Mission and Legacy

Installation view of "Mission and Legacy: Friends of Mexican Art's Enduring Impact in the Valley and Beyond," 2023, at Phoenix Art Museum.

Phoenix Art Museum (PhxArt) announces the opening of Mission and Legacy, an exhibition that celebrates the enduring impact of Friends of Mexican Art (FOMA), a Valley-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building appreciation for Mexican art and strengthening cultural ties between the Greater Phoenix Metro community and Mexico. 

Over its nearly 60-year history, FOMA gifted works by 20th and 21st century Mexican artists José Clemente Orozco, Enrique Chagoya, Carlos Mérida, Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Zúñiga, Alfredo Ramos Martínez and others to the PhxArt collection. Mission and Legacy presents many of these outstanding works to the public and is on view now through Dec. 31 in the James K. Ballinger Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum. 

“Phoenix Art Museum is immensely grateful to Friends of Mexican Art for their enduring support and shared commitment to increasing access to Mexican art,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Sybil Harrington director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum.

“The artworks that FOMA has gifted to the museum throughout our decades-long partnership form the cornerstone of our Latin American art collection, ensuring the organization’s indelible impact on this institution and on our community’s ability to engage with formative works by artists from Mexico long into the future.” 

Friends of Mexican Art was founded in 1963 with a mission to encourage understanding and awareness of the importance of Mexican art and culture. Over nearly 60 years, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has increased the representation of Mexican art at Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Phoenix Public Library, Arizona State University Art Museum, Mesa Arts Center and Tucson Museum of Art through the support of art acquisitions and exhibitions.

In support of the PhxArt collection, FOMA gifted 25 outstanding works by many of the most renowned Mexican artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, forming the foundation of the Museum’s Latin American collection, which was formally established in 1992 and at the time represented only the second collection in the country dedicated to Latin American art. 

Upon the achievement of its mission, FOMA sunset as an organization in 2022. Mission and Legacy honors FOMA’s impact by presenting numerous artworks gifted to PhxArt over the two institutions’ decades-long partnership.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), c. 1940. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Mexican Art. 

© The Alfredo Ramos Martínez Research Project, reproduced by permission.


The exhibition also features selections from the Friends of Mexican Art Archive, which is now housed in the Museum’s Gene and Cathie Lemon Art Research Library and which preserves newsletters, photographs, invitations, correspondence and other materials created and associated with the group during their operating history. Featured archival objects in Mission and Legacy shed light on the many ways FOMA’s programming and fundraising activities celebrated and preserved Mexican art in both the Valley of the Sun and Mexico. 

“The exhibition Mission and Legacy at Phoenix Art Museum means so much to the members of Friends of Mexican Art—present and past,” said Sarah Maresco, one of four FOMA presidium members.

“It is such a gift to see these beautiful artworks displayed together in representation of the works FOMA has gifted to the museum over almost 60 years. It shows that FOMA has fulfilled its mission to increase knowledge and understanding of Mexican art and has helped to make the Valley of the Sun a center for Mexican art collections.” 

(1) comment

Steven Lowen

Those not acquainted with the Art and Artists within Mexico will undoubtedly find this exhibit thrilling, a discovery of creative talent from a Country where that is not in short supply.

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