Friday, June 12, 2015


This year’s International Arts Experience at the Decatur Area Arts Council is an exhibit entitled CHILE & ARGENTINA: Neighboring Cultures.  See it in the Anne Lloyd Gallery at the Madden Arts Center is open Monday-Friday (8:30 am-4:30 pm) and Saturday (10 am-2 pm) from June 5-July 30.  As always, the exhibit is open free to the public.

This colorful exhibit celebrates the blending of ancient traditions, European influences and contemporary life in the neighboring countries of Chile and Argentina.  Textiles, ceramics, copper work, fine art, woodwork, artifacts and more bring the cultures to life.

A major part of the exhibit is a display of Chilean posters.  The poster curators, Mario Cardena and Jean Paul Brandt, are both graphic designers and university professors who received support for this project through the University of Diego Portales in Chile.  DAAC Gallery Director Sue Powell met Mario last spring when he was visiting Millikin University. Her discussion with him about presenting the culture through posters and other art forms launched this whole exhibit.

The rest of the art and artifact on display come from 10 private collections, plus Spurlock Museum Teaching Collection, Krannert Art Museum Teaching Collection and an Argentine artist who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

Here are a few unique items and facts:

  • The copper rooster and hen on the wall is a traditional wedding gift related to the national dance, the cueca.
  • Most traditional Chilean wedding celebrations include the dance which parodies the courtship of the rooster and hen.  The costumes are worn by the dancers who wave handkerchiefs above their heads, possibly symbolizing the feathers of the bird or the rooster’s comb.
  • The display hutch in the corner has a number of “mate” (pronounced mah-tay) cups.  Yerba mate is the national drink of Argentina.  The yerba mate leaves are used to create a rather strong, caffeine-rich “tea.”  Sharing mate is a symbol of hospitality in Argentina and the protocol for serving mate is followed religiously.  Everyone drinks from the same cup.  It’s a very social tradition that can be seen in just about any setting or group.
  • Check out the charango (a musical instrument like a little guitar) made out of an armadillo’s back shell.

Field Trips to the Exhibit

If you’ve got a group that would like to visit the exhibit through our Field Trip program, which includes a discussion of the exhibit and a hands-on Chilean/Argentine craft project, contact us at 217-423-3189 or  Ask about our field trip scholarships.

This exhibit is sponsored by ADM and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For more information, please contact the Decatur Area Arts Council visit our website at

Jerry Johnson
Executive Director
Decatur Area Arts Council