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Mexic Arte Museum

419 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX

Phone: 512 480 9373

Statement of Purpose

Mexic-Arte Museum's goal is to reserve culture and tradition as well as to promote new and evolving contemporary art through high quality multidisciplinary programming for primarily the Austin and Central Texas area and beyond.


By trading their talents for an exterior mural at the Arts Warehouse in Austin, Texas in 1983, Sylvia Orozco, Pio Pulido and Sam Coronado secured four years' rent on a 300 square foot space in the Arts Warehouse and founded Mexic-Arte as a forum for artistic expression through multicultural interaction. During the next four years, Mexic-Arte produced programs in the 10,000 square foot Arts Warehouse gallery and at satellite spaces throughout Austin, introducing the community to innovative ways of looking at traditional and contemporary art forms.

The Museum was incorporated in July 1984 and obtained its non-profit status in 1985. An economic downturn forced the Arts Warehouse to close and six months later Mexic-Arte opened its new home in the heart of downtown Austin. At 7,000 square foot, the Museum is home to three galleries where eight exhibits from the permanent collection rotate among self-curated and touring exhibitions. School and other group tours are given for all exhibits, reaching out to the young people of Austin and Central Texas. We also program music, theater, and performing arts events on weekends. Through all these programs, the Museum serves over 100,000 visitors annually. Mexic-Arte Museum also includes a gift shop, library and resource center, offices and archive area for a growing collection of archives and costumes. Mexic-Arte's annual budget has grown from virtually nonexistent in 1984 to $300,000. We have established a successful internship program with the University of Texas. Audiences include a diverse public of schools, community groups and special constituencies.

Mexic-Arte was the first organization in Austin to promote multicultural contemporary art and continues to do so. It also preserves Latin American cultural tradition through a variety of programs unique to the City. Mexic-Arte was instrumental in introducing to Austin the tradition of celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead through its annual Dia de los Muertos exhibit. It was the first museum in Texas to turn the event into a multi-disciplinary artistic expression of popular Latino heritage which includes altars by local artists and community groups, foods, and entertainment.

Mexic-Arte has also established itself as an important arts group in the Southwest and was selected to coordinate Counter Colón-ialismo, one of the major exhibitions dealing with the Quincentennary of the initial European contact with the Americas. The Museum continues to present quality exhibitions, presenting exhibitions of art by such stellar figures as Diego Rivera (1993) and Jean Charlot (1994), and by important contemporary artists such as Benito Huerta (1994). Mexic-Arte works closely with the Office of the Mexican Consulate in Austin to bring exhibitions and programs from museums, institutes and artists from throughout Mexico. Artworks exploring Mexican heritage, such as the Masks of Guerrero and metal-type prints by José Guadalupe Posada, also have a role in programming, delighting and amazing visitors.

The organization's mission is to preserve culture and tradition as well as to promote new and evolving contemporary art through high quality multidisciplinary programming. Equal representation of women and men is a consideration in selecting and planning programs. There is a direct effort to include artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in cultural programs.

Highlights & Collections

Programs: A broad range of programs and services are offered in visual art with complementing programs in the performing and literary arts. Eight to ten exhibitions are presented in the main gallery annually. Mexic-Arte worked with MARS in Phoenix and Centro Cultural de las Raza in San Diego on a multi-site project and exhibition, Counter Colón-ialismo that traveled to several sites in the Southwest. Approximately ten other exhibitions are presented in the other gallery spaces. Among the other activities of the space are frequent music concerts and poetry readings.

Educational Programs: Tours of exhibitions are offered to the schools. Bilingual tours are also available. Catalogues for exhibitions and other publications are produced to broaden educational activities for the public. Traveling mini-exhibits are available to tour the schools. Mexic-Arte also has a web site.


1) Umbrella Services - Mexic-Arte serves as a fiscal agent for individual artists and small groups to apply for grants, acting as a conduit for over $120,000 annually.

2) Networking - As one example, Mexic-Arte hosted the National Association of Artists' Organizations 1992 International Conference in October of that year, which was attended by over 700 people from 300 organizations from around the United States. Informally, the Museum acts as a resource for other organizations seeking artists and performers from our area, or as a source/destination for traveling exhibits.

3) Space Usage - The space is used by many artists and arts groups.

4) Museum Store - Provides an outlet and resources for local artists, including magazines, small press and scholarly books, tapes, fine and folk art.

5) Library - A copy of all books sold in the Museum Store is kept for the approximately 1000 volume library; in addition, a large collection of other books is available, including many out-of print and Spanish language books. The focus is on Latin American and Latino art and general art techniques and history. The 3000-odd volume library of the Mexican Consulate in Austin is also housed together with the Museum's own library.

Exhibits & Special Events

Facility: Mexic-Arte Museum is located in the heart of downtown and totally accessible to the community. The main gallery in front totals 6500 square feet and has a ceiling approximately 15 feet high. A smaller gallery is located toward the back of the building. The Museum Store is located near the entrance on the first floor. Offices, restrooms, storage area, and the physical plant are located in the back of the building. Mexic-Arte Museum is dedicated to providing space to artists and arts organizations. Space has been shared with many organizations and artists including the Texas Photographic Society, Texas Commission on the Arts for Artists in Residency interviews, International Women's Day Festival, Texas Fine Arts Literature, Zachary Scott theater, ACTV, Big State Productions, University of Texas Art Department, KTSB, Colores Theater Collective, Vortex Repertory Company, Texas Circuit, Austin Film Society, Austin Community College and many individual artists. Mexic-Arte Museum is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 - 6:00. Extended hours are available for special events.

Audiences: The organization produces programs serving Latinos as well as other groups, and people of all ages. Tours and other special programs are available for groups of children, senior citizens, university art groups, and downtown business people. Artists are a special constituency, and visit the exhibitions frequently. Mexic-Arte has involved organizations such as Comite Cinco de Mayo, made up of the five Parks and Recreation Board in South and East Austin, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Heritage Committee, the University of Texas Art Department, the Chicano Culture Committee from UT, SER Jobs for Progress, Youth Advocacy Groups, the Consulate of Mexico in Austin, the Diez y Seis Celebration Committee, Austin Independent School District, and many more in programming. Mexic-Arte serves over 100,000 per year through a combination of general attendance, public events and outreach programs.

Demographics: Latinos comprised 21% of Travis County in 1990, and are projected to comprise 30% by 2010 and 40% by 2030. In the Austin Independent School District, Hispanics account for 39% of students, but only 19% of teachers (1996). Another rapidly growing group is the elderly. Although Austin has historically been a "young" city, the first baby boomers will turn 65 in 2011, leading to a dramatic change in demographics. The number of people in Travis County over 65 will almost quadruple by 2030. (Data taken from the Austin American-Statesman, May 21, 1996).


Our philosophy includes several objectives - to promote high quality in all forms, to promote an eclectic view of concepts and disciplines; to elevate the level of the artistic community; to educate and to provide an artistic service for the community; to provide a proper environment and facilities for the creation of work; to encourage new and experimental work; to promote the work of serious professional artists, and to assist in the professional growth of artists. Our philosophy directly ties into the mission of the organization.

Mexic-Arte provides a vehicle for artistic expression, new and contemporary forms, as well as the preservation of traditional art forms and the promotion of cultural diversity.

Mexic-Arte is committed to paying equitable artists' fees. Artists are included in program and policy decisions.

Our organization is specifically dedicated to serving the needs of women and individuals of racially and culturally diverse communities. Mexic-Arte's programs, staffing and board reflect this diversity. We exhibit works of many cultures, such as Latino, African, Asian, European and others. Exhibitions address issues concerning these communities through their own perspective and are curated within these communities. Gender is also considered in selecting and planning programs. It is important to have participation form all these sectors to nurture a culturally and socially rich spectrum. There is a direct effort to include artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in cultural programs. Examples of such programs include Border Issues, Counter Colón-ialism, Myths Redefined: Art from Haiti, and Confrontación. These exhibits are specifically about ethnicity and culture. Other programs such as Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead have origins in the Mexican culture and are open to artists of all cultures.


M-Sa: 10-6.

Admission & Directions

Key Personnel

Sylvia Orozco, Jacqueline May

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