Tucson Museum of Art Announces Grand Opening of New Latin American Art Gallery

April 18 / 2013

The Tucson Museum of Art will unveil its new Palice Gallery of Latin American Art the first weekend in May – and will be open and FREE to the public on Sunday, May 5 from noon until 5:00 pm.

The Palice Gallery is located on the second floor of TMA in what used to be its administrative offices and will feature the Museum’s Latin American art collection of Pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial/Post-Colonial, and Latin American folk art.  The installation highlights a wide selection of artworks and offers enhanced, bilingual didactic materials explaining the history and significance of the objects.  The new gallery also allows for regular and ongoing rotation of art displays in order to facilitate sustained community interest and engagement.

Robert Knight, the Museum’s CEO says, “The new Palice Gallery will feature more than 200 objects of Latin American art from Pre-Columbian to Colonial periods.  We are augmenting the casework with bilingual didactic signage and an educational resource and video viewing room.  The new exhibit adds 2,300 square feet of gallery space, plus a stunning 2,350 square foot outdoor Latin American sculpture terrace.  We think this is a wonderfully exciting addition to our galleries, especially with its state-of-the-art LED lighting, security, and environmental controls.  It really allows us to showcase the beauty and history of these incredible works of art in an entirely new way.  I think the intimacy of the space invites up-close observation and contemplation, and we hope our community and its visitors will enjoy this opportunity to experience and learn about the richness of Latin American art for many years to come.”

Significance of the Collection
While the Tucson Museum of Art’s holdings reflect a broad spectrum of Asian, European, North American, and Contemporary art, a substantial portion of its permanent collection is comprised of objects that document the history and aesthetic contributions of New World art traditions, most especially those that have had a demonstrable impact on the people of the Southwestern United States.  The Latin American collection, thus, represents one of TMA’s most essential resources and provides a major focus for the Museum’s educational programs.

Click here to view some examples of the art in the Palice Gallery.

Community Impact
The reinstallation of the Latin American Art collection is a project stemming directly from TMA’s community engagement goals and its collections stewardship policy.  As part of this policy, the Board of Trustees outlined a plan positioning the Museum as a community partner responsible for fostering an appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of the Southwest and confirming its fundamental commitment to facilitate relevant educational experiences.  As a result, TMA curatorial and education departments work in tandem to deliver a wide-range of quality exhibitions and innovative programming designed to encourage families, adults, youth, students, scholars, and teachers to utilize the Museum’s art collections and its archival resources in order to advance social and cultural development and promote scholarship.

The creation of the new Palice Gallery of Latin American Art is an important step in this continuing process. Since a greater portion of the Latin American art collection will be on rotating display, it will be even more accessible to scholars, researchers, students, and enthusiasts.  In addition, TMA curatorial and education staff will enrich the educational value of the exhibition with stimulating materials such as bilingual gallery didactics, timelines, maps, interpretive panels, and object labels—as well as educator curricula, gallery teaching kits, and docent training materials.  These materials will offer contextual information, chronological clarification, and interpretative didactics to both educate and engage visitors.

TMA’s primary audience includes individuals of every ethnic heritage, economic stratum, educational background, age group, and level of physical ability.  The Latin American art collection finds immediate support in multiple communities as a result of the Museum’s conscious desire to distinguish and bring attention to the diverse cultural origins and historical influences of Tucson, both the city and its inhabitants.  Since the Museum’s founding in 1924, the continued development of the Latin American art collection has been the direct result of public support, donor gifts, and TMA support organizations.

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