Did You Know: Xico Is Among Oldest Indigenous Art Organizations

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Friday, February 20, 2015 - 12:44am
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2015 - 2:05pm
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(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
Xico Arte y Cultura Gallery in Phoenix.

For decades, the center was a place where Southwest indigenous artists where supported and highlighted. Today, it’s among the few locations that continue to serve its community.

Xico is an art organization that promotes local Chicano and Native American art and artists. It was founded in the 1970s. Did You Know… Xico is the oldest ethnic nonprofit arts organizations in Arizona?

“From doing research, we are the oldest indigenous art organization in the United States still in existence for 40 years," said Donna Valdés, the executive director of the South Phoenix art gallery.

“We were founded in 1975 by a group of Chicano, Latino and Native American artists," she said. "They wanted to get word out about the movement about what type of artwork they created.”

Xico is located on the second floor of an office complex on Buckeye Road and 10th Street. The name is spelled with an ‘X’ as a sign of its indigenous roots. The gallery was originally named Xicanindio. The name is a mix of Chicano and Indio, Indian in English. It recently shortened its name to Xico with the same meaning.

Its founders first launched the gallery out of a small Mesa office space. More than 30 years later it moved to a larger place in Chandler. And most recently it found its latest home here.

The gallery is a working studio, with printing presses and workshop area. It has space for two artists in residence. Xico is known for mono-printing and mono-silking. Artists either etch images from a reprintable block or paint images on screens.

The pieces of art range from religious interpretations and political issues to objects and notable people. Valdes said today Xico works with about 50 local artists and others from outside Arizona.

"We do exhibitions and show artists from the Southwest region, L.A., New Mexico, actually we’ve had artists from Oregon participate with us," Valdes said. "So we have a nice reach within Southwest region.”

Xico works closely with indigenous children to teach the next generation about their culture and history through art.

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