A new art exhibit downtown is set to open Thursday.
It's called “Voz,” which means voice in Spanish, and curator Arturo Infante Almeida says it's big.
“In this exhibition you have 222 artworks, 166 artists. This is just focusing on Latino artists,” he said.
The exhibit is made up of works from the University of Texas San Antonio art collection, much of which was started by the school’s former President Ricardo Romo.
IF YOU GO
What: Voz Exhibition
Where: Centro de Artes Gallery
Over the years, Romo bought many of these pieces when the artists were still young and struggling, Almeida said. Many of them have gone on to become well known South Texas artists, including Jesse Amado, Richard Armendariz, David Blancas, Kathy Sosa and Jesse Trevino.
“Here when you walk into this exhibition you'll see how these artists have grown,” Almeida said. “It's incredible, what they're doing now.”
Photographer and University of the Incarnate Word teacher Kathy Vargas has three prints in the collection.
“These were done in memory of my life with my parents, who are both deceased now,” she said.
The prints show three shoes, which Vargas found in her mother’s cedar chest after she had passed. She said the saved shoes symbolized the parent/child relationship she grew up with.
“They're large; they're going to take care of you,” she said. “You're the child; you're always going to be loved and cherished.”
Vargas pointed out several pieces done by artists who have died on in recent years.
“Their work lives on, and this is what art does. This is what art is capable of,” Vargas said. “If we're very, very lucky our work will live beyond our time, and if you're even luckier still there are wonderful collectors and collections that will preserve it."
Claudio Aguillion's photorealistic painting shows a couple in front of a house where they sold antiques.
"They are from Mexico. The experience of the immigrant, coming to the United States, owning a home, owning a business. The American Dream, putting their kids through college," he said.
As he told the story, Aguillon realized he, too, was living his own iteration of the American dream.
"I am from Mexico myself. I came here when I was 13 years old. I shined shoes here in the Market Square when I was 17 years old,” he said. “So to be within walking distance of where I used to shine shoes, and now to have my piece in the museum here, it's an American dream."
Jack Morgan can be reached at email@example.com