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Day Trip: Mexican heritage shows itself

Pilsen-based museum has programs, four galleries

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Photo submitted by the museum)
Galeria Sin Fronteras is on display through Aug. 17 in the main gallery at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

CHICAGO – The National Museum of Mexican Art contains a wealth of knowledge and culture.

Its exhibits range from folk art to photographs, textiles to prints. Amboy resident G.G. Garcia is a museum member, who visits there.

"The museum is housed in a modern building in the Pilsen area," he said. "We always manage to find free parking on the streets, and of course, admission is free. It is an excellent teaching tool, a way to pass on our culture to generations to come."

On display through July 13 in the Kraft Gallery is Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo. Acevedo was born in Mexico City and lives in Kankakee. Narrative imagery is part of her artwork – every painting has a written story. Fragmentos draws upon remembrances from women's childhood.

Another exhibition, Galeria Sin Fronteras (Gallery Without Borders), will be open through Aug. 17. The name refers to a gallery in Austin, Texas, which focused on Latin American, Chicano, and Caribbean art. Its exhibitions connected to the community's social and political scene. At the museum, the display features Chicago-based artwork from the founder of the Galeria, Gilberto Cardenas.

The national museum has 7,500 pieces in its permanent collection in four bilingual galleries.

"Art enthusiasts manage to find their way to its doors," Garcia said. "But it is an experience like the Chicago Art Institute and should, in fact, be part of it. The general public would benefit by ensuring they include it in their points of interest and make an effort to visit it."

From time to time, special programs are offered. The public tour program involves a docent, who will guide groups through Galeria Sin Fronteras. They will discuss artwork and their relationship to the struggles of Chicanos and Mexican-Americans. The free tour is suitable for all ages. English tours are at noon and Spanish at 1 p.m. March 29, April 26, May 24, June 28, and July 26.

For the little ones, there will be a preschool family workshop on April 18. Toddlers, age 3 to 5, will visit galleries and create a superhero with their families.The cost is $20 per family (maximum family of four). For reservations and details, call 312-433-3943.

While in the area, Garcia recommends stopping for a meal at Nuevo Leon Restaurant, 1515 W. 18th St., a favorite eating place for him and his wife.

"It is four or five blocks from the museum," he said. "We highly recommend it. Try their mole poblano. Everything you order there is truly authentic."

If you go

What: National Museum of Mexican Art

Where: 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays

Cost: Free

Information: www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org or call 312-738-1503

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