Susan Keeter's portrait of Dr. Alejandro Garcia, courtesy of CFAC.
By the late 80s, Dr. Alejandro Garcia's personal collection of artwork from his native Mexico had grown so large that the long-time professor of social work at Syracuse University was talking about moving out of his Fellows Avenue home to a larger house. So when the Community Folk Art Center's Gina Stankivitz set out to curate a new exhibition from this 40-year-old collection -- she had already curated previous exhibitions from his collection in 1996 and 2004 -- it's not so surprising she had some 43 bags and boxes to choose from. The ceremonial masks Garcia is already well-known for in Central New York, but there is also a variety of textiles, prints, paintings, sculpture, papier mache and carved wooden objects, and increasingly in recent years, Garcia's own photographs. "Tesoros del Pueblo: El Arte Folkl rico de M (c)xico/Treasures of the People: The Folk Art of Mexico" is the cream of the crop, filling both main galleries and the lobby as well. A packed and festive crowd opened the show on January 23rd at CFAC, 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse. It stays on view until a special Cinco de Mayo celebration closes the exhibition on the evening of May 5th.
"Tesoros del Pueblo" represents both the contemporary folk art of Mexico and Garcia's personal journey. The exhibition also serves as the setting for an equally abundant schedule of related programs during this time. There are monthly free films, folk art workshops (one to make sugar skulls for the Day of Dead and another for pi atas), an associated lecture by Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho at the Newhouse School (where she receives the Tully Award for Free Speech on Feb. 16th at 7:30 in Herg Auditorium), and a play and discussion about the women of Ciudad Ju rez. Dr. Garcia kicks off these extras next Thursday, 2/18 at 6:00 PM with a gallery talk for Th3 before the first film at 7:00, "Blossoms of Fire."