As part of an artist exchange between our 2 towns, Jose Guadalupe Rios Cordova is currently painting a mural in Madison's Municipal Building. In February, I painted a mural with school children in Lupe's hometown of Tepatitlan Mexico. We are part of the Madison / Tepa (short for Tepatitlan) Sister-City Program and we are both thrilled to be able to be part of this exciting international exchange of artists.
We use mural painting as a way to get people involved in our own communities - and now to create a bridge between people in Madison and in Tepatitlan. We also use murals to convey those deeper meanings that are most effectively conveyed through art.
Why is Lupe painting a mural in Madison's municipal building?
This mural comes to us as part of a long tradition of Mexican mural painting that culminated in the modern Mexican mural movement of 1920 - 1950 in which murals were used to educate the Mexican people about their own history, instilling pride and a sense of national identity in what was then a mostly rural population.
Where are murals found in Mexico today?
Travel to Mexico and you will find stunning murals in every municipal headquarters of every Mexican city, town and village - from the grandest in Mexico City and Guadalajara, to the most humble in the tiniest villages. Every town you visit tells its story through the mural found in its center.
Who do you guess painted the mural in the municipal building of Tepatitlan de Morelos - a mid-size town one hour northeast of Guadalajara?
Yes - Jose Guadalupe Rios Cordova! This stunning work covers both sides and the ceiling of the entryway into the municipal building in Tepa.
Where did Lupe study and where does he teach?
Lupe studied art at the prestigious San Carlos Academy in Mexico City - the oldest art school in the western hemisphere. This is the art school where Diego Rivera and many of Mexico's most famous muralists also studied. Lupe is a professor of art at the University of Guadalajara in Tepa. He teaches painting and sculpture there.
How is Lupe deciding to tell the story of the history of Madison?
Lupe has conducted much research - and now that he is here, is gaining an impression of Madison, that is, of course, unique to an artist. Ideas of what is important in our history have been given to Lupe by local historians, journalists and members of the Madison/Tepa Sister City Committee. He has even received suggestions from the mayor. Ultimately, though, the design and the particular historical emphasis will be Lupe's singular contribution to a vision of Madison as one of the most special towns - not only in the US - but in the entire world.
What's your part?
We need your support to bring this project to a successful completion. Need-less-to-say professors in Mexico are not paid anywhere near the salary of their US counterparts. Lupe is spending his summer vacation with us as a good-will gesture, without payment for his time. He is staying in the home of a sister-city committee member and other committee members are providing Lupe with meals. The city of Madison is helping with paint, supplies and installation.
Your generosity will allow us to cover additional expenses. These include an exhibit of the drawings Lupe is making for the mural and others of his works - as well as a dedication of the mural August 18 at the Municipal Building from noon to 3pm.
As with all Kickstarter projects,"Bring Madison's History to Life" Mural Project must reach the entire fund raising goal or the project will not be financed. It's "all or nothing" so every little bit will help. We'll send you periodic up-dates - with photos of Lupe's progress - so you'll be part of this mural project as it evolves. Thank you for your support - and for making "Bring Madison's History to Life" Mural Project a success!
Where can you see some of Lupe's murals?
Thanks for your help!
All funds over and above our initial goal will be used to bring more artists from Tepatitlan to Madison and from Madison to Tepatitlan.
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk of "Bring Madison's History to Life" Mural Project is being taken by Lupe himself. He takes the risk that all artists take when they put themselves on the line for their belief in the work. Lupe risks offending everyone in Madison - for what he chooses to include in the mural - and for what he does not include. He takes the risk that he will have spent his summer vacation in a foreign land - struggling to communicate in a language not his own - only to cause controversy and discord. I can assure you, though, that at this point, Lupe sees Madison as one of the best places on earth. It will be a challenge for the bubble to not burst.
It has been a challenge for the Madison / Tepa Sister-City committee to organize a project of this magnitude - and for the Madison Art Commission and the Mayor's office to have faith that this project will enhance us all. We are grateful for the support we have received thus far and are hopeful that this project helps Madison continue to be a special place that embraces contributions from diverse community members close-at-hand as well as from afar.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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