Photo by Bryan Lara

Miembros Newsletter: December 2021

From the Director

2021 Was a Great Year – We Appreciate You!

We are so grateful to you, our supporters who inspired and made accomplishments and successes in 2021 possible. Mexic-Arte Museum relies on support from the community to provide high quality exhibitions, vibrant cultural events, and inspiring education services. Your contributions have allowed us to serve the growing number of youth and families in Austin this year through in person and online programming. We invite you to make your end of the year donation to Mexic-Arte Museum and support the art exhibitions and award-winning education programs that strengthen the community!

January 2021
Remembering Our Friend, Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. 

February 2021
Welcome Back to the Museum

March 2021
Spring is Here! There’s Art for Everyone

April 2021
A Big Thank You to Our Sponsors During the Year of the Pandemic!

May 2021
Mexic-Arte Museum to Host Its First In-Person Performance of the Year: A TransfronterizXperience

June 2021
Enjoying Getting Back to Normal

July 2021
Join Us for the Summer Reception!

August 2021
The Fall Season Brings A New Exhibition

September 2021
MX21 Opens with Enthusiasm & Sept. 17th Proclaimed Mexic-Arte Museum Day!

October 2021
You are invited to Viva la Vida Fest 2021 at Mexic-Arte Museum & Visit the Fest – Goes Virtual on the website for more!

November 2021
Mexic-Arte Museum’s 38th Annual Viva la Vida 2021- Goes Virtual! Celebrated In-Person and Online

Happy Holidays and Thank You So Much!  

Executive Director

Sylvia Orozco


Welcome, Isabel Servantez, Mexic-Arte Museum Curator Of Exhibitions and Programs

Photo by Sara Palma

Isabel Servantez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where he attended The University of Texas at San Antonio for his B.A. in Art History. He received his M.A. in modern and contemporary Art History from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His graduate studies focused on Chicano art, particularly the work of San Francisco Bay area artist Malaquias Montoya, whose artwork is in Mexic-Arte Museum’s permanent collection. His master’s thesis is titled Creating an Intersectional Chicano Art: The Work of Malaquias Montoya. Since completing his graduate studies, Isabel has continued research, writing and curatorial focus on Chicana/o/x and Latinx art. Most recently he completed the yearlong Semmes Foundation Internship in Museum Studies at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio where he co-curated the exhibition The Art of SA Eats / Sabor a San Antonio, which is currently on display. He is excited to start working at Mexic-Arte Museum and to begin learning more about the Austin art community.

MX 21-Resistance, Reaffirmation & Resilience Exhibition 

Now through February 27, 2022

Santa Barraza
Codex of Trinity, 1993
Acrylic on Canvas, 51 5/8″ x 48 5/8″
Santa Barraza
Codex of Sacred Heart, 1993
Acrylic on Canvas, 51 1/4″ x 48 1/2″

Throughout 2021, Mexico is observing and commemorating major events in history: the falling of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán, the invasion by Spain, and the Independence of Mexico. Mexic-Arte Museum presents an exhibition and programs in conjunction with Mexico’s  2021 events, and reaffirms our common cultural history.

The exhibition MX 21-Resistance, Reaffirmation & Resilience is divided into three sections: Resistance, Reaffirmation, and ResilienceResistance refers to the Original Peoples resisting the Spanish invasion and occupation of Mexico, which was really not “conquered.” Reaffirmation speaks to affirming the unique history and cultural diversity of our shared heritage. Resilience represents the on-going evolution of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and other Latinx peoples, despite and because of struggles to achieve liberty, social justice, and plurality. Invited artists respond to these themes to help the public better understand and appreciate how Mexico’s history has impacted and inspired our shared U.S.- Mexico cultural history in the Americas, as Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinx peoples.

Participating artists include Luis Abreux, Santa Barraza, Cande Aguilar, Angel Cabrales, Tomas Filsinger, Eduardo Garcia, Tita Griesbach, Mari Hernandez, Michael Menchaca, Delilah Montoya, Juan Navarrete, Yelaine Rodriguez, Sergio Sanchez Santamaria, Andy Villarreal, “Kill Joy”, and artwork from the Mexic-Arte Museum Permanent Collection.

The goal is to participate in Mexico’s remembrance, and at the same time, reflect on history and current reality here in the U.S., reclaiming and reaffirming shared heritage and experiences through the work of contemporary artists. Public programming includes lectures sponsored by Humanities Tx.  


Resiliency springs from adaptation to, and under, the most difficult situations. Communities reshape themselves and the environment in response to adverse elements. This is the very definition of self-determination. Using symbols such as the black eagle helped raise awareness of social issues. Aztlán unified the Mexican Americans under a term of inheritance of land and culture. The imagery articulated cultural and historical identities through connections to indigenous heritage, religious icons, revolutionary leaders, and current life. Some iconography included Quetzalcoatl, Emiliano Zapata, Coatlicue, undocumented workers, La Virgen de Guadalupe and others. Art today continues as an activist endeavor, challenging the social constructions of racial/ethnic discrimination, citizenship and nationality, labor exploitation, and traditional gender roles in effort to create social change.

Activism often took form in representing alternative narratives to the dominant through the development of historical consciousness, illustrations of injustices and indignities, and evolution of a sense of belonging within the United States. Art provides a venue to challenge xenophobic stereotypes about Mexicanos and Latinx, bringing awareness to the broken immigration law and enforcement system, while simultaneously politicizing and mobilizing its audience to take action. Latinx artists put stronger emphasis on working-class struggles as both a labor and civil rights issue, and recognize the importance of developing strong symbols that represented the movement’s efforts. A good example of this is the eagle flag of the United Farm Workers, exemplifying dignity and visibility to an often-invisible working population that continues to be used by artists.

Other artists embrace Nepantla. Nepantla is used in Chicanx and Latinx anthropology, social commentary, criticism, literature and art. It represents a concept of “in-between-ness.” Nepantla is a Nahuatl word, which means “in the middle of it” or “middle.” It is a term first used by Nahuas. The Florentine Codex preserves the knowledge of the “ilamatlācah” or wise old women: “We travel along a mountain ridge while we live on earth, an abyss yawning on either side. If you stray too far one way or the other, you will fall away. Only by keeping to the middle way does one walk on and live.” The concept of being “in between” was useful to describe how the experience felt, and created their own “in between” culture. Nepantla also refers to living in the borderlands or being at literal or metaphorical crossroads, living within two different “worlds” or “cultures”. In the arts, Nepantla is a creator’s imaginary world that encompasses historical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life.

Santa Barraza paints bold representations of Nepantla, a mythic “Land Between.” The term was first used by Nahuatl-speaking people of Mexico in the 16th century to describe their situation vis-à-vis the Spanish colonizers in their midst. Her work depicts the historical, emotional, and spiritual land between Mexico and Texas, between the real and the celestial, and between present reality and the mythic world of the ancient Aztecs and Mayas.

“Nepantla could also represent the ‘in-between-ness’ of Latinos, like myself, who are reclaiming and embracing their newfound Native American heritage and Indigenous ways,” she says.

Over her career, Barraza has explored what it means to be a Chicana. Using a variety of media, she has embarked on an artistic journey full of family portraits, dream scenes, artist’s books, prints, and murals, harkening back to a pre-Columbian past. Learn more about Santa Barraza and her artwork by exploring the exhibition virtually below.

Outside of imaginary worlds, 3-D images, projections, augmented reality are predicting and envisioning the future beyond the earth; expeditions into new worlds and universes, multiple visions and diverse versions – both in quest of advancement and inevitably in pursuit of wealth. New frontiers exist in the universe, frontiers where no man, woman or non-binary person has traveled. Today space rockets, not sail ships, transport the new adventurers. The future will reveal whether the “new worlds” will be embraced, befriended, or as in the past, invaded and exploited.

Mix ‘n’ Mash Las Flores – La Vida Exhibition

Now through February 6, 2022

Photos by Sara Palma

Mexic-Arte Museum hosted an opening reception for the current exhibition, Mix ‘n’ Mash Las Flores – La Vida. Mix ‘n’ Mash on Friday, December 10, 2021 along with an exhibition Art Sale, Las Flores – La Vida. The exhibition will be on view now through February 6, 2022. This group exhibition displays artworks from over 200 local and regional artists created on quality panels donated by Ampersand Art Supply. Special thanks to Elaine Salazar and Ampersand for supporting Mexic-Arte Museum since 2009 and Dana Brown for the pop-up demo and activity table. The art sale not only increases awareness about the visual arts and art collecting in the community, but also provides funding for the Museum’s exhibitions, supports educational programming for children and adults, and sustains upkeep and care of the permanent collection; this year’s theme is flowers and life. We want to thank all visitors, featured DJ, Y2K, drink sponsor Milestone Brands LLC, tamales by Curra’s Grill, churros by La Mexicana Bakery, and ice cream by La Costeñita for making the event unforgettable!

2021 Theme: Las Flores – La Vida

Flowers have had a significant role in the myths of Mexican people since pre-Hispanic times to the present. The symbolic meaning of flowers is prominent throughout ancient Mesoamerican thought and practice. Flowers could represent anything from beauty and creation to death and destruction. Offerings of flowers were placed on the statues of deities. Flowers were an important feature in many ceremonies. Much of the ancient symbolism and some of the actual practices of arranging and using flowers have continued to the present day in Mexico.

Flowers in Ancient Mexico

“In ancient Mexico, flora represented life, death, gods, creation, man, language, song and art, friendship, lordship, the captive in war, the war itself, the heaven, Earth, and a calendrical sign. It accompanied one from conception and birth until burial. Obviously, the flower was one of the basic elements in pre-Hispanic symbolic communication. Like the quetzal feather and jade bead, it was synonymous with “precious.” Doris Heyden,  Mythology and Symbolism of Flora in pre-Hispanic Mexico (1983).


Nacimiento Tradicional de Tonala

Artist Unknown
Nativity Scene, 1990s
Burnished ceramic
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection
Donated by Polly and Don Johnson

This large-scale nativity scene, or nacimiento, from Tonalá (located near Guadalajara) is an impressive example of the pottery-making tradition of the Tonalá region, where ceramics have been produced for hundreds of years. Clay deposits in this area of Mexico produce naturally rich brown, yellow, red, and gray clay, providing ample raw materials from which skillful hands create their art. The opaque style and the knowledge of traditional techniques, such as the distinctive glazing and burnishing practices (burnishing describes the rubbing of clay to make it shiny), are passed down through generations of families. Artisans are often unknown beyond their own communities or regions.

The traditional nativities of Mexico popularized during the 18th century were constructed using diverse materials and methods. Missionaries often encouraged indigenous artisans to create nativities made from materials that reflected their own regional cultures in order to personalize Christian practices. In the 18th century, nacimientos often depicted regional features and customs of everyday life in addition to their religious subjects. It was not uncommon to see The Holy Family and other figures dressed in contemporary garb, or to see individuals like street vendors, water carriers or farmers in a nativity scene. The natural resources within a particular region and the skills and specialties of its artisans also greatly affected the look of each nativity scene. In Mexican regions with strong ceramic traditions such as Tonala, Jalisco, nativity scenes made of clay outnumber those made of wood or other materials.


Introducing the New Education Program – amArte

Photos by Jose Martinez

amArte is Mexic-Arte Museum’s new education outreach program funded by Austin Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention. amArte will coordinate with local master artists to plan and execute unique workshops at high schools in the east Austin area. One workshop will be held per month, explaining how amArte is Mexic-Arte’s way to keep being an asset to the community as gentrification grows and makes that an incremental challenge each year. The Museum partnered with local chef and culinary artist Mariana Nuño-Ruiz, who has spent eight-years researching and developing her cookbook “Dining with the Dead” that focuses on Día de los Muertos traditional recipes and heavily highlights the history and research to each recipe’s origin, indigenous roots, and diverse interpretations from region to region. This workshop was held at Alicia Fischweicher’s advanced culinary classes at Del Valle High School. The workshop aimed at spotlighting the power to create coalition, empathy, hope, health, prosperity, and peace between cultures via nourishment. Mariana and the Mexic-Arte Museum Education team chose to focus specifically on tamales for their deep rich history and relevance in contemporary culture using precolonial and nontraditional tamal recipes. Each class was divided into 4 teams and each team created a class set of tamales, huitlacoche, cacao, uchepos, and acelgas y queso fresco.


Photo by Jose Martinez

Canyon High School from New Braunfels was the standout tour of the month. Jackson Wolek’s Spanish Club was ecstatic, curious, and engaged throughout the MX 21-Resistance, Reaffirmation & Resilience and a memorable first encounter with downtown Austin and the Mexic-Arte Museum for most of the youth. If you are interested in tours and field trip planning reach out to

Screen It!

Screen It! is Mexic-Arte Museum’s longest running education outreach program. Screen It! has served over 250 youth this semester alone! Screen It! is offered as a free supplemental education service to schools in the Dove Springs area (78744) and can be purchased for your class outside of Dove springs for reasonable rates. It has always focused on screen printing unique original one of a kind designs youth create on t-shirts we provide for them to keep and cherish as a memento of a newly learned profitable trade skill. This semester we visited Akins High School with teachers Eric Canon, Lora Alaniz, Sarah  Barrentine, and Allyson Sheppard. We also worked with James Monfries art class at Mendez Middle School, Starr Taylor’s art classes at Widen Elementary school, Linda Chiapa’s art students at Houston Elementary School, Maureen Kromer’s Art classes at Hillcrest Elementary School, amongst other partner schools! If you are interested in having Screen It! for your youth contact .


Join us for the Catrina Gala Dinner 2022 Las Flores-La Vida

You are invited to the Catrina Gala Dinner 2022 Las Flores-La Vida.

This year, proceeds from the Gala will benefit our award winning education programs, and Museum operations. The Catrina Gala is a spirited annual benefit recognizing Mexic-Arte Museum’s present accomplishments in visual arts and art education. We commemorate the Museum’s 37 years of presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions, award-winning education programs, and unique cultural events. The event is designed to bring a festive, delightful experience and includes informative programming and an art auction.

Flowers have had a significant role in the myths of Mexican people since pre-Hispanic times to the present. The symbolic meaning of flowers is prominent throughout ancient Mesoamerican thought and practice. Flowers could represent anything from beauty and creation to death and destruction. Offerings of flowers were placed on the statues of deities. Flowers were an important feature in many ceremonies. Much of the ancient symbolism and some of the actual practices of arranging and using flowers have continued to the present day in Mexico.

The Gala will celebrate with flowers in art, food, and music. We encourage dressing up with Catrina makeup and flowers, making for an artful evening.

If you would like to sponsor the Gala, please contact Development Coordinator Danielle Houtkooper at . To view the sponsorship packet, please visit our website

Give the Gift of Membership or Become a Museum Member for the New Year!

Photo by Bryan Lara

Celebrate the New Year by becoming a Member of the Mexic-Arte community. End of year giving is a great way to wrap up the year. You can support the Mexic-Arte Museum by becoming a Member. To celebrate the holidays, you can now get an Individual membership for $35. You can also give the gift of a membership today! Members get unlimited free entry to exhibitions, and to opening and closing receptions. We thank you for your support!


View Mix ‘n’ Mash in the Mexic-Arte Museum Online Store

Flor Medina 
Bugambilia ATX, 2021 
Oil on 12″ x 12″ Gessoboard
Jennifer Contreras 
No Me Destruyas Más, 2021. 
Acrylic on 12″ x 12″ Gessoboard

Browse the Las Flores – La Vida Mix ‘n’ Mash collection online and purchase artworks with part of the proceeds benefiting the artists and the Museum’s exhibitions and programs! Mexic-Arte Museum’s annual Mix ‘n’ Mash exhibition is a fundraising event featuring the works of local artists. Created on quality panels donated by Ampersand Art Supply, each limited-edition Mix ‘n’ Mash artwork is uniquely crafted for the exhibition.

Thank you to Our Sponsors

Learn more about the Mexic-Arte Museum

Exhibition and Art Education Programs Support: 3M, AeroMexico, Ampersand Art Supply, Applied Materials, Austin Convention Center, Austin Independent School District Creative Classrooms, 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, GTOPS, Hendler Flores Law, Humanities Texas, Junior League of Austin, JP Peace Love & Happiness Foundation, 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.