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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mexican Museum Snags Edward James Olmos to Head Up New Arts & Letters Council

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge Miguel Covarrubias, "Rosa Covarrubias" c. 1925, Pencil and gouache, Collection of Adriana and Thomas Williams.
  • Miguel Covarrubias, "Rosa Covarrubias" c. 1925, Pencil and gouache, Collection of Adriana and Thomas Williams.

The Mexican Museum -- a powerhouse West Coast collection of Mexican, Chicano and Latino art -- has just announced a new Arts & Letters Council to help flank and foster their new location at Mission and Third, which will boast expansive new digs for visiting exhibits as well as more 14,000 objects from their permanent collection.

Better yet? They snagged renown Mexican actor Edward James Olmos (any Battlestar Galactica fans out there?!) for an honorary Chair position.

Edward James Olmos will head up the prestigious new Arts & Letters Council for the Mexican Museum; Olmos joins the ranks of 51 artistic movers and shakers from the Latino(a) community -- like ethereal Chilean novelist Isabel Allende and SF-based contemporary painter Rupert Garcia -- to head up the new council, designed to champion vibrant new work from the Latin and Mexican community.

Andy Kluger, chairman of The Mexican Museum Board of Directors explains that the new museum -- poised to be a hotspot in the Yerba Buena Arts District -- will break ground in 2014. "We have selected architects, a project manager, and design team who are busy at work as we speak," he says. Kluger explains the expansion has been a long-term vision that is finally coming to fruition; he says both the board and the staff of the museum have been receiving requests for years now, asking if there's any way they could assist the cause, bolster visibility and cross-pollinate across cultural and aesthetic boundaries.

"After a series of planning sessions and in consultation with many prominent artists the strategic planning group of the museum proposed the creation of the arts&letters council. ," he says. "We have now been asked to expand the invitation list since word of mouth is creating a groundswell of continued support from that community for the Mexican Museum and we are so very gratified. We will also have a good number of classrooms for community educational programs and finally after many years become a permanent fixture in the Yerba Buena Arts District."
click to enlarge Edward James Olmos will head up the prestigious new Arts & Letters Council for the Mexican Museum
  • Edward James Olmos will head up the prestigious new Arts & Letters Council for the Mexican Museum

The Mexican Museum -- which is celebrating its 37th year -- is the only San Francisco museum to be named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution -- but the high profile leadership of Olmos, a noted Latino social activist (and Oscar-nominated actor!), will offer newfound clout and a broader voice to advocate issues and arts alike. "The leadership of the museum as well as the director will meet with [the council] in conferences several times a year to discuss upcoming proposed projects and exhibitions, and request their input into educational programs for the community, especially for families and their children," says Kluger. "They'll also inquire of any of them if they wish to participate in group exhibitions or educational programs.  it is very much a symbiotic relationship." Want to help fight the good fight? Become a member -- for a $1 a day, you can support the new museum and the artists' work that dons its walls and will delight your eyes, ears and body.

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Katie Tandy

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