By Edward Hayes Jr.
Project Assistant, UTSA Art Collection
(Dec. 17, 2008)--The Smithsonian's Museo Alameda in San Antonio recently hosted "Publishing and Collecting Latino Works on Paper," a panel discussion on collecting Chicano and Latin American prints.
Sam Coronado, director of the Serie Project (pronounced seh-ri-eh) and organizer of the Consejo Gráfico Symposium, brought together six art collectors to share their diverse histories and thoughts on their collecting practices.
Panelists included Ricardo Romo, UTSA president and passionate art collector; Gilberto Cárdenas, director of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research at the University of Notre Dame; Joe Díaz, private collector from San Antonio; and Gary Keller, director of the Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University at Tempe.
Eliseo Ríos, panel host and Museo Alameda interim executive director, also provided tours of the museum's exhibitions. Conducted concurrently with Consejo Gráfico, a Latino printmaking symposium in Austin, the panel focused on the business of art and the growing interest in collecting limited-edition prints known for their graphic impact and historic connection to Latin American political posters.
"Because of the work of artists, collectors and scholars gathered here today, everyone now has a greater opportunity to experience the cultural renaissance of Chicano art," said Romo, who, with his wife Harriett Romo, UTSA professor of sociology and director of the Mexico Center, has collected art since they were in college.
While the Romos began collecting when he was a graduate history student researching barrio culture in East Los Angeles, Keller's collecting began in grade school and now inform his latest publications "Chicano Art for Our Millennium" (2004) and "Triumph of Our Communities: Four Decades of Mexican American Art" (2005).
Cárdenas expressed his interest in collecting conceptual Latino art and maintaining a balance between major artists and up-and-coming talent. Collector Díaz emphasized the importance of preservation, and is currently looking for a museum to house and conserve his encyclopedic collection of art.
"Because the Museo Alameda is now the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, we are really about establishing a vital place for artists, collectors, museum professionals, students and professors," said Ríos. "We were pleased to host this panel presentation, and hope to host many more. Collectors play a significant role in the early stages of a particular movement or group of artists."
>> A Serie Project print exhibition featuring 16 San Antonio artists is on view at the UTSA Downtown Art Gallery through Jan. 16. The exhibit is curated by Arturo Almeida, UTSA art specialist and curator of the UTSA Art Collection. The gallery is in the Durango Building at 501 W. Durango Blvd. Viewing hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, call (210) 458-4983.