The UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens is proud to host “Aliento a Tequila,” an art exhibition by El Paso-born and Austin-based photographer Joel Salcido.
An opening reception will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. January 20, 2018. The exhibit will be on view Saturday, January 20 through May 19, 2018.
Salcido, a borderland native, revels in capturing “tales of conquest and defeat.” His previous media work as a staff photographer for the El Paso Times, as well as a correspondent for USA Today, has allowed him to strikingly document subjects such as the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.
His fine art photographs can be found on display in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Harry Ransom Humanities Center at The University of Texas at Austin; and the El Paso Museum of Art, to name a few. His new book, “The Spirit of Tequila,” was released in fall 2017.
Centennial Museum officials say, “Come witness the beauty of tradition, the documentation of the blue agave plant, its cultivation and transformation into this uniquely Mexican elixir, and experience a taste of Mexico.”
For more information on the exhibit, contact the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at 915-747-5565.
What: “Aliento a Tequila,” a photographic exhibition
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018
Where: Centennial Museum, corner of Wiggins Way and University Avenue, UTEP campus
Staff Report September 24, 2017LifestyleComments Off on UTEP Centennial Museum, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens Now Open Mondays
The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens has extended its hours and will now be open six days a week beginning Monday, September 25, 2017.
The museum’s current exhibits include “Bracero Memories” and “La Frontera: A Century of Division and Resistance.” Both exhibits are free and open to the public through Dec. 16, 2017.
The new hours will be Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“We are excited to welcome visitors to the museum on Mondays,” said Daniel Carey-Whalen, museum director. “This provides further opportunities for UTEP faculty and students, in addition to local school groups, to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert and UTEP’s amazing research.”
The Centennial Museum – part of The University of Texas at El Paso – is El Paso’s first museum. It was established in 1936, thanks to funding from the Texas legislature, in honor of the State of Texas’ Centennial Celebration. The museum’s permanent exhibits showcase the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Temporary exhibits highlight aspects of the Chihuahuan Desert, border life and culture, and research by UTEP faculty and students. The gardens were established in 1999 and contain more than 800 species of plants native to the region.
For more information, contact Cynthia Ortiz at 915-747-6667. For a full list of events, please visit the museum’s website or follow them on Facebook.
Staff Report June 19, 2016NewsComments Off on UTEP Centennial Museum Curator Retires After 23 Years
The close-knit staff of The University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens is used to continually saying goodbye to the collections and exhibits the museum hosts; but saying goodbye to the man who has been behind the museum’s collections and exhibits for 23 years was something new.
Scott Cutler, the Centennial Museum curator, first joined the museum’s team in 1993 after working as a collections manager for the Museum of Northern Arizona located in Flagstaff. He received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Humboldt State University and earned a master’s degree in biology from San Francisco State University.
Originally born in Missouri, Cutler spent the majority of his early adult life in Southern California until he moved to El Paso to work for the family meat distribution business with his father. Later, he taught Earth science and biology to middle school students. Despite the deviation in his career path, Cutler always had a passion for museums and the work he had done while in college at the San Francisco State University Museum.
“Museums always felt like a comfort zone for me,” Cutler said. “I found it very satisfying to be involved in the creation of materials that researchers could use. I knew I wanted to get back to that.”
Throughout his time with the Centennial Museum, it has been the variety of exhibits that he has worked on that Cutler found most enjoyable.
“It’s been fun seeing exhibits come in because they are always so varied,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really interesting artists and scientists over the years and also a lot of great people on campus because we’ve had a number of exhibits based on research that faculty has done. It’s been interesting to be a part of that and help put their research on the walls for the public to enjoy.”
One of the most memorable exhibits for Cutler was the Rio Bosque exhibit that highlighted the development of the Rio Bosque Wetlands. He worked with UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management to bring the exhibit to life.
“The exhibit was very large and involved a lot of effort in planning and execution,” Cutler recalled. “This particular exhibit was one of the more challenging ones of my career.”
Cutler also enjoyed the work he did with collections because it enabled him to build relationships with different agencies that he hoped would have lasting significance for the museum.
In addition to the work Cutler contributed to UTEP, he also has been involved with environmental work including open space preservation. He works with the Frontera Land Alliance and the Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition to advocate for the preservation of the Castner Range on Fort Bliss. He also advocates for landowners who want to protect their land from development. He is an active member of the Audubon Society, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to conservation.
Centennial Museum Director Maribel Villalva is appreciative of Cutler’s many years of dedication to the museum.
“I absolutely loved working alongside and learning from Scott for the past three years,” Villalva said. “This museum would not be where it is today were it not for his dedication to the collections and exhibits over the years. He is a true professional and an expert curator, but above all, he is a kind and generous man who helps everyone.
“It’s definitely going to take some time to adjust to a museum without Scott, but at the same time, I’m really excited for him as he begins this new stage of his life. He has worked so hard for the past 23 years and, knowing Scott, he will continue to work just as hard as a full-time volunteer with the different organizations to which he belongs.”
As much as Villalva will miss working alongside Cutler, she is optimistic for the future of the museum’s collections and exhibits under Samantha Winer, who took over as the museum’s curator of collections and exhibits on June 1, 2016.
“Samantha brings with her a wonderful energy and a love of museums,” Villalva said. “It also helps that she is extremely comfortable with emerging technology in the museum field and is already teaching us a few things.”
Winer is a native El Pasoan who received her bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in museum studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has worked for museums in either a training or professional capacity for 10 years and previously served as the director of collections for the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature in Anchorage, Alaska.
It was Winer’s initial passion for history that triggered her pursuit of a career in museums.
“I love history; it has always come naturally to me,” she said, joking that history is “for logical people who can’t do math.”
“I think museums make history a lot less scary for people,” she said. “Instead of memorizing dates and information, museums make history more accessible to people and easier to learn.”
Winer was glad to have the opportunity to learn from Cutler and hit the ground running in her new role with the Centennial Museum.
“I am very excited to be joining the Centennial Museum and UTEP,” Winer said. “I love that the University has so much history. I can see that the museum has a lot to offer UTEP and the community. It’s going to be a fun ride.”
The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens – a part of The University of Texas at El Paso – and the JUNTOS Art Association present the exhibit “Icons and Symbols of the Borderland,” an eclectic portrayal of the contemporary border landscape and its culture through the art works of 22 JUNTOS artists from Oct. 10, 2015, through Jan. 16, 2016.
Familiar Icons that include Pancho Villa, La Virgen de Guadalupe, and Cabeza de Vaca and symbols such as jaguars and monarch butterflies synthesize and collide in an exhibition rooted in the personal and collective consciousness of border life.
“Ours is an age where visual representations are elemental to our daily communication and lifestyle,” said Diana Molina, artist and exhibit coordinator. “Symbols are keys to the stories of our human activity – they link the past and present, they ignite emotions, they represent our place within the contemporary U.S. / Mexican border terrain.”
The collection combines tradition, culture, history and nature in a variety of subjects and themes ranging from the religious and mythological to the commercial and socio-political uniquely depicted in paintings, photography, sculpture and collage.
Artists include: Ricky Armendariz, Margarita Cabrera, Antonio Castro, Mark Clark, Socorro Diamonstein, Gaspar Enriquez, Mery Godigna Collet, Christine Granados, Chris Grijalva-Garcia, Luis Gutierrez, Wayne Hilton, Benito Huerta, Ilana Lapid, Cesar Martinez, Diana Molina, Delilah Montoya, Oscar Moya, Miguel Valenzuela, Kent Rush, Romy Saenz Hawkins, Victoria Suescum, Andy Villarreal and Lydia Limas.