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Mexican Cowboys

Vaqueros

Talk about culture! El Arte en la Charrería, The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture, has come to town, specifically to The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in collaboration with Luis González, Marisú González and Gabriel Cabello, this cultural exhibit is NOT one to be missed. As I’m writing I’m listening to Linda Ronstadt’s Canciones de Mi Padre because that is exactly what this exhibit will do for its guests, that is, fully engulf them into the charro experience, the beauty and distinction of the Mexican cowboy and cowgirl.

Thursday, February 17, was one of those days that provided a wealth of experience and culture. I was ready for it and enjoyed the day to the fullest extent, motivated by a non-profit breakfast series, rushing over to an organizational meeting for the National Latino Congreso (more on this later), working on inventory at the bookshop, and culminating in a cultural celebration at the Opening Ceremony of El Arte en la Charrería at the Texas State History Museum. I had been graciously invited by Las Comadres para las Américas to join five lively women in the celebration of the opening exhibit.

That evening, guests were greeted by elegantly-dressed charros outside the front doors to the Texas State History Museum. The men, women, and most impressive, the horses, were amiably mingling with early arrivals and posing for pictures. Upon entering, guests were given the bienvenida by museum representatives and immediately mesmerized by the cultural sounds of the unique Mariachi melody, and at the same time enticed by the delicious aroma of Mexican cuisine. The food and drink hit the spot after a long work day and the ambiance was equally as inspiring. Tequila Ambhar shared a variety of drinks from an Ambhar-tini to an Ambhar Jalapeño Pear Fresca, including a recipe booklet with its drinks. The St. Edwards Mariachi Ensemble performed for the diners followed by a cultural performance by Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklorico. Lastly, guests were invited to stroll through the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall of Special Exhibitions by museum officials and exhibit collaborators, representatives of the González and Cabello, as well as Cónsul General de México en Austin, Rosalba Ojeda.

Apart from being a diverse and magnificently colorful collection of Mexican artesania, carefully and proudly displayed, it was pure joy being among generations of Texans, young and old, white and brown, sharing culture, sharing history!

About the Exhibit from the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

Long before cowboys in the Lone Star State gained iconic status in America lore, the charro – or Mexican cowboy – established a culture in Texas with a nearly 500-year-old heritage dating back to the introduction of houses and cattle to the Americas.

Arte en la Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture contains more than 120 examples of the excellent craftsmanship and design distinctive to the Mexican cowboy. With leather work, costumes, textiles, silver and iron work as well as works on paper that illustrate the life of the charro, this exhibition showcases intricately hand-crafted objects that embody the very identity of the Mexican nation. The exhibition introduces Museum visitors to the work of unique Mexican artisans who manufacture the articles and costumes that embellish and distinguish the charro tradition.

Exhibit Opening

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Running through June 5, 2011

High Noon Talks

First Wednesdays of every month from noon to 1 PM, FREE admission

March 2: Vaquero Culture discussion by Norma Cantú, English Professor at UT San Antonio

April 6: The Search for a Chili Queen discussion by Marian Martinello, author of The Search for a Chili Queen

May 4: Charrería Today presentation by Rodrigo Gaona of the San Antonio Charro Association

Explore the Story

One Saturday each month from 1 to 3 PM, FREE admission

March 26: Charro Art, a live demonstration of leatherworking and weaving

April 23: Vaqueros vs. Cowboys, exploring the differences and similarities between the Mexican vaquero and the American cowboy traditions

May 28: Music of the Charrería, listening to corridos, a popular form of ballad or song

All Other Days & Time

Admission to the Museum’s exhibits, including Arte en la Charrería: $9 for adults; $8 for college students (with valid ID); $7 for seniors/military (with valid ID); $6 for youth ages 4-17, free for ages 3 and under.

 The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is located at 1800 N. Congress Avenue at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. For more information, call (512) 936-4649.