San Benito opens Castilian Roses in December exhibition

Courtesy photo Created in 1993, Andy Villarreal's oil on canvas artwork titled "Celebration of La Virgen" is one of several pieces that will be showcased in the City of San Benito's Castilian Roses in December exhibit.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Due to the recent surge in COVID19 cases in the area, San Benito city administration decided not to open the Cultural Heritage Museum to the public as was intended. Instead, the Castilian Roses exhibition will be an entirely virtual event and can be viewed through the San Benito Cultural Arts Department’s Facebook page

SAN BENITO — From budding creatives to world-renown artists, a local museum is now filled with a variety of artwork displaying historical and original depictions of La Virgen de Guadalupe.

The City of San Benito Cultural Arts Department’s Castilian Roses in December exhibition will be open for viewing now through Jan. 29 in its Cultural Heritage Museum.

The exhibit features more than 35 pieces of La Virgen de Guadalupe inspired artwork, including drawings, folk art, installation, paintings, poems, sculptures and textiles.

City of San Benito Cultural Arts Department Coordinator Aleida Garcia said the exhibit showcases a variety of voices and points of view from many Rio Grande Valley artists from Mission to Brownsville.

“I am excited to share this exhibition with the San Benito community and the rest of the region,” Garcia said. “San Benito has a magnificent facility and so the artists are super excited to be showing in this museum.”

This year’s participating artists include — Magdiel Castle, Luis Contreras, Josie del Castillo, Claudia Garza, Erika Garza Johnson, Mariela Gonzalez, Sean Hughes, Veronica Jaeger, Danielle Lopez, Edward Meza, Gina Gwen Palacios, Noel Palmenez, Samantha Rawls, Gaby Rico, Celina Robledo, Eloy Rodriguez, Jennifer Rodriguez, Julian Rodriguez, Erren Seale, Cecilia Sierra, Paul Valadez, Anna Varela, Benjamin Varela, Corinne Whittemore, and San Benito Writer’s Forum Members, Julieta Corpus and Irene Salinas Caballero.

The exhibit was to be viewed at the museum, instead the Castilian Roses exhibition will be an entirely virtual event and can be viewed through the San Benito Cultural Arts Department’s Facebook page.

The museum is located in San Benito at 250 East Heywood Street and is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

According to personnel, social distancing and mask protocols will be strictly enforced.

The admission fee for adults is $4. The fee for seniors ages 55 and older is $3 and the fee for students is $2.

Admission is free for military and children ages 10 and younger.

Artwork from the exhibit can also be viewed on the San Benito Cultural Arts Department’s social media pages.

“We wanted to offer more free programming,” Garcia said. “We started doing artist interviews and daily feature artists on our Facebook and Instagram pages so that way people can get to know the participating artists.”

The legend

The community-curated exhibit was established to commemorate the story of La Virgen de Guadalupe and to display how her image has woven into the visual landscape of the Rio Grande Valley.

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.

For more information about the exhibit, visit www.facebook.com/sanbenitoculturalarts or call the Cultural Arts Department at (956) 281-0810.

IF YOU GO

WHAT — Castilian Roses in December exhibition

WHERE — San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum, 250 East Heywood Street

EXHIBIT ENDS — Jan. 29

GALLERY HOURS — Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays

ahernandez@valleystar.com