From the Director
Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Mas en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s Marks a Historic Achievement
Mexic-Arte Museum inaugurated with tremendous pride and joy, Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Mas en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s with over five hundred guests viewing the exhibit throughout the evening. It was a reunion of artists, activists, professors, musicians, poets, cultural workers, lowriders, La Raza, La Comunidad y mas! We laughed; we hugged, we danced; we reminisced what we experienced and created more than forty years ago – the beginning of Chicano/a art, cultura and our centros in Austin. We refelt las ganas, the hope and dreams that inspired all of us to pick up the paintbrush, the accordion, the pen, the camera and simultaneously hit the streets with the protest signs in one hand and hope in the other to create a better world for nuestra gente. We were young, full of energy and packed with ideas of how we could make a place para la gente, para los niños.
On April 8, 2022, we were together again rejoicing and dancing to the música de Conjunto Aztlan founded in the 1970s and tapping our feet to Chulita Vinyl Club the new generation of musicians in the mist of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, poems, books, posters documents – all evidence of history of our victories and our struggles.
Los artistas were here – some in person and some in spirit, many who studied art at The University of Texas at Austin, Tito Aguirre, M.A. Ambray Gonzales, Alicia Arredondo, Alicia Barraza, Santa Barraza, Sam Coronado, Nancy de los Santos, Nora González Dodson, Carolina Flores, Rey Gaytan, Carmen Lomas Garza, Mary Jane Garza, Marsha Gomez, Luis Guerra, Juan Pablo Gutierrez, Luis Gutierrez, Bruce Harnett, Bill Leissner, Sylvia Orozco, Janis Palma, Amado Peña, Yolanda Petrocelli, Alan Pogue, Pio Pulido, Manuel “Chaca” Ramirez, Pedro Rodriguez, Vicente “Chente” Rodriguez, Marta Sanchez, José Treviño, Modesta Treviño, and Raul Valdez, and murals by the next generation Master Muralist Amado Castillo III with Amado Castillo IV.
The musicians, poets, collectors, gatherers of history also attended including Juan Tejeda and the Conjunto Aztlan, Jose Flores, Clemencia Zapata, Victor Guerra, Raquel and David Elizondo, Gilbert and Jane Rivera, Martha and Juan Cotera, Gil Cardenas and Dolores Carrillo Garcia, Maggie Rivas, Brown Berets and other community members. The Austin Lowriding car club in shining styled autos of the 1960s and 70s welcomed crowds outside.
Maestro Pedro Meyer graciously accepted our invitation to attend the opening reception once again as he had in 1979. Maestro Meyer, the prominent photographer, artist and visual historian who forty-three years before, captured all of us at the first international Chicano Mexicano Conferencia Plástica Chicano in Austin. His 1979 photos LINK HERE to video of photos flashed on the screen reminding us of our youth and aspirations. In organizing this exhibit, Modesta Treviño quickly reminded us that Pedro Meyer, then Presidente del Consejo de Fotografia, was one of the artists that participated in and documented the entire Conferencia in photos. As an archeologist that uncovers the past, after contacting Pedro Meyer Archive and reconnecting with Maestro Meyer, we discovered the photos of the Conferencia Plástica Chicana in the Archivo Pedro Meyer. To celebrate Maestro Meyer’s visionary work, the Maestro along with the photographers, Elena Rosales and Gabriela Olmedo were invited to Austin to attend this historic event.
Austin Council Member Pio Renteria on behalf of Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council of Austin, Texas presented the Title of Honorary Resident to Pedro Meyer for his contribution and documentation of Austin’s history. In accepting this honor, Maestro Meyer commented on his photos as an archive:
“Taking pictures is not really the important thing. It’s finding them 43 years later. The importance is the archive. I mention this because what you are doing here is an archive for future generations, and I think that this is significantly as important as the art itself. Because if you don’t preserve the image and find it and have records, it wasn’t worth having had done it in the first place. So, I think that everything gets lost, unless it is found again. And that is why, Sylvia made such a deep impression on me 43 years ago. Although, she was a small young kid which she is still in some degree….so thank you very much for inviting us. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m profoundly impressed with what you have accomplished, and the effort that it needs with all those years is truly represented here and I hope no one takes it for granted. It takes a lot of effort, and all of you and this collective effort shows, so thank you very much for inviting us. I will cherish this very much, as a memory, and friendship and the importance of looking out after each other.”
Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Mas en Austen, Tejas documents the past but it also inspires hundreds to thousands of people viewing the exhibit today. Organizations flourished out of the efforts of the artists and community members – CASA, Chicano Art Student Association; MAS, Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste; CMAS, the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT; Ballet Folklorico Aztlán, Roy Lozano ’s Ballet Folklórico, Diseño Studios, Galería Sin Fronteras were products of that time. La Pena, Mexic-Arte Museum later developed and continue today in the day-to-day lucha to establish dignified places for nuestra cultura, para toda la comunidad. “We will always be here.” A woman commented in response in 1983 when asked her opinion of the wrecker ball hitting the face of the indigenous woman depicted on the Los Elementos mural by Raul Valdez on the Juarez Lincoln Building where LUChA was housed. We repeat this today. We will always be here – Nuestra cultura will always be here. From the bottom de mi corazon – a heartfelt thank you to all the artists, collectors, sponsors and Mexic-Arte Museum team for making a reality, Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Mas en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s, the first exhibition to document the Chicano/a art movement in Austin.
Creating a Cultural Context
As viewers enter Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s they are confronted by striking photographs of protest. When looking at the photographs coupled with explanatory text, we begin to grasp an understanding of the turbulent times that surrounded the Chicano art movement in Austin.
The earliest photographs in this section of the exhibition concern the economy furniture strike that began on November 27, 1968. This strike against the Economy Furniture Company lasted for twenty-eight months to gain collective bargaining with Economy, one of the largest suppliers of furniture in the southwest. Eventually the strikers were successful, achieving a guarantee of annual wage increases, seniority, overtime, additional vacation, and other benefits including up to $13,500 in back pay per worker. This victory was a powerful step for the Chicano movement and showed how, collectively, the Chicano community was able to come together to acquire real change towards a more equitable society. This section includes photographs by Alan Pogue, an award-winning photographer based in Austin.
Another large protest movement that was taking place on behalf of just labor practices was a push for equity in farm labor. On February 26, 1977, members of the Texas Farm Workers Union (TFW) and supporters began a 420 miles march from San Juan, Texas, a town near the Texas/Mexico border, to Austin, Texas. The TFW organized the March for Human Rights to bring awareness to unjust labor practices placed upon farm workers and to gain political support for collective bargaining rights legislation. The journey to Austin took nearly two months and ended at the capitol. The march was captured by several Austin-based photographers and artists, some featured in this section. In June, the group headed to Washington, D.C. to continue their journey for better treatment. This section includes photographs by Luis Gutierrez, Yolanda Petrocelli, and Alan Pogue.
A push for just labor practices was not the only concern of the Chicano movement in Austin or nationally. A battle against personal and systemic racism was also at the lead of the Chicano movements’ priorities. In the 1970s and 1980s the Klu Klux Klan staged a march to the Texas State Capitol Building in protest of immigration policies. Film and photo documentation from the time captures Klan members dressed in hooded robes walking down Congress Avenue among counter protestors. The photographs featured in this exhibition encourage us to face this group and ask ourselves, in the light of renewed racial division in the United State: Have things really changed or not since those precarious times? This section includes photographs by Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue, and Gilbert Rivera.
Systemic racial injustice was also at issue with the Chicano movement in Austin. One of the ways that this racism presented itself in these times was in the form of police brutality. In 1977 Jose “Joe” Campo Torres, an American Vietnam Veteran was killed by police officers. None of the six officers responsible for the death of Torres were charged with murder and were, at most, initially given one year of probation. This inequality in the legal system motivated Chicanos to protest in Houston and Austin. The protest in Austin is captured in this section. These protests eventually led to the greater police oversight and change. This section includes photographs by Sylvia Orozco, Nancy de los Santos, and Gilbert Rivera.
The last grouping of photographs in this section also connects to an Austin battle against systemic racism. In the 1960s and 1970s East Austin’s Town Lake was home to “Aqua Fest” a speed boat race competition held over the course of three weekends a year. The amount of noise, increased traffic, and trash left behind by event goers led the East Austin community, a predominately Mexican American community, to push for the event to be canceled. In 1979 a protest against the boat races between east Austin community residents and boat race supporters turned violent when police officers and boat race supporters fought against the east Austin residents. This violence, much of it captured on film by a local news organization led to that being the last year the boat races were held. This section includes several photos by Manuel “Chaca” Ramirez and Alan Pogue.
This time of turbulence, violence, progress, and radical change has been captured in the photographs of this section and on film. As you look at the photographs in this section, see how then, as in now, protest, unity and a commitment to social justice can make your life, community, country, and world a better, more equitable place.
Upcoming Changarrito with Karla García in June
Support the upcoming June 2022 Changarrito Artist, Karla García! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on García’s posts that lead to the Instagram Live interview that takes place virtually through the Museum’s Instagram account @mexic_arte on June 30, 2022.
About the Artist: Karla García is a Mexican born, American-based artist that creates installations and sculptures with clay, found objects, and other symbolic materials about her Mexican heritage and migration. Her research-based artwork is a connecting point from her own history, ancient histories, and how these shape her identity, noting that, “I hope that my work can be a catalyst for the public to experience a little bit of our human history in unexpected ways.”
Artist Statement: Migration is often times a necessity for a better life. As individuals, we carry the memories of our homes, friendships, and our own unique stories. This body of work is a continuation of my previous explorations of migration and memory. My work is rooted in the desert landscapes of the cities I grew up in Mexico and the United States. Cacti plants are translated into organic sculptures made with terracotta clay. The sculptural forms connect the plant, the body, and earth, vary in scale, and represent memories that have been eroded by time.
Selections from the Permanent Collection
Pedro Meyer Donates El Diablo y la Reyna de America
This photograph was taken by the prominent photographer, educator, editor, curator, and author Pedro Meyer. In 1979 a contingent of Mexican artists and scholars were brought together by Sylvia Orozco to go to Austin to attend and participate in the Conferencia Plástica Chicana. This conference was the first international conference that convened Mexican, Latin American, and Chicano artists and art professionals. This conference was carried out with the intention of bringing together these communities, sharing ideas, sharing art, and advancing new concepts. This conference was followed by an exhibition titled 10 x 10 in 1981, which focused on ten Mexican photographers and traveled to four U.S. cities; Austin, Texas, San Francisco, California, Los Angeles, California, and New York, New York. 10 x 10 was coordinated by and primarily sponsored by LUChA (The League of United Chicano Artists). The connections continued with Sylvia Orozco and Pio Pulido acting as international relations for the exhibition.
More than four decades since the Conferencia Plástica Chicana, the relationship between Mexican American, Latin American, and Chicano/a artists continues as this photograph, El Diablo y la Reyna de America is featured prominently in Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s and has been donated by Pedro Meyer to enter Mexic-Arte Museum’s permanent collection.
Welcome Maia Castillo, the New Mexic-Arte Digital Media Associate!
Recently graduating from St. Edward’s University with a BA in Photography and Media Arts with a minor in Graphic Design. They have decided to continue their career at Mexic-Arte. Previously introduced as the Graphic Design intern in February Maia is now the new Digital Media Associate. Maia hopes to continue to grow in an environment that can foster creativity and learn more about the history and art works at the Museum.
Raul Valdez “Muralist at Work”
As part of the current Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s exhibition, Mexic-Arte Museum is hosting live painting of a mural progression from local Chicano Muralist Raul Valdez. Raul Valdez is one of the featured artists in the exhibit; he is one of the original Austin muralists during the Chicano movement’s peak in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.The next live painting date will be on Sunday June 5, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sundays are free admission.
Guided Tours Learn about Chicano Art
As summer returns to Austin again, Mexic-Arte welcomes visitors from all over the country. Families, museum professionals, and groups within the Austin community have enjoyal guided tours of Mexic–Arte’s current exhibit: Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s. Recent visitors include Curator Mari Carmen Ramírez, along with Latin Maecenas from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; a group from the Westminster: Senior Living Community in Austin; Mayor Jose Maria Frausto Siller and the Saltillo Delegation; and Claudia Zapata, Curatorial Assistant, Latinx Art Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery and Patty Arteaga, from the National Museum of American History and many schools. Our tours provide an engaging way to expose all age groups to current exhibitions. They are a fun opportunity to learn about traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latinx, and Chicanx art from knowledgeable staff; tours can be scheduled through our website!
In May Mexic-Arte’s Screen It! program finished printmaking lessons with students at Harmony School of Excellence and Hillcrest Elementary School. Since September, Screen It! has partnered with art classes at Hillcrest Elementary, Houston Elementary, Mendez Middle School, Ojeda Middle School, Akins High School, Harmony School of Excellence, and more. Throughout the school year, students who participated in Screen It! learned how to create personalized designs and screen printed their designs onto their own apparel. Students also learned fundamentals of drawing, stamp printing, and cyanotype techniques. We send our deepest gratitude to all our partner schools who helped make this year back in the classrooms so wonderful and productive!
Participate in the Summer Camp!
Mexic-Arte Museum’s education department is preparing to hold multiple summer camps in June through August for youth of all ages. In July, Mexic-Arte’s Screen It! program will host its annual Nuestra Lucha printmaking summer camp. The Nuestra Lucha camp will span over two weeks, during which youth will learn printmaking techniques to create a personal statement poster. The youth will have an opportunity to display their completed posters from the summer camp at the Downtown Austin Central Public Library in the Fall of 2022. Nuestra Lucha camp is free and open to youth ages 10-18. For more information contact
Welcome Luisa Pérez, the New Mexic-Arte Education Associate!
Luisa Fernanda Pérez is a native of Ciudad Juárez, México; she recently graduated from The University of Houston with a Master’s Degree in Art History. During her time at UH, Luisa Fernanda was a fellow at the Center for Mexican American and Latino/a Studies, an Assistant Art Editor for Gulf Coast Journal, and a Fellow at the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (ICAA). Her research areas include Latinx, Latin American art, disability studies, and engaged pedagogy.
Mexic-Arte Museums violence prevention education outreach program amArte held the 6th workshop of the fiscal year this month. The workshop workshop included advanced art classes with Mr. Pleitez at Bedichek Middle School. The workshop was led by Master a]Artist Esteban Marquez, who is a Design Director and Alex Diamantis, Product Designer at Funsize Co. a digital service & product design agency in Austin, Texas. This was a Social Justice Emoji Design workshop where youth studied and reflected on the design and utility of emojis in contemporary language as well as their ability to transcend languages and cultures using simple shapes to portray emotions. Youth created analog emojis strictly using construction paper shapes to reflect how vectors work in design with the goal of creating an original emoji depicting one of six social justice topics provided.
Thank You Everyone for Taste of Mexico 2022!
And for Supporting Mexic-Arte Museum’s Art Education Programs
Thank you to all the guests, restaurants, beverage purveyors and sponsors for making Taste of Mexico 2022 a success.This cultural celebration of Cinco de Mayo invited guests to generously sample creative cuisines Austin’s most eclectic and exciting restaurants, food trucks, and beverage purveyors. This year’s Taste of Mexico explored the influence of chiles; the vast variety of tastes, colors, and shapes that make up the dishes of Mexico. Guests enjoyed food samples, music by DJ uLOVEi, Mariachi Chavez Inspiration and art activities!
This year’s line up included Artemisa’s Tacos, Cruzteca Mexican Kitchen, La Cantina Truck, Qué Sazón, Comedor, Mour Cafe, SRSLY Chocolate, Asador Tacos, La Santa Barbacha, Mellizoz Tacos, Tacos Guerrero, El Dorado Cafe, Las Lomas Tex-Mex Cantina, ¡Hola Aloha!, Dulce Vida Tequila, Austin Aguas Frescas (Austin AF), Proeza Tequila, Paco Jones, SEXTO Tequila, SUSTO Tequila, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Ensenada, Curra’s Grill, Cabonero Tequila, Licha’s Cantina, Chula’s Salsas, Gabriela’s Downtown, Austin Churro Co., Maudies Tex Mex, Simar Seafood Cocina, Pera, H-E-B, Llama Kid, and La Costeñita Distributors.
Taste of Mexico serves to support Mexic-Arte Museum’s art education programs. Over the past thirty-eight years, the Museum has empowered Austin youth through its exemplary art education programs, family days, internships, tours, and the Screen It! Program, which introduces youth to basic screen printing techniques and careers in the art field. Screen It! received the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, a project of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities presented by Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama. Participants experienced Screen It! through the hands on activities provided by the Education Associates that included printing tote bags, koozies and stickers. Everyone had lots of fun!
Thank you to the Gente Chicana/SOYmos Chicanos Fund
Mexic-Arte Museum is thrilled to announce we are the recipients of a $3000 grant from the Gente Chicana/SOYmos Chicanos Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation established by Enrique E. Figueroa, Ph.D. The generous grant will support Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Mas en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s. Thank you so much!
The Gente Chicana/SOYmos Chicanos Fund was established by Dr. Enrique Figueroa for the purpose of bringing forth recognition, practice, understanding or appreciation of Chicano art. When talking about what inspired him to start this fund, he shared, “In the mid 1970’s, we started a Teatro in Sacra, Califas that we named, Teatro Suspiro del Barrio. As such, we became affiliated with the Royal Chicano Air Force, RCAF – I got my RCAF ‘wings’ in 1976. Since then, I have read a good amount of Chicano literature and history, and started appreciating Chicano arts. Many years ago, I decided that when I could, I would do what I could to support Chicano/a arts, broadly defined.”
New in the Mexic-Arte Museum Store: Chicano/a Merch!
Check out new merch from our current exhibit Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s including a CD from Conjunto Aztlan which contains 16 tracks of pura poesía y música del Movimiento Chicano. Choose from books, patches, and more!
Thank you to Our Sponsors
The Gente Chicana/SOYmos Chicanos Fund
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 S[[[S 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.