The National Museum Of Mexican Art Turns 25
The anniversary celebration continues to showcase the gem of Pilsen
The National Museum of Mexican Art opened in 1987 and exhibits one of the most impressive collections of Mexican art in the world. It features both historic and contemporary visual arts.
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ONE person after another told founder Carlos Tortolero that he couldn’t establish an art museum in a working-class neighborhood, couldn’t present art exhibits in a working-class neighborhood and the museum couldn’t offer free admission and survive. That was 25 years ago, and today the National Museum of Mexican Art is still thriving in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, showing some of the country’s most impressive art exhibits and it’s still free to the thousands of visitors who come each year.
The celebration of the first Mexican cultural center/museum in the Midwest and the largest in the nation will continue throughout the year, promoting the art and culture of Mexico and its people around the world. Founded in 1987, the museum––which collects Mexican art from both sides of the border––now boasts a unique collection of more than 7,000 pieces, representing one of the best collections of its kind in the country.
Although the museum has grown over the years, its mission has remained intact: 1.) To showcase the beauty and richness of Mexican culture by sponsoring events and presenting exhibitions that exemplify the majestic variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; 2.) to develop, conserve and preserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; 3.) to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; 4.) and to offer arts-education programs.
During the past 25 years, the museum––the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums––has been the perfect vehicle to showcase the complexity and richness of Mexican history and culture. And in observance of this special anniversary, the celebration will continue to focus on the diversity and quality of Mexican art.
Students take a tour of the museum's four galleries, which exhibit a permanent collection that includes murals (below) by Mario Castillo and Gabriel Villa. At the seventh annual Folk Art Festival (bottom), museum visitors observe a weaving demonstration.