By Grant Utter
The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has announced the next exhibition of fall 2023: “Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection,” a selection of fine prints dated between 1984 and 2011, and inspired by the ideals of the 1960’s Chicano movement.
Featuring over 61 works on papers by 44 artists, “Estampas” is as comprehensive a look at the Chicano movement as it is compelling. Each print is a vivid,
colorful depiction of a cultural struggle for social and political equality. Works in the exhibition focus on five main themes: Identity; Struggle; Tradition, Culture and Memory; Icons; and Other Voices.
“OUMA has a particular interest in art that reflects Latino/Hispanic experience and issues of immigration,” says OUMA’s director Elizabeth Peterson Jennings. “We have doubled down on a commitment to expand our programming and collections to underscore this.”
Beginning in the mid-1960s, the Chicano movement is the largest civil rights effort by Mexican-Americans in the country. It was a push for social and political equality in America without sacrificing culture and identity — two concepts that gave birth to the art on display in “Estampas.”
“Estampas de la Raza” comes to the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art from the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas with generous support from the Art Bridges Foundation, a national organization creating opportunities for communities to engage with art.
As part of the museum’s partnership with Art Bridges, select Oglethorpe students, faculty and staff recently spent two days with local artists, educators and members of Atlanta artist collective “Contrapunto” — Carlos Solis, Marvin Toledo and Catalina Gomez-Beuth — to learn about the Latino history that inspired the prints in the exhibition. Each of these artists will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at OUMA in spring 2024.
Oglethorpe participants included Sophia Sobrino ’24, Victoria Garcia Lopez ’26, Jenni Velasquez ’26, Dr. Andrew Walden, Dr. Janelle Pham and Christina Price Washington. Each was awarded a $500 stipend for their involvement in the session, supported by Art Bridges.
With crucial insight into this exhibition, participants learned how to discuss “Estampas,” and other exhibitions like it, with cultural sensitivity. The students received special training as docents for the exhibition and will provide bilingual services to Spanish-speaking museum visitors. Faculty members plan to integrate lessons about culture and art into their respective curricula.
Education through art — particularly art from diverse voices — is an integral part of the museum’s mission. With the opening of “Estampas” and the support of Art Bridges, the museum can continue teaching students and the community about the ways that culture and identity impact art.
“Estampas de la Raza” opens at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2024. A free opening reception will be held in the museum’s Skylight Gallery that evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
In connection with “Estampas,” a panel discussion featuring artists Chloe Alexander, Jessica Caldas, Maria Cristina Tavera and moderated by OU student Sophia Sobrino ‘24 will be held in the Philip Weltner Library Atrium on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The panel will convene printmakers to discuss activism through art. The panel is free and open to the public.
The same artists also will hold an invitation-only printmaking workshop on Nov. 17 for current art students at Oglethorpe and Chamblee Charter High School. The workshop will teach participants about relief and transfer printmaking techniques.
“OUMA Community Days” will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, December 9 and January 13, with local vendors, refreshments, and bilingual tours provided for free to all members of the community.
Tour requests may be sent to Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson Jennings at [email protected].
Art Bridges Foundation is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of over 220 museums of all sizes and locations to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to present day and encompasses multiple media and voices. For more information, visit artbridgesfoundation.org.