Arts & Humanities

Art + Design Professor Awarded Major Grants for Curatorial Project

By Emma Lee |

Álvaro Ibarra.

Utah State University Art + Design Professor Álvaro Ibarra has recently received large grants for his major curatorial project set to be displayed at Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art from August 2024 to February 2025.

His Artepaño/Kerchief Art Exhibition focuses on paños, which are drawings created by Chicano inmates on handkerchiefs and textiles and then sent to their family and friends.

Ibarra’s dedication to shining a light on these marginalized voices has gained significant attention, including $75,000 from The Terra Foundation and an additional $5,000 from Hyperallergic.

“These are truly impressive and noteworthy awards, and it is the first time the museum has received funding from the Terra Foundation,” said Department of Art + Design Head Kathy Puzey. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such an invested and accomplished researcher, teacher and curator as Professor Ibarra at the Caine College of the Arts.”

Ibarra began his work with this artform a few years ago as he discovered paños in the NEHMA while writing a research paper about Latin American culture.

"A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon the fact that NEHMA had these artifacts in their collection," Ibarra explained. "The paños really caught my attention because it was something that I knew from childhood that I'd seen when I was growing up.”

This intrigue encouraged him to continue researching and writing about these artifacts.

“By the end of that semester I had gotten pretty deep into it and decided to publish it.”

After publishing his research, Ibarra got a lot of positive feedback from people who felt strongly about the importance of this kind of prisoner art.

This encouraged Ibarra to curate this exhibition to act as a voice box for these perspectives.

The exhibition is poised to make a significant impact on the university and wider community by showcasing Latinx culture.

"The demographic is changing, and we, as a university, need to address that," Ibarra said. "I'm hoping that the exhibit will show people that this is happening, whether you like it or not."

Ibarra believes that the grants he received will help with marketing the exhibition and draw more attention to the project.

“I hope we get more eyeballs on this exhibition even just from people who are curious as to what it’s about.”

Ibarra’s dedication to highlighting Latin American culture extends beyond this project.

He also teaches courses on Latin American art and culture, aiming to provide students from all backgrounds with an understanding of what Latinx is, which is similar to his goal for the exhibit.

“Latinx is all about inclusivity,” he said. “It’s all about bringing people together. And I’m hoping that’s what this NEHMA show does.”


Emma Lee
Communications Specialist
Caine College of the Arts
(909) 670-3273


Kathy Puzey
Associate Professor of Printmaking, Department Head
Department of Art + Design


Faculty 323stories Arts 250stories Exhibitions 133stories Latinx 19stories

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