Apr. 9—The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art kicked off two new exhibits this week by artists and couple Donna M. Sweigart and Thomas Murray, who were long-time residents of the Rio Grande Valley where they found a home away from home.
The joint exhibit is titled "Compersion" and describes the feeling of happiness or joy experienced because of the happiness and joy of another person. Sweigart said the years spent in the Valley taught her the real meaning of family.
"You don't know the meaning of family until you get to be in the Valley," she said. "And it's such a wonderful thing. We were adopted by other people and certainly adopted by our students, and of course we adopted them as well. The connections that I've made there, and the students' lives that touched, and the people whom I touched their lives; we will be a part of each other forever."
Sweigart said this exhibit comes as a response to the times that we are living now. She said the COVID-19 pandemic made things change dramatically not only for the art world, but for everyone.
"The work went together as a response to our time and what is appropriate now. You know, what a show was a year and a month ago, is no longer the same thing now," she said.
"So, we were really trying to be thoughtful of what are the cultural spaces at the moment and how we function as artists and people of the world, struggling for what everybody else is struggling with."
Besides the "Compersion" joint exhibit, Murray is also hosting "Everywhere- Visions of Arquetopia" which was inspired by the time he spent studying in residence in Puebla, Mexico. He said a lot of his inspiration also comes from Catholicism and the Garden of Eden.
"At Chapultepec, it was interesting reading how the gardens were created and how the creation of the gardens created spaces that the people could occupy within the garden," he said describing his experience.
Murray said he has plans to go back to Puebla soon to find more inspiration for his artwork. He is currently attending the Arquetopia Honors Alumni Residency Program.
"The few short weeks spent in residence in Puebla prompted a sea change in my approach to making art," he said. "The works on paper are daily letters, works made in a studio surrounded on four sides and a ceiling of glass."
Last week, the Museum of Fine Art started hosting in-person art classes again for children ages 6 to 12 years old. The program takes place every Saturday and will continue throughout the month of May.
For more information, call the museum at (956) 542-0941.