Borders and Neighbors: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico Exhibition at El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Borders and Neighbors: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico Exhibition
at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Biscailuz Gallery
125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
November 16, 2017 – February 25, 2018

This exhibition focuses on influences between Mexican and American craft traditions, which will be on view in the Biscailuz Gallery at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument from November 16, 2017 through February 25, 2018. This exhibition of approximately thirty objects will highlight artwork in a variety of media made by artists from both the U.S. and from Mexico who will be featured in Craft in America’s BORDERS and NEIGHBORS episodes.  In celebration of Craft in America’s tenth year on air, these episodes mark the series’ first in-depth foray into craft outside of the U.S. This exhibition, held at the site of the historic birthplace of the city of Los Angeles, will be an occasion to honor the spirit of creativity that transcends physical and cultural barriers and that unifies our cultures.

In partnership with El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Borders and Neighbors: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico will explore the symbiotic relationships that Mexican and American artists have on each other, their craft and their communities.  Featuring a broad range of work by weavers, ceramic artists, papermakers, jewelers, muralists, altar makers – these objects touch on the people, history and traditions behind the craft. The stories they represent confirm the idea that art is without borders. Among the highlights in this exhibition:

  • Contemporary Barro Negro blackware pottery figurines made in the ancient Zapotec style outside of Oaxaca
  • Blown and hot-sculpted glass Pre-Columbian figurine replicas by Los Angeles artist Jaime Guerrero
  • Paper bead jewelry designed by artist Kiff Slemmons and executed by the Taller Arte Papel, Oaxaca
  • A site-specific installation by Los Angeles master altar maker Ofelia Esparza

Interactive media, portraits and footage from the episodes will complement the displayed artworks and engage visitors profoundly. Additional public programming will expand upon the themes of the exhibition.

  • Opening Reception for the public will be held on November 16, 2017 from 6-8pm.
  • An artist panel discussion on January 25, 2018 will explore inspiration and cross-cultural perspectives.
  • On February 11, 2018, a half-day concert, “Music Across Borders,” will be held on the plaza bandstand with a line-up of accomplished and eclectic musicals acts that will sweep across genres.


“There are two kinds of borders; borders in the mind and physical borders.”

Evelina Marquez Morga, artisan at Taller Arte Papel Oaxaca

Getting Here: L.A. Stories of Childhood Immigration
As a part of his Broken Dreams installation, artist Jaime Guerrero invites visitors to share their own stories of childhood migration to Los Angeles in the form of handwritten letters. The letters will also be digitized on where they will continue to be shared virtually. This participatory public history collection project is intended to deepen community understanding of child immigrant experiences and how they impact our city.

El Pueblo is an important cultural and historical destination for those visiting Los Angeles. Located across the street from Union Station, it currently attracts over two million visitors a year from throughout the United States and from every continent in the world. It also hosts more than 400,000 students annually. El Pueblo is a living museum that plays a unique role as the historic and symbolic heart of the city, celebrating the Native American, African American, Spanish, Anglo, Mexican, Chinese, Italian and French cultures that contributed to its early history. It is the ideal site to host this exhibition that fundamentally celebrates how art can build and strengthen bonds between cultures.

About El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument: El Pueblo is near the site of the early pueblo or town where forty-four settlers of Native American, African, and European heritage journeyed more than one-thousand miles across the desert from present-day northern Mexico and established Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula on September 4, 1781, which was the foundation for the city of Los Angeles. Of the Monument’s twenty-seven historic buildings, eleven are open to the public as businesses or have been restored as museums.

About the Biscailuz Gallery: This building, located on the site of the Juan Sepulveda adobe, was designed as the United Methodist Church Conference Headquarters and the Plaza Community Center.  In 1968, the building was re-named after Eugene Biscailuz, a former Los Angeles Coutnry Sheriff, who had helped Christine Sterling in her struggle to save this historic section of Los Angeles.  In 1979, Leo Politi painted a mural on the south and east facades that depicts the Blessing of the Animals, a traditional event held in the Park every year on Easter Sunday.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit