Silver City -- The latest Arte Chicano exhibit opens Friday in the Besse Forward Gallery at the Silver City Museum, featuring the work of clay artist Catherine Acosta Russo and mosaic artist Lydia Villegas, and curated by Diana Ingalls Leyba. This is the sixth Arte Chicano exhibit, which this year coincides with the observation of Latino Conservation Week,  July 17 - 25.  

The exhibit, which runs through October, features several mosaic selections of varying sizes from Villegas, owner of LV Studio, 505-A N. Bullard Street, as well as highly-textured ceramic sculptures by Acosta Russo, co-owner of Seedboat Center for the Arts, located at 214 W. Yankie Street. 

A multi-talented painter and founder of the Youth Mural Program, Ingalls Leyba created Arte Chicano to celebrate Chicano artists whose artistic accomplishments, she says, are underrepresented in Grant County.

"There are so many talented Chicano artists in Grant County, yet I felt their art wasn't as accessible as it could be," said Ingalls Leyba.

"Arte Chicano was born from this need to create more opportunities for local Hispanic artists to showcase their work. I'm thrilled to be part of this exhibit, and am very grateful to the artists for their hard work to make this happen, and to the Silver City Museum staff for their collaboration and dedication to telling the story of Grant County and this region from a variety of perspectives."

Artists Russo and Villegas have much in common. Both are originally from Grant County; two women who, like Ingalls Leyba, have always done some form of artwork and felt an irrepressible need to create. Graduates of Cobre High School, both left Grant County for many years and have returned to their roots. They've worked as art teachers, and both have a tremendous love of found objects and use them in their art, enjoying the creative process of bringing these forgotten treasures back to life through clay and mortar.

"I've always loved texture and textiles, and the found objects I use have a history," said Russo. "I'm inspired by that history, and those roots are reflected in my work."  Villegas finds her inspiration, too, in turning found objects into art. "To me it's so cool to take something that someone has thrown away and make it pretty."

The Silver City Museum creates opportunities for residents and visitors to explore, understand, and celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of southwestern New Mexico by collecting, preserving, researching, and interpreting the region's unique history. The museum is nationally recognized through its accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

Admission is free, though a suggested donation of $5 helps support the museum’s education programs, collections care and exhibits. For more information, please contact the museum at (575) 589-5921/, or visit the museum's website at To donate or to learn of volunteer opportunities, please visit 

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