SAN BENITO — Known as an icon by many, a local museum will soon be filled with artwork depicting La Virgen de Guadalupe’s legacy.
The City of San Benito Cultural Arts Department is gearing up to present its first Castilian Roses in December exhibit.
An opening reception will be held Thursday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. and the last day of the exhibit is scheduled for Jan. 24.
The exhibit was community curated and features a variety of La Virgen de Guadalupe inspired artwork, including paintings, illustrations, sculptures and poetry.
Featured pieces came from Portland, Oregon, and artists throughout the Valley, Kingsville and San Antonio.
Cultural Arts Director Luis Contreras described the Castilian Roses in December exhibit as being different from prior exhibits the museum has displayed.
For this exhibit, the department invited the public to submit their own artwork that displayed a historical or creative representation of La Virgen de Guadalupe.
“It’s always really important to give the community a sense of ownership and we always like to celebrate the talent they bring,” he said. “And so, Castilian Roses in December both celebrates a cultural aspect of La Virgen de Guadalupe, but also provides an opportunity for interpretation by some of these local artists.”
The community-curated exhibit was established to commemorate the tales of La Virgen de Guadalupe.
According to the legend, on Dec. 9, 1531, a lady appeared to Juan Diego, a member of the Chichimec people, at a place where they worshiped an Aztec mother goddess.
The lady told Juan to go to his bishop and request that a church be built.
In response to Juan’s question, the bishop demanded a sign.
Three days later, the lady appeared again, instructing Juan to offer the bishop a bouquet of Castilian roses that were blooming from the barren hilltop in December.
Juan wrapped the roses in his apron and upon opening the tilma for the bishop, the roses dropped to the ground.
Subsequently, an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe appeared on Juan’s apron.
Cultural Arts Department representatives said the story is centuries old, but they believe the La Virgen de Guadalupe’s endless promise of peace, love and compassion continues to inspire.
“This is the first time San Benito has ever created this exhibit and we’ve had a really good response from artists,” Contreras said. “We’re looking to hopefully make it an annual exhibit because we already have artists asking to display their artwork next year.”
FEATURED ARTISTS AND CONTRIBUTING INSTITUTIONS
• Gaby Rico
• Stephen Hawk
• Jesus De La Rosa
• Luis David Contreras
• Brian Wedgworth
• Aleida Wedgworth
• Cande Aguilar
• Celina Robledo
• Andy A. Villarreal
• Carlos Gomez
• David Lopez
• Corinne Whittemore
• Anastasia Tselikovskaya
• Nydia Canas
• Jennifer Rodriguez
• Leila Hernandez
• Hazel A. Hensley
• Veronica Jaeger
• Brownsville Historical Association
IF YOU GO
WHAT — Castilian Roses in December exhibition
WHERE — San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum, 250 East Heywood Street
OPENING RECEPTION — Thursday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.
EXHIBIT ENDS — Jan. 24
GALLERY HOURS — Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, contact the Visitor Information Center at (956) 281-0810.