Founding Director Emeritus
Craig Centrie, Ph.D
Board of Directors
Michael Parks – President
Barbara Carr – Vice President
Craig Centrie, Ph.D – Treasurer
Community Board of Advisers
Virginia Batchelor, Ph.D
Cheng Yang “Bryan” Lee
Mary Ellen Mulvey
El Museo is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, visual arts organization dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary work by diverse artists and cultures.
El Museo provides programming and supports Western New York in cultivating a future where our communities are stronger because of the presentation and support of diverse artists and cultures.
El Museo believes that:
- People of color and historically marginalized artists provide critical access to the unique heritage in Western New York provide exposure in the world that communicate the depths of human experience.
- Art that is theoretically independent exemplifies creativity.
- Experiencing and making art is an opportunity to encounter the ideas and experiences of those who are different from ourselves, to better understand our diverse community, heal, and challenge us to widen our horizons.
El Museo provides programming that will contribute to a truly equitable future. These include:
- Targeting the presentation of outstanding artists who are people of color, and from historically marginalized communities through exhibitions, education partnerships and workshops, and community arts experiences.
- Contextualization of cultural identities with the presentation of all programs, including heritage, strengths, and contemporary influences.
- Internships and apprenticeships for young and emerging artists, to cultivate future leaders. Collaboration with Western New York peers in prioritizing and showcasing the experiences of people of color and those from historically marginalized communities, and supporting the robust future of these people in Western New York’s cultural community.
In the 1970s, following the civil rights movement and a renewed emphasis on diversity politics and multiculturalism, cultural organizations proliferated working to represent minority groups and recognize their contributions to our common heritage. It was in this spirit that a group of young Latino artists primarily associated with the University at Buffalo formed the Latino Artists Collective in 1977 to promote Latino/a, Latin American, and Caribbean fine art in the region.
Without a permanent home, the collective became known for street corner drama, poetry, and literary readings. Meanwhile, visual artists in the group started a program called Gallery Without Walls, staging temporary art exhibitions in various locations on the West Side of Buffalo. In 1981, this program formalized to become El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, honoring two of the most esteemed Puerto Rican and Mexican artists, respectively. Since then, we have expanded our mission to include all underserved groups including people of African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, and Native American descent, women artists, and our region’s growing population of immigrants and refugees. In 1997 we moved into our current space on Allen Street and have since presented numerous exhibitions and public programs promoting diversity and inclusion, dialogue, and excellence in the arts and humanities.
Over the years, many organizations like us have come and gone due to funding cuts, lack of constituent support, and perhaps a general apathy towards maintaining them. El Museo is Western New York’s only nonprofit visual arts organization dedicated to the exhibition of work by underserved artists, occupying an important position in our region’s longstanding and recently resurgent arts and cultural scene. We are proud to have been a lasting presence in our community, as a space where one may encounter the other through art, where artists can interface with the public and challenge us to widen our horizons.