Per the COVID-19 Mayoral declaration, the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center is closed to the public effective Monday, March 16th . Please check the Closure page for updates.
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The ESB Mexican American Cultural Center houses two gallery spaces, which feature local, regional, and national Latinx artists. The Sam Z. Coronado Gallery is located upstairs and the Community Gallery is downstairs. Admission is always free and tours are available by request.
Monday - Thursday: 10am to 6pm
Friday: 10am to 5:30pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
"El Camino Del Corazon"
Photgraphs by Rosy Campanita
Exhibit Dates: January 24th- March 28, 2020
Community Gallery (Upstairs)
El Camino del Corazon, The Path of the Heart (Vol.1) documents 13 years of struggle, persistence, and resilience between 2003-2016 –capturing moments borrowed from the universe, fragments of elements loaned by nature and life– as a testimony to signs of a rapidly changing world. A glimpse of these borrowed moments from time lends the viewer a unique social-political perspective from the crossroads of Indigenous struggle, cultural migration, resistance movements, and cultural resilience. The Path of the Heart (Vol. 1) presents the viewer with a roadmap which traces cultural resilience back to the heart. -Rosy Campanita
Rosy Campanita is a queer artist, born to a Mexican immigrant family, and was raised in the culturally rich neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village in Chicago, IL. She studied Fine Art at S.A.I.C(School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and has been documenting cultural life, land struggle, and resilience since 2003 with a focus on Indigenous communities, immigration, and LGBTQI communities throughout the so-called “United States” and Mexico. Currently residing in Austin, Texas, Rosy has collaborated and partnered with People’s Media Project, Coordenadas.US (online zine), Tiempo de Caracol Art Collective, and is the founder of Pochtekameh Creative Arts Studio.
"Piecing it Together: Austin Graffiti Art 1984-2004
Curated by Nathan Nordstrom
Exhibit dates: January 24th- March 28th, 2020
SZC Gallery (Upstairs)
"Piecing It Together": Austin Graffiti Art 1984-2004 is an art and photography exhibition focusing on the first three generations of Austin graffiti art, considered the foundation of what many call street art today. The show is organized by each decade which helped shape the backbone of Austin’s vibrant Graffiti Art culture. 1984-1989 is the dawning of Austin's hip-hop culture with high pressure Krylon cans and painting illegally in the streets. These originals were influenced by movies like Style Wars, Beat Street and WildStyle. This first generation understood the four elements of hip hop culture to be a community that embraced graffiti, break dancing, DJing and rapping. 1990-1998 saw a revival of graffiti art with crews forming such as NBK (No Boundaries Krew) which was seminal and a big influence around Texas and beyond. Moving into the 2000’s brought a whole new era of artists with evolving styles and perspective. Low pressure paint cans, a broader color palette, and the internet all allowed more production of and documentation of this previously mercurial art form. Masterpieces could be archived and styles shared with increased access to cameras and computers. Together this group of innovators laid the foundation for the inclusive, diverse, creative graffiti art scene we enjoy today. -Nathan Nordstrom
Mosaic Mural "La Mujer"
At the ESB-MACC’s annual La Mujer Festival on April 13, 2019, guests previewed the mosaic mural, titled “La Mujer”, which will become an outdoor art installation at the ESB-MACC. The mural honors Latinx women and serves as a powerful reminder of the transformational power of the Arts to bring youth and community together through creativity.
Caminos is an immersive; one year long paid internship empowering Austin-area Teens to carve their own path in the creative arts. Students work alongside ESB-MACC professionals on a variety of community oriented activities. The Caminos students meet on Saturdays at the ESB-MACC and represent a diverse spectrum of schools and geographic areas of Austin. These high schoolers learn about Latin American and Indigenous cultures in the Americas and serve other teens by creating content and events that are relevant and enriching. In so doing, they become Ambassadors of Latinx culture in Austin while receiving precious professional development and empowerment along the way.
Caminos Mosaic Mural Artist Mentor: J Muzacz
Caminos Program Coordinators: Frederico Geib
Caminos Mentors: Anabel Gomez, Cecilia Yakin
Caminos Mural (2018)
Created by students in the Caminos program in 2018, this handpainted mural at the entrance of the ESB-MACC commemorates Latinx heroic actions demonstrates a vision of global connection and world peace. Activist Dolores Huerta poses at the mural in 2018.
Caminos Program Coordinator: Frederico Geib
Mural Artist Mentor: Raul Valdez
Caminos Legacy Mural (2017)
The Caminos Legacy Mural was created by Adrian Muniz, Analiza Valdez, Arnold Cordova, Jamie Martinez, Jesus Perez, Jyali Barrera, Karina Peña, Litzy Valdez, Mianiche Calhoun, Paula Monzon, Paulina Pereira, and Sarah Ruiz as a community arts mentorship project led by muralist and arts educator J. Muzacz. The teenage students in the ESB-MACC Caminos program painted a mural that celebrates the vibrant community around the ESB-MACC while showcasing their creative passion and vision for the future of Austin seen from the perspective of Latinx youth. The actual mural is simply the tip of the iceberg as this project involved dozens of hours of community interviews, historic research, and outreach. The result is a vibrant blend of ideas and feelings from long time community members, filtered through the creative lenses and originality of the twelve Caminantes of the Caminos Teen Internship Program.
Caminos Program Coordinator: Frederico Geib
Artistic Mentor: J. Muzacz
Reynaldo Alaniz was commissioned by the City of Austin to create Maya, a hand-carved limestone sculpture of an abstract female figure. The piece was commissioned by TEMPO, the Austin Art in Public Places temporary public art program. Maya was exhibited in Austin's Edward Rendon Sr. Park in November 2017 as part of the East Austin Studio Tour, and can now be viewed in the Zócalo of the ESB-MACC on a one-year loan from the artist.
The sculpture was inspired by a Mayan figure called a Chacmool, which is a type of stone statue that has been found at archaeological sites such as the Mayan pyramid of Chichén Itzá and several Aztec sites near Mexico City. The Chacmool is a reclining figure whose head is turned completely to the side, legs raised, with a flat area on the abdomen where sacrifices were placed. There is no definitive knowledge of where and when they originated but archaeologists have associated them with the Aztec rain deity Tlaloc due to markings found on some of the Chacmools.
Maya is a hand-carved limestone sculpture that invites the viewer to consider the history of Mexico's indigenous past. The placement of the sculpture in relation to the ESB-MACC building is reminiscent of the Chacmools placed outside Mesoamerican temples. Maya isn't an exact replica of a Chacmool, but is a modern adaptation that uses simplified lines and minimal detail to evoke the presence of the ancient figure while holding its own as a contemporary art piece.
Solar Hardware, Steel
Exoskeleton is a site-specific public sculpture for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, designed by Mexican artist Victor Pérez-Rul whose artistic labor evolves around the empiric development of energy research through the multidisciplinary approach to science, technology, and art. Exoskeleton generates, stores and processes energy through its solar panels, specifically designed to produce an electromagnetic spectrum. Its relation to the environment shapes its behavior. Exoskeleton exists through a technological system in relation with the environment that enables stages of wakefulness and sleepiness, life and death, and the apparently motionless lifeless stage. "Renewable energy is key to its essence and purpose, to accomplish this collaboration with Solartec, a Mexican company specialized on solar energy. This project was accomplished thanks to the ESB-MACC, and to the donors involved: the University of Texas at Austin: Visual Arts Center, Victor Pérez-Rul and Solartec."
Tejano Music Legends (2015)
This sculpture at the edge of the Zócalo pays tribute to local Latino musicians that were integral to Austin's music scene. The deep musical traditions and cultural contributions of the Perez and Ramos families are represented by the figures of brothers Ruben Perez & Ernest Perez, and brothers Alfonso Ramos & Ruben Ramos. The Perez brothers are shown playing the saxophone and the Ramos brothers are engaged in song. The performers each led their own orchestra or band, and are joined by two curvilinear “stage structures” to symbolize the link between the two families. The vertical supports represent curtains on the side of the stage and a curving cut metal pattern based on a modified treble clef sits at the top and holds the names of these great families.
Uprooted Dreams (Alebrijes)
On permanent display in the Education Area upstairs at the ESB-MACC is Uprooted Dreams (2012), a site-specific sculptural installation that features over 19 individual, brightly colored woodcarvings, mounted in the public entrance of the Education Area. Artist Margarita Cabrera was selected to create an artwork which would engage the community in its production. "Uprooted Dreams is a work of art designed in the form of workshop production...nineteen members of Austin's immigrant community- guided by Master Artesanos, Ranulfo Sergio Ibañes and Lucia Luria Sosa, experts in the Mexican craft tradition of alebrije-created, carved and painted wooden sculptures. These pieces embodied artistic themes of uprootedness as they spoke to the transformation of people, land, and community. For the artist, artesanos, participants, and audience, the process and product of Uprooted Dreams provides an ongoing platform on which to build respect, equality, solidarity, and dignified ways of making art and creating community. - Margarita Cabrera
Axolotl (Mexican Salamander)
The ESB-MACC houses an aqarium that is home to a very special species of salamander called the Ajplote. Their name is "Axolotl" in Nahuatl, which is an indigenous language of Central Mexico spoken by the Aztecs of Ancient Mexico and still spoken in Mexico today. Revered by the Aztecs, the axolotl is unusual among salamanders in that the adults retain large external gills and demonstrate a remarkable ability to regenerate lost body parts. The Axolotl once made its home in the interconnected lakes that filled the basin of Tenochtitlan, where Mexico City now stands. But over the centuries, lakes and canals have been polluted, endangering the animal in its natural habitat. Axolotls are now being reproduced in capitivity and then reintroduced to the wild. The ESB-MACC’ s Education Department maintains a collection of 5 Axolotls that reside in an aquarium in the Raul Salinas room to inspire and educate visitors of all ages. If you are visiting the ESB-MACC, make a request at the Front Desk to view the adorable Axolotls!
Site and gallery tours are available upon request. Please click here to download our tour request form.
Monday - Thursday 10am - 6 pm
Friday 10am - 5:30 pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Free parking is available to those attending our programs, galleries and special events. A temporary parking pass is available in the main office.
Proposals are accepted year-round, and due to the large number of submissions received, ESB-MACC cannot guarantee immediate review of proposals. Submissions will not be returned. Emailed proposals will not be reviewed. All work samples should be of good quality. Please do not send originals as we cannot accept liability for damage or loss. To apply, please complete the gallery application below.