Mexican Folk Art at the Tyler Public Library:

Selections from TMA’s “Boeckman Collection” on View in November


During the month of November, a special exhibition of Mexican folk art will be on view at the Tyler Public Library. The exhibition is a product of collaboration between the education departments of the Library and the Tyler Museum of Art, and it will feature artworks selected from the TMA’s Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art, on view now through the end of the month. The works are shown on both the first and second levels of the Library, and they depict scenes and images from el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that takes place on November 1 and 2.

The Library installation occurs on the heels of an announcement by the TMA that Dallas art patrons, Laura and Dan Boeckman have donated their personal collection of Mexican folk art, a collection of over 650 works that is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the United States, to the Museum. “This collaboration gives us an opportunity to introduce a portion of this collection to the community,” said Ken Tomio, TMA Head of Education. “The Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art represents the cultural heritage of the growing segment of our community, and so as an educational and cultural institution, we want to make the collection accessible to as many people as possible. We are grateful to the Tyler Public Library for their invitation to join them in this exciting opportunity.”

By viewing the selected works, visitors will discover information about the Day of the Dead. The origins of this unique holiday are a mixture of Native American traditions and a set of Catholic holidays held to commemorate the dead. The ceremonial observances include making shrines or altars to the dead called ofrendas in the family homes, spending time in cemeteries, and displaying artistic representations of skulls and skeletons.

Although the occasion is dedicated to the dead, its nature is quite the reverse of being morbid. Rather, it is a period full of life, color and festivities, and is as much a celebration of life as remembrance of the dead. The major features of the Day of the Dead decorations are skeletons and skulls as well as “trees of life” and other objects such as incense burners and candleholders for the altars. The exhibition also converges with a significant anniversary year for Mexico, a country that is celebrating not only the 200th anniversary its independence, but also the 100th anniversary of the country’s revolution.

The installation of selections from the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art will overlap the Library’s Art Around Every Corner, a special two-day event that will show original works by local artists who submitted their art in response to an open call issued by the Library. Evelyn McLane, Programming Associate for the Library, says that the event was organized in an effort to make artists and artworks more accessible to members of the community. “We believe the Library is an essential educational and cultural asset to the City of Tyler and are always developing new ways to support arts and education for all citizens,” said McLane. The Art Around Every Corner exhibition of local artists works will be held at the Library November 13 and 14. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the featured artists speak about their work throughout the two-day event.

Art Around Every Corner is production of Tyler Public Library with additional support from the Tyler Museum of Art and the Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition.

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is supported by its Members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler, and is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit