DECATUR — Mexico is coming to Decatur.
The Decatur Area Arts Council will host the exhibit “International Arts Experience: Discover Mexico” throughout June and July. The country’s history and cultures will be represented through the Spanish traditions, style, and religion.
The public is invited to learn more about the exhibit during the First Friday Gallery Walk from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 4, at the Anne Lloyd Gallery and throughout the Madden Arts Center, 125 N. Water St., Decatur.
Jami Fawley, Decatur Area Arts Council Gallery Coordinator, admitted she knew little before she began planning the current International Arts Experience exhibit. In the process, she found a collector who is considered an expert regarding Mexican folk art. After connecting with the collector, Fawley reached out to others throughout Central Illinois including people from Champaign, Urbana, Springfield, Bloomington and Decatur. “Collectors collect a specific thing usually,” Fawley said. “So I knew there were other pieces I needed to find.”
The exhibit will include pieces from various areas and eras. “They have a long history of indigenous cultures,” Fawley said. “And they’re our neighbors and some of those cultures cross over into Native American tribes and history as well.”
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Terri Clemens and her husband Chris Eisele are collectors and historians of Mexican artwork. Nearly 100 pieces for the exhibit come from their collection. “She’s kind of picked out things from a variety of places and types,” Clemens said about the Decatur exhibit.
According to Clemens, Mexico has an art tradition. Before the Spanish arrived, the country had its own style. “But then the Spanish came and they influenced their art some,” she said.
After a 10-year revolution, the country needed a way to recover financially and spiritually. Alvaro Obregon, who was Mexico’s president from 1920 to 1924, encouraged citizens to find their own creativity and artistic traditions. “Parts of Mexico that are remote from each other make different kinds of art,” Clemens said.
Highways and trains grew connecting the United States and Mexico, allowing tourists to purchase the artwork. “Then people had a way to make a living and it brought money into the country,” Clemens said. “Each of those areas where tourists go have their own art traditions.”
Pieces from the collection include wood, tin, leather, textiles, costumes and toys. “It’s really fun and the folk art has really taken off in the last two decades,” Clemens said. “There’s really not much that is new.”
Other artifacts include items pre-Columbian times, tourist pieces, indigenous household items, and fine art. “We have quite a range of pieces,” Fawley said about the exhibit. “Some of them are not very valuable and some are quite valuable.”
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, other downtown galleries will open up for the First Friday Gallery Walk, including Gallery 510, located at 160 N. Main St., and Blue Connection, 117 N. Water St, next door to the Anne Lloyd Gallery.
During the event, food, entertainment and crafts will be available at the Decatur Area Arts Council building. “It’s our first opportunity since 2019,” Fawley said.
Mexico was a focal point for the exhibit because Decatur has many Mexicans living in the community, Fawley said. The International Arts exhibit has been an annual event since 2007.
“So it’s really a Decatur tradition at this point,” Fawley said.
June Art Exhibits
ANNE LLOYD GALLERY. The Decatur Area Arts Council downtown gallery will feature the International Arts Experience: Discover Mexico. The First Friday Gallery Walk will be 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 4, in the gallery.
BLUE CONNECTION. The Millikin University's student-run art gallery will feature a large collection of Southwest turquoise and silver jewelry plus accessories from the collection from Ed Walker. The exhibit can be seen during the First Friday event from 5 to 8 p.m. June 4 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 5.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS TITLE COMPANY. Sue Watts will be featured at the S. Water St. location through June.
DECATUR AIRPORT GALLERY. The artwork of Rae Nell Spencer will be on display again at the Airport Gallery throughout June.
FLOURISHES GALLERY AND STUDIOS. The downtown Shelbyville gallery will feature artwork from Create on Thursday artists during the month of June. Artists create their own work in their own medium and supplies each Thursday. Check out the gallery’s website for exhibits and further information. For an appointment, call (217) 827-5690.
GALLERY 510. The downtown gallery will feature the artwork of Judy Kimmons through June.
GIERTZ GALLERY. Beginning June 14, the Parkland College Gallery will feature “Around the Block III: Artists from our Neighborhood,” until Aug. 14. For more information, visit Giertz Gallery at Parkland College Facebook page or www.artgallery.parkland.edu.
HISTORY ROOM. Decatur Public Library history room will feature exhibits from the African American Genealogy Society and Evelyn Hood, Old Decatur Newspapers 1938, Longview Place, Random Photos of Old Decatur and Past Shopping Centers and Small Malls.
LINCOLN ART INSTITUTE. The Logan County Artists’ Lincoln gallery will feature artwork by LCA artists titled “Sunny Side Up” beginning June 10. For future visits, call (217) 651-8355 for an appointment.
ROCK SPRINGS NATURE CENTER. Rock Springs Nature Center's will feature Kattina Williams’ photography in the south gallery of the nature center. The north gallery will display the photographs of Curt Knapp.
The exhibits will be on display throughout May and June.
TARBLE ARTS CENTER. The Eastern Illinois University gallery is closed for the season. For further information, call (217) 581-2787 or email email@example.com.
UNIVERSITY GALLERIES. The Illinois State University art gallery will schedule appointments for gallery visits. The current exhibits will include “Making Our Space: Members of the Peoria Guild of Black Artists,” on display until Aug. 1, and Normal Community High School Sociology Responds to “The Canary in the Lake,” until July 25.
For more information on future exhibits, visit galleries.illinoisstate.edu.
UPSTAIRS GALLERY. Dan Modzelewski will be featured again at the Decatur Public Library’s second floor gallery.
WILDFLOUR ARTISAN BAKERY CAFE. Michael Delaney’s artwork will be the featured artist through June.
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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR