Mexic-Arte Museum is a stunning, multifaceted fine arts museum located in Austin, Texas, that features Mexican and Latino art, traditions, and culture, enriching the understanding and promoting dialogue for each piece of work. It also boasts a wide array of collections, ranging from pottery, wooden masks, photographs, prints, paintings, sculptures, and contemporary arts. Today, Mexic-Arte Museum serves as a go-to tourist attraction in the area, giving a unique perspective from its visitors across all classes and ages.
History of the Mexic-Arte Museum
The Mexic-Arte Museum was established by three Mexican artists Pio Pulido, Sam Coronado, and Sylvia Orozco, at the Arts Warehouse in Austin. Since its foundation, the museum’s primary goal was to bring Mexican and Latino artistry closer to Texas by showcasing masterpieces of both locally and internationally renowned artists.
It all started in the fall of 1984 when the three Austin-based artists collaborated and hosted the Day of the Dead festival, featuring Mexican and Latino artists, educational and cultural programs. To expand its exhibitions, the museum relocated in 1988 to its present 20,000 square foot home at 419 Congress Avenue, sitting perfectly in the heart of Austin’s animated downtown area.
Since its foundation, the Mexic-Arte Museum has become one of the most impressive art institutions in the region. Being one of the only few precious U.S. museums dedicated to Mexican and Latino arts, it also never fails to provide a unique and memorable experience to art connoisseurs, residents, and tourists.
Mexic-Arte Museum’s storefront
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection
For over 30 years, the Mexic-Arte Museum offerings have grown, ranging from contemporary art pieces, culturally-on point programs and shows, striking sculptures, dramatic murals, and other awe-inspiring media works. Its impressive permanent collection comprises over 1500 works of historic and modern Mexican and Latino art and material culture, immersing its visitors and providing them a better understanding of what Austin is all about.
If you’re visiting the Mexic-Arte Museum, here are some of the best collections you should know and never miss.
Ernest F. De Soto Collection
Ernest F. De Soto is a renowned lithographer from the 1960s and the first Mexican-American to receive the Tamarind Master Printer award. For more than 50 years, he specialized n Mexican, Latino and American prints, creating an imposing collection, serving as a national treasure. The Ernest F. De Soto collection is one of Mexican-Arte Museums’ earliest print collections, featuring other artists, such as Luis Jimenez, Alfredo Varela, and Alejandro Colunga, among others.
Masks have been widely used by Mexicans thousands of years ago. They have been a well-established insignia of their ritual life, using them in dances, religious practices, special ceremonies, ethnic narratives, popular art, and pageantry. As the Spanish arrived, these masks’ utilization shifted and were instead used in spreading Catholicism and other religious celebrations. Today, these masks are still an integral part of Mexican tradition and a part of a fast-growing mask art industry. Mexic-Arte Museum showcases its own permanent Mexican Mask collection that will help you understand these artistic symbols’ journey.
Mexic-Arte Museum Library
Housing more than 5,000 printed materials dating from the 19th century, the Mexic-Arte Museum Library has a stellar mix of periodicals and books, allowing access from the past to the present. Some of the highlights of its collection include “Picture Book I and II,” and “México A Través De Los Siglos,” plus other rare works, publications, and catalogs.
Serie Print Archive
Serie Print Archive features a print collection from the “Serie Project,” an art organization that promotes affordable fine art production using serigraphy. The archive displays serigraph prints from renowned and aspiring artists, such as Alma Lopez, Cesar Martinez, Delilah Montoya, and Santa Barraza.
Taller de Gráfica Popular Collection
In 1937, a group of artists and printmakers established Taller de Gráfica Popular (Popular Graphic Arts Workshop), whose primary goal is to produce visual arts tackling social change and revolving around cultural and historical heroes and political events. Works are primarily prints and come in the forms of volantes (frying sheets), posters, booklets, catalogs, and illustrations.