I finally had a chance to check out Pilsen’s art galleries during last month’s Pilsen Open Studios. After a quick stop to fuel up at Nuevo Leon, we set out to visit the galleries along 18th street. I knew there were a lot of galleries in the area, but with more than 40 on the map, I only had time to visit a handful.
Our first stop was Casa de la Cultura Carlos Cortez (Mestizarte), which didn’t seem like the most polished gallery at first glance but actually had a lot of interesting pieces and some very legit Mexican artists, according to Adrian. It’s also clearly an important venue in the community, hosting workshops and other events.
Roy Villalobos‘ space was even less formal. His living space is also his work space, and he opened it up to the public for this weekend event. A couple cats greeted us outside and we walked up several sets of stairs to enter a very cozy space filled with paintings and sculptures. It was cool to get to talk to the artist firsthand.
Further up 18th Street is Prospectus Gallery, a mainstay of the Pilsen art scene for more than 20 years. I’d heard of Prospectus because they’ve often showed prints by Carlos Barbarena, an artist I recently started following.
It was also cool to see other spaces in the neighborhood feature local artists’ work; from beauty salons (which by the way, there were several adorable salons just on 18th Street alone) to Al Teatro, a restaurant with beautiful ceilings.
Ultimately, you don’t have to enter a single venue to see art in Pilsen; it’s known for its murals. They cover doorways, walls and alleys. Here are a few that caught my eye….