Mid-America Arts Alliance (Kansas City, MO)

queeniguana.jpg

Woman with iguanas dead perched on her head

Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas) (1980) by Graciela Iturbide, one of the photographers featured in the touring exhibition, El Ojo Fino (The Exquisite Eye), which presented works by nine of Mexico's most prominent women photographers. The tour was supported by the Mid-America Arts Alliance of Kansas City, Missouri and the NEA.

The U.S.-Mexico Binational Alliance of Regional Arts Organizations was created by the NEA in collaboration with Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts and the U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture to develop projects stimulating cultural interaction between the two countries. The first meeting was held in May 2002, and 28 potential projects were proposed in arts education, dance, folk arts, music, and visual arts exhibitions.

One of these projects was the touring exhibition El Ojo Fino (The Exquisite Eye), which presented works by nine of Mexico's most prominent women photographers. The Mid-America Arts Alliance, based in Kansas City, Missouri, undertook the tour and development of educational and programming materials for the exhibition with the support of an NEA Leadership Initiative grant of $100,000.

The exhibition, featuring three generations of photographers, toured to 14 communities across America in 2003-2004. Working primarily in black and white, these artists provide rare insight into Mexican life, from the urban landscapes of Mexico City to the countryside and small towns. All of the photographers featured have shown their work widely, both in Mexico and internationally, and this exhibition will allow more people in the United States to experience and share in their artistic accomplishments.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue and educational material such as a slide show presentation and pre- and post-visit lesson plans for middle and high school students.

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)