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This a letter requesting support for the promotion of the first international conference of Chicano art, organized by Santa Barraza and Consuelo Avila in 1979. The stated objective of the conference is to provide an overview of the history and current state of Chicano visual art, divided into three parts focused on the past, present and future of the field, respectively. The document names various artists and scholars whose participation in the conference was confirmed at the time of its publication, including artists Ray Patlan, Leo Tanguma, Amado Pena, Carmen Lomas Garza and Patricia Rodriguez, as well as art critics Shifra Goldman and Raquel Tibol.


The Conferencia Plástica Chicana was one of the most important bi-national, bilingual conferences on Chicano art. The 1979 letter documents this ambitious and unique gathering, which was organized by committee under the auspices of the Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste (MAS) at the Centro Cultural de LUChA in Austin, Texas. Historically significant, it was the first forum for Mexican and Chicano artists and scholars to interact and exchange information regarding art history, practice and cultural influences. Though primarily focused on the visual arts, the conference included a theatrical presentation, film screenings, and sessions on solidarity with the Cuba and Nicaraguan revolutions. The visual arts sessions incorporated a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography. The sessions were also expansive in their historical scope (from pre-Columbian through contemporary art), and especially impressive in their caliber of presenters, which included Mexico’s Raquel Tibol, Marcia Castro Leal, Pedro Meyer and Adolfo Mexiac, and the U.S.’s Pedro Rodriguez, Luis Jimenez, Shifra Goldman, Carmen Lomas Garza, and Roberto Duncan from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Reproduced with permission of Prof. Santa Barraza, Kigsville, TX