La Cultura Sigue. Five humanities scholars
each examine a selected theme.

These are the scholars, their assigned themes, and dates of presentations:

  • Dr. John Morán González: Creating a Border, March 6, Saturday, 11am CST
  • Dr. Laura Gutiérrez: Land, Fauna, and Allegories, March 27, Saturday, 11am CST
  • Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas: I am Immigrant You Are, April 3, Saturday, 11am CST

  • Dr. Sarah Lopez: Immigrant Dream and Nightmare, April 17, Saturday, 11am CST
  • Dr. David Maciel: La Cultura Sigue, May 1, Saturday, 11am CST.

Each of the five sections is accompanied by wall text that describe the theme, helping the museum goer to better understand the content and intent of the artworks exhibited in each section. The following text I am Immigrant You Are is represented in the exhibition. Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas delivered his virtual lecture: I am Immigrant You Are: Borders, Migration, and Art – The U.S.-Mexico Experience, speaking on the history of immigration from Mexico and how artists have interpreted the immigrant experience in the U.S.

Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands: I am Immigrant You Are

Studies indicate that Homo Sapiens appear to have occupied all of Africa about 150,000 years ago; some moved out of Africa as early as 125,000 years ago into Asia, marking the beginning of migratory patterns in human beings. Migration to the Americas took place 20,000 to 15,000 years ago. Early humans migrated due to many factors, such as changing climate, landscape, and inadequate food-supply for survival. 

In the 16th century, an estimated 240,000 Europeans entered American ports. In the 19th century, over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas alone. The local populations, or Original People, were often overwhelmed by incoming settlers. The term immigration was coined in the 17th century, referring to non-warlike population movements between the emerging nation states. When people cross national borders during their migration, they are called migrants or immigrants from the perspective of the destination country.  

For almost a half-century after the annexation of Texas in 1845, the flow of immigrants was barely a trickle. In fact, there was a significant migration in the other direction: Mexican citizens left the newly annexed U.S. territories and resettled in Mexican territory. Beginning around the 1890s, new industries in the U.S. Southwest — especially mining and agriculture — attracted Mexican migrant laborers also fleeing stressed conditions under the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. The Mexican Revolution (1910 -1920) then increased the flow; war refugees and
political exiles fled to the United States to escape the violence. Mexicans also left rural areas in search of stability and employment. As a result, Mexican migration to the United States rose sharply.

During the economic depression, immigrant workers from Mexico were pushed back across the border, and when economic prosperity and labor shortages arose, the workers were pulled back in to fill the void. During World War I until 1921, the first Bracero program opened the border to Mexican field workers. In 1942, the “official” Bracero program was enacted. The program called for braceros to be guaranteed decent wages, housing, food, and exemption from military service. Though this was the agreement promised by the United States,  workers were denied for multiple reasons and were not given proper paperwork to work in America. Both  El Paso and Juárez were prominent recruitment sites.  

Geography, immigration, and displacement are common themes in Chicanx and Latinx art. Taking an activist approach, artists illustrate the historical presence of Mexicans and Original People in the Southwest, human rights abuses of undocumented immigrants, racial profiling, and the militarization of the border. Art provides a venue to challenge xenophobic stereotypes about Mexican Americans, and bring awareness to our broken immigration law and enforcement system, while simultaneously politicizing and mobilizing its audience to take action.  Another common theme is the labor exploitation in agricultural, domestic work, and service
industry jobs, particularly of the undocumented. Artists worked to politicize the community and make a call to mobilize in an effort to stop immigration raids in the workplace and boycott exploitative and oppressive corporations, while exemplifying dignity and visibility to an often- invisible working population. The U.S. has a dubious history concerning immigrants, and economic and political forces determine how they are treated according to the  “push – pull” factor.  

Immigration is much more diverse today. Migrants from Latin America during the early twentieth century came almost exclusively from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Today, immigrants come from every country in  Latin America, and even migration from Mexico has diversified: people come not only from the historical sending states in the Mexican heartland, but also from Mexico’s Gulf coast, from the southern states, and from  other areas that sent few migrants before the 1980s and 1990s. That means that Mexicans and Latin Americans are creating truly new communities in the United States – communities based around a pan-
Latin American identity, as opposed to a regional homeland identity.

Borders, Migration and Art. The U.S. Mexico Experience Lecture led by Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas

The Mexic-Arte Museum hosted “Borders, Migration and Art. The U.S. Mexico Experience” a lecture and Q&A led by Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas on Saturday, April 3rd as part of the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands. The lecture was live streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live, and moderated by Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs, Dr. George Vargas.

Mexican Mobility in Perspective: Building Futures / Closing Pathways Lecture led by Dr. Sarah Lopez

The Mexic-Arte Museum hosted “Mexican Mobility in Perspective: Building Futures / Closing Pathways”, Lecture and Q&A led by Dr. Sarah Lopez on Saturday, April 17th as part of the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands on view now via the Museum’s website. The virtual lecture was live streamed on Zoom and Facebook Live and moderated by Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs, Dr. George Vargas.

La Frontera /The Border as Reflected in the Cinematic Lens, lecture and Q&A led by Dr. David R. Maciel

The conversation continues! Join the Mexic-Arte Museum on Saturday, May 1st starting at 11am CST for the last lecture of the series, “La Frontera /The Border as Reflected in the Cinematic Lens”, lecture and Q&A led by Dr. David R. Maciel as part of the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands on view now via the Museum’s website. The virtual lecture will be live streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live and moderated by Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs, Dr. George Vargas. Participants can pre-register for the event via Zoom by filling out info and clicking the Register button on this site or simply by viewing the lecture on the Museum’s Facebook page on the day of the event. Participants will get a chance to engage in a Q&A with Dr. David R. Maciel during the last few minutes of the virtual event!

Visit the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S/Mexico Borderlands on view now!

Changarreando with David Luna: Instagram Takeover

(Closeup) David Luna, The Alchemical Lion, Traditional and Digital Media, 8” x 10 1/2″, 2020

Support our April 2021 Changarreando Artist, David Luna, as we adapt the program to a new and exciting internet feature: “Changarreando”. In the spirit of Changarrito, the pop-up mobile art gallery where artists can sell their work to the public, Changarreando with David Luna allows the artist to bring their work to you. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on original work available for purchase as well as behind the scenes of the artist’s work, space, and creative process. 

Check out the recording of the Mexic-Arte Museum’s Changarreando Instagram Live event with Artist David Luna that took place Thursday, April 29th from 5:00pm – 6:00pm CST virtually through the Museum’s Instagram account @mexic_arte! Dr. George Vargas, Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs, facilitated the virtual event with a series of questions directed at the artist including a Q&A taking place during the last 20 minutes of the event.


Ruben Urrea Moreno, Before the Migration, 2015

Artist Ruben Urrea Moreno created the print Before the Migration (2015) to pay homage to his ancestors who had migrated from Mexico to Arizona to start a new life in pursuit of the American Dream. According to Moreno, he based his print on an old photograph of his grandfather and his family posed before the Cathedral in Mexico City before their migration to the United States. Moreno’s art is featured in the section I am Immigrant You Are, as part of the current exhibition Mexico, the Border and Beyond at Mexic-Arte Museum. His artwork memorializes the immigrant experience on behalf of his family and millions of other immigrants who have endured the difficult, and sometimes dangerous, journey to seek opportunity in “el otro lado” (the other side) of the border. 

“January 15th, 1944. My grandparents in front of La Catedral, F.F., Mexico City, the four-hundred-year-old church built from the stones of the Aztec’s Templo Mayor. My father, only four years old at the time, and his brother, my namesake, an infant. They moved to Tucson, Arizona from Puebla in a mining truck that my grandfather later delivered to the Pima Copper Mines. With 1500 miles ahead of them, I can only imagine what an arduous task that was. I don’t know for sure because all four of these family members have passed on, but I wonder if they had visited La Catedral to say goodbye and pray for a safe journey. Besides wanting the reminder of where my family came from, I wanted to get to know them through this [print]: I wanted to feel how they felt that day, to feel the sun on their faces, the awe from the sheer grandeur of architecture, and maybe even the warmth of their hearts from the presence of God. Through the carving process, the image also revealed their brewing excitement, and hope for a better future. They had to have known that their diligence would add prosperity to future generations. It makes me grateful for their hard work and perseverance to arrive in America.”

 ̶  Ruben Urrea Moreno

Ruben Urrea Moreno is a painter, printmaker, graphic artist, and muralist. He is also a Senior Exhibit Preparator at Arizona State Museum at The University of Arizona. Moreno describes his background and artwork: “I am a multi-disciplinary Chicano artist/activist raised and living in Tucson, AZ. My work examines themes of human rights, cultural issues, political plights, honor, and healing all through a symbolic lens of my Mexican American and indigenous heritage. The political climate of the past five years has pushed the focus of my work towards the struggles of immigrant communities and as a result, inspired me to tell more stories of my family’s roots and honor them through the visual arts in hopes to normalize and remind people of the many ways various citizens are in fact Americans in every right.”

Before the Migration, 2015
Serigraph after Woodcut on paper, 30” x 22½”
New Grounds Print Workshop, Albuquerque, NM
Desert Triangle Print Carpeta

Thank you to Andrew Anderson, Head Preparator

Mexic-Arte Museum bids farewell to Head Preparator, Andrew Anderson. Andrew played a vital role in installing and designing Museum exhibitions, producing special events, as well as developing and coordinating Museum digital content. He will be missed as he embarks on new ventures and continues his exemplary work at Big Medium. Mexic-Arte Museum staff wishes him all the best on this new adventure!

Welcome Savannah Diaz, Registrar/ Preparator Associate

Please welcome to our new full-time Associate Registrar/Preparator! Savannah Diaz began working at the Mexic-Arte Museum as a Store Associate in 2019 and since then has taken up framing and installing the Museum’s exhibitions. As a visual artist, she also participated in Mexic-Arte Museum’s March 2020 Changarrito residency program. Savannah studied Art History and Criticism at the University of New Orleans and has worked in framing and exhibition installation in Miami, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana. She is thrilled to be working with the collection and her colleagues full-time! 


Mother’s Day Family Day Workshop

Sunday, May 9th from 1pm – 3pm/ In-person Activity at the Mexic-Arte Museum

Free Admission Masks Required

The Mexic-Arte Museum will host a free Family Day on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 9th. The Education Department will provide a cyanotype card making activity inspired by Changarrito artist, Cynthia Jane Trevino. Treviño is an artist, educator and Tejana from San Antonio, Texas. In her own words, she states, “My work is a mix of travel and street photography. I enjoy documenting people and places of diverse cultures. I like to explore Chicana/Tejana studies, family history, ancestor worship and women’s empowerment.” Cynthia holds a BFA in Visual Art Studies and MA in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin. Trevino assisted the Education Department with a lesson in creating cyanotypes. A cyanotype is created through a printing process that produces a dark blue-or cyan-colored print. Unlike traditional photography, a darkroom is not necessary because the image is created by placing objects directly on photosensitive paper and then exposing it to the sun. Mexic-Arte Museum’s Education staff will host the activity for free at the Museum on Sunday, May 9th from 1pm to 3pm CST. Materials will be provided by the Education Department. Families can create their very own cyanotype card to give your mother figure on Mother’s Day.  


Interns Learned and Thrived at the Museum

The Mexic-Arte Museum would like to thank our hard working interns. This last year has been difficult for everyone, but we have been incredibly fortunate to work with a dedicated group of students who put their all into their work here at the Museum. This Spring semester, the Museum was lucky enough to have seven interns working in tandem with the Museum staff. We would like to thank Marketing and PR intern Daniella Gonzalez, Development intern Amy L. Whang, Curatorial intern Kenzie Grogan, and Collections interns Brittany Mendez, Chloe Powers, John Henry Hayes, and Marissa Talamantes. We wish them luck as they continue their education, and transition into their careers. We look forward to seeing all of the amazing things they will accomplish!

 (From Left to Right: Amy, Chloe, Kenzie, Daniella, Marissa. Not pictured: John Henry and Brittany) 

Become A Member

Not a member yet? Let’s change that! Be a part of the Mexic-Arte community and become a member today. Members receive exclusive offers and opportunities, first looks at exhibitions, and more. Memberships start at just $35, check out our Membership page on the website today. 


Thank you Texas Mutual!

Thank you Texas Mutual for your continued support!

“We’re proud to be on the job with hardworking Texans like Sylvia Orozco to help keep her and her team at Mexic-Arte Museum safe. While Sylvia has learned new skills as a result of the pandemic, her commitment to safety remains the same. Watch Sylvia’s story to see how the Museum adapted to create a safe work environment with our support.”

EASTSide Magazine: Holding Space {Mexic-Arte}

Mexic-Arte gives voice to Mexican and Latin American culture in Austin.
Words by Janine Stankus Photos by Eric Morales


Mother’s Day Collection

Shop our Mother’s Day collection and show querida mami some amor. Browse through greeting cards, hand-made jewelry and apparel. Shop in-store and online!

Thank you to Our Sponsors

The Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands

An online exhibition and lecture series are made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Learn more about the Mexic-Arte Museum

Exhibition and Art Education Programs Support: 3M, AeroMexico, Ampersand Art Supply, Trey Andrade, Applied Materials, Austin Community Foundation/Stand with Austin, Austin Convention Center, Austin Independent School District Creative Classrooms, Austin Latino Coalition, Charles Beckman, Michael Best, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Brown Foundation, Brown Distributing Company, Dr. Frank Cardenas, City of Austin Community Youth Development Program, Clay Imports, Endeavor Real Estate Group, Fonda San Miguel, Tom Gilliland, Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, Juan J Gutierrez and Rosa K Gutierrez, H-E-B, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Hendler Flores Law, Humanities Texas, Junior League of Austin, JP Peace Love & Happiness Foundation, Mickey and Jeanne Klein, Ann McEldowney, Mindpop, National Endowment for the Arts, Ingrid and James Taylor, Mike Taylor, Michael Torres, Serie Print Project,  Morgan Stanley, Efficient Steel, Bettina & Travis Mathis,  Elizabeth Rogers, Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr., Rosa Santis & Pedro SS Services, Marina Sifuentes,  Susto Mezcal, Texas Mutual, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Delia Sifuentes, Texas Gas Service, Texas Commission on the Arts, Tribeza, Univision 62, Univision Radio, Lola Wright Foundation, and Jane & Manuel Zuniga.