Looking for a weekend day trip?
Deming Museum’s new exhibit highlights the Bracero Program,
an oft over-looked art element of our local history
Written by Carolyn Schmitz
Celebrate history’s often-overlooked Braceros Program through art and storytelling with the Deming Museum and the Deming Art Center, as they present, “Braceros–Melding History and Art.” The show explores the hardships and triumphs of the Mexican laborers who were part of the guest-worker program that supported U.S. agriculture and industry, and helped keep America fed during the labor shortages of World War II and the following decades.
Discover New Mexico’s rich and storied history of local braceros through sculpture, painting, woodwork and live performance art on Saturday, January 6, 2018. Opening ceremonies for the exhibit begin at 1pm, during which long-time resident and local historian, Raymond Cobos, will greet visitors and offer a short narrative about the Braceros Program and its local impact. A troupe of local actors portraying workers in the Braceros Program will tell their personal stories as they escort visitors from the museum to the Deming Arts Center for the visual segment of the exhibit.
At the Arts Center, sculptural clay works created by Exhibit Coordinator Diana LeMarbe, of Deming, will be displayed alongside oil paintings depicting various aspects of bracero life and work by Las Cruces artist, Jeri Desrochers. Wood sculptures by Deming woodworker, Richard Boutwell will also help to tell the story of a Bracero’s life.
“Braceros—Melding Art and History” was inspired by Diana after she learned about the Braceros Program from her friend and mentor, Velva Hurt, who shared her personal accounts and experiences of life in New Mexico during the time of the Braceros Program. Developed by the United States government in 1942 to address the massive labor shortage created when thousands of American men left to fight in World War II, the Braceros Program provided essential manual labor for farms, dairies, and railroads. The program was born out of a series of agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, and was formally known as the Mexican Farm Labor Program. As the Korean conflict loomed in 1951, Congress formalized the Braceros Program with Public Law 78. The program finally ended in 1964, having provided millions of Mexican workers with employment, and allowed thousands of farmers and dairymen to continue production for a nation in need.
“Braceros—Melding Art and History” will run from Saturday, January 6 through Saturday, January 30, 2018, at the Deming Art Center, located at 100 S. Gold Avenue. For more information, call Diana LeMarbe, at 575-544-7708, or Jeri Desrochers, at 575-640-9836, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Braceros Program, visit braceroarchive.org.