New exhibitions open at Brownsville museum in partnership with Charro Days

Two new exhibitions opened Saturday with receptions at noon at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art.

Performances by Revival of Cultural Arts (R.O.C.A) mariachi and youth ballet folklorico group Carlottitas heralded “Charro Days Fiesta,” an exhibition showcasing the 24 Charro Days Fiesta posters of artist Don Breeden.

The exhibition, done in partnership with the Brownsville Historical Association and Charro Days Fiesta Inc., explores the changing designs and themes Breeden has employed over his 24-year tenure designing the event’s official poster. Each year this poster is unveiled to represent the spirit of the annual celebration this month of the cultural and historical bond between two nations here on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“As you look around, Mr. Don Breeden has done an excellent job. Charro Days has been around for 86 years and Mr. Don Breedon has done the poster for 24 years,” Henry LeVrier, President of Charro Days Inc., said in a speech for the opening reception.

Charro Days Fiesta poster artist Don Breeden is pictured Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, for the opening of his exhibition “Charro Days Fiesta” highlighting 24 years of poster design at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

From depictions of La Adelita to children in regional Mexican dress, each of Breeden’s posters represents over two decades of Charro Days Fiestas. The artist says that each has a unique story, whether through its inspiration or creation.

“After 24 posters, you sort of wonder what to do next, but I’ve been very blessed to do all of these. Every one of these has a story to it,” Breeden said in his speech.

The second new exhibition is ”At The Threshold of Consciousness” by artist and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Art and Design lecturer Stephen Hawks. Through drawing, painting and ceramics, Hawks explores through roughly 60 works the different connecting themes of life, decay, and the literal and formative spiritual realm.

The exhibition centerpiece is “Elegy For An American Dream,” a multi-piece installation featuring a ceramic totem, altar, candles, chalk drawing and a braided cloth rug made by the artist’s mother, Catherine Hawks.

Artist Stephen Hawks is pictured with his installation “Elegy For An American Dream” Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, during the opening reception for his exhibition “At The Threshold of Consciousness” at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

He describes the piece, which has masonic and seraphic elements, as a commentary and a directive about American spirituality. The installation illustrates the conflicts between the self and our fear of the void, which stands in the way of a meaningful relationship to the foundations of being.

“Every altar is a passageway into the spirit, and there are always temptations at that passageway. We are at an inner threshold for all of America where we cannot avoid the spiritual realm—even in secular reality,” he said.

Both exhibitions are on display until Feb. 25.

Revival of Cultural Arts (R.O.C.A) youth ballet folklorico group Carlottitas perform Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, during the opening reception for “Charro Days Fiesta” highlighting the work of poster artist Don Breeden at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art is open from 10-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children ages six-12 and for students, seniors and veterans. Museum admission is free for children under six.

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