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Each year, the Tom Lea Institute brings fun and interesting events to life
for the community and those along the Tom Lea Trail – all centered around
a central theme inspired by Tom Lea and his works. 

RSVP    THROUGH EventBrite links below

full schedule of events

SEPTEMBER

 

29

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Benito Juárez in Word and Song

Mexican Consul Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León hosts historian and opera singer José Mario Sanchez Soledad for an evening highlighting the significance of the Chamizal Treaty in settling a 100-year boundary dispute between Mexico and the United States. It began with the changing course of the Rio Grande during the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juárez, a pure-bred Zapotec Indian. Although they never met, they corresponded and supported one another when both were faced by civil war. After the Chamizal Treaty was signed in 1963, Mexico honored Abraham Lincoln near the Parque Chamizal in Juárez. The United States is reciprocating by placing Benito Juárez - Child to Man at the Chamizal National Memorial on Sept. 25, 2022

MEXICAN CONSULATE, 910 E San Antonio Ave., El Paso, TX 79901

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OCTOBER

 

1

SATURDAY | 10 AM

Double Ninth Hike 

Tom Lea wrote, “Mount Franklin is a gaunt hardrock mountain, standing against the sky like a piece of the world’s uncovered carcass.”  The Chinese commemorate their ancestors by climbing a mountain and eating chrysanthemum cake during the Double Ninth Festival or Chongyang Festival. We will recreate the tradition with a moderate level hike at the east end of McKelligon Canyon.  Jim Tolbert, director of Celebration of Our Mountains, recounts the tradition of Double Ninth Festival, and Holly Cobb of the Tom Lea Institute relates the romantic story of when Tom Lea proposed to Sarah Dighton in the Canyon. Meet at the west end of the canyon picnic area near the Ron Coleman trailhead for this family-friendly event. After hiking down the canyon, join us in the picnic area to eat authentic Chrysanthemum Cake and assemble an adorable Chinese lantern to remember our ancestors. Bring a $5 donation to the State Park. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water for the hike.  

MEETING SPOT: 1500 McKelligon Canyon Dr., El Paso, TX 79904

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6

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Tom Lea Fellow Presentations

UTEP students are selected to receive the fellowship on a project that deepens knowledge of Tom Lea’s art and writings. Iliana Pichardo Urrutia presents “Tom Lea: Explorations in Landscape.” It includes prose, poetry, and three phonographic works of sound art. Pichardo Urrutia is an MFA candidate, a published writer, and producer for KTEP’s Words on a Wire radio program.
Guadalupe Lucero’s presentation compares the works of former President George W. Bush’s portraits of wounded Iraq/Afghanistan soldiers with the psychology of Lea’s Life magazine images from World War II. Lucero is a BA candidate in Art History and Communication Studies. Join us for the presentations and reception.   

UTEP LIBRARY BLUMBERG AUDITORIUM: 1st FLOOR,  1900 Wiggins Rd., El Paso, TX 79968

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13

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Dreaming in Chinese: From Canton to El Paso

Cantonese immigrants were among the more than 110,000 Chinese who traveled to the United States during the Gold Rush era.  Like other immigrants, the Cantonese escaped poor conditions in their country of origin; however, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act restricted their entry into the United States and forced them to take alternative routes to the American “golden gates.” So naturally, northern Mexico constituted a “waiting zone” that kept their hope of crossing the border into the U.S. alive.  This movement resulted in new families, hybrid cultural practices, and sustained ties across cities, states, and countries, and built the vibrant Chinese community of El Paso/Ciudad Juárez. This presentation will address the history of the Chinese communities in El Paso, emphasizing the Cantonese transnational experience. As a UTEP associate professor and an ethnic Chinese Mexican, Selfa A. Chew, Ph.D., specializes in borderlands history.  

ARCHEOLOGY MUSEM, 4301 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Dr., El Paso, TX 79924

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15

SATURDAY | 1 PM

Sips of History: Exploring Chinese Tea and Traditions

In China, drinking tea or ​​wénhuà signifies respect, apologizing, or showing gratitude. Kinley Pon, the owner of Kinley’s Tea shop, will explain the tradition of tea and conduct tastings of different varieties. Afterward, participants will assemble adorable Chinese lanterns. ​Family-friendly event.
KINLEY'S HOUSE COFFEE & TEA, 2208 N. Oregon St., El Paso, TX 79902

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20

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Tom Lea’s China:
The History, the Land, and the People in his Paintings

Dr. Joshua Fan is the first UTEP faculty member to receive the Tom Lea Fellowship. Dr. Fan specializes in 20th century China with the UTEP History Department and will present history intertwined with Tom Lea’s personal experience in China as an artist correspondent between 1941 and 1945. In the early 1900s, Tom’s cousin, Homer Lea, was a military strategist for the Chinese Nationalist Army, whose name and influence opened doors for Tom when he arrived during a time of conflict and turmoil in 1943.  Below the surface, another war was brewing between the Nationalists and Communists that would change the course of history. An original Tom Lea painting, Dream of a Fair River: Yang-Tze, will be on display and Thrive Martial Arts will demonstrate their ancient skills.

UTEP CENTENNIAL MUSEUM, 610 W University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968

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21

FRIDAY | 10 AM

Soldiers Painting Landscapes

As the first embedded artist correspondent for LIFE Magazine during WWII, Tom Lea was intrigued by the theme of the Chinese Sung school of art,  “Small Man in a Vast and Wondrous World.”  One of his first paintings from China was illustrative of this theme: 60 Tex Hills Bunch Kweilin China, 1943. In this work, small airplanes fly above, and small people work under Kweilin, China’s vast mountains. Thomas Birkner, a UTEP professor of painting, will give soldiers a lesson on interpreting the theme while painting landscapes. Military personnel only.

SOLDIER RECOVERY UNIT, FORT BLISS ART AND HOBBY, 610 W University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968

RSVP Email robinramseyfox@gmail.com

 

22

SATURDAY | 1 PM

Tom Lea Combat Veteran Exhibit

Representations from Tom Lea’s time as the first embedded artist correspondent for LIFE Magazine during WWII are exhibited alongside combat warriors’ art. The Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Channel uses art therapy lessons to help veterans dealing with PTSD. Similarly, Tom Lea “got the war out of his head” after returning home from the war, by painting a portrait of his wife, Sarah.  Adair Margo, founder of the Tom Lea Institute, will give a talk, followed by a multimedia presentation featuring Lea’s art synced to the stirring music of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony’s last movement. In partnership with the Veterans Suicide Prevention Channel.
4th Annual Austin Veteran Arts Festival (AVAFEST) runs Oct. 12-Dec. 17.

OLD BAKERY AND EMPORIUM ART GALLERY, 1006 Congress Ave. Austin, Texas 78701

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26

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Unbridled: The Art of Tom Lea  

Founder of the Tom Lea Institute. El Paso artist Tom Lea refuses easy characterization. A painter, muralist, author, illustrator, and war correspondent, his artistic style was as varied as his occupation. A true 20th-century Renaissance man, Lea remains one of Texas’ greatest artists and aesthetic innovators. By allowing his subject to dictate his approach, Lea forged one of the more unique careers of any modern artist. Unbridled: The Art of Tom Lea exposes visitors to a vision without limit, featuring examples of the artist’s work in each of his chosen mediums.
Exhibit runs Sept. 22, 2022 - Jan. 8, 2023.

MUSEUM OF THE SOUTHWEST, 705 W Missouri Ave., Midland, TX 79701

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NOVEMBER

3

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

A Vast and Wondrous World:
The Chinese Influence on Tom Lea’s Landscapes

In his Oral History, Lea identifies an important personal inspiration, the 12th Century school of landscapes. He explains, “There was a school – I think it was the late Sung, Chinese – where there was the sky and earth and man. And there had to be evidence of man to give sky and earth its essential meaning.” Join Dr. Melissa Warak, UTEP associate professor of art history, at her presentation about the connections that span nine centuries. Then Hector Gallegos and Manolo Rodriguez, award-winning Mata Ortiz potters whose families immigrated to Mexico from China, will demonstrate their pottery-making skills and share their Chinese-Mexican heritage during an Asian-themed reception. 

EL PASO MUSEUM OF ART, 1 Arts Festival Plaza, El Paso, TX 79901

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10

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

Chew Family Legacy in El Paso

This presentation focuses on the remarkable history of the Chew family and the Chinese Community in El Paso and Juárez, starting with their grandparents’ involvement in the Mexican Revolution. They discuss how the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 affected their family and how the Chew Family’s third generation became some of the most prominent members of our community.  Join David Wellington Chew,
El Paso City council member and the first elected Asian American appellate justice in Texas, and Linda Yee Chew, the first lawyer of Chinese descent to serve as a District Court judge in El Paso. Enjoy a performance of a traditional Chinese fan dance and a presentation by Shinping “Champagne” Chyi, principal of Ai-Hwa Chinese School. Asian appetizers and no-host cocktails in a beautiful patio setting.

HOTEL INDIGO, 325 N. Kansas, El Paso, TX 79902

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15

TUESDAY | 4 PM

Forgotten Prophet: Homer Lea and America in Asia

Join an introduction to the remarkable career and even more remarkable strategic vision of Homer Lea, a cousin of Tom. He was barred from joining the U.S. Army due to a physical disability. Homer Lea lent his energy and brainpower to Sun Yat-sen in overthrowing the Manchu Dynasty in China in 1911, only a year before his early death. Beyond playing this dramatic role in history, Homer Lea wrote books of strategy that foresaw with fantastic accuracy the military moves Japan would make decades later to achieve mastery of the Asia-Pacific region. Chase Untermeyer, former United States ambassador to Qatar and assistant secretary of the Navy, will talk about Homer Lea.  Adair Margo will speak about the interactions of Tom and Sarah Lea with Lady Bird Johnson and LBJ. The event is co-hosted with Humanities Texas and The LBJ Presidential Library.

THE LBJ PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY, 2313 Red River St., Austin, TX 78705

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17

THURSDAY | 11 AM

The Fascinating Story of a Chinese Cemetery

Did you know that El Paso has the only Chinese Cemetery in the State of Texas?  Join us and explore Chinese history alongside historian Anna Fahy as we learn about Chinese burial traditions, how their cemetery came into existence, and the importance of preserving this unique El Paso historical treasure. See more...

CONCORDIA CEMETERY, 3700 Yandell Dr., El Paso, TX 79903

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DECEMBER

1

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

How the Railroad Transformed El Paso

In 1956, Tom Lea created a pen & ink drawing of The Arrival of the First Train in El Paso to commemorate its 75th anniversary. Key figures of El Paso history can be identified in it, including Tom’s dog, Boodle. Prince McKenzie, the executive director of the Railroad & Transportation Museum of El Paso, explores the history of the railroad and its consequences. He is a descendant of a pioneer family that has been involved in the history of the Southwest and Northern Mexico since 1881. After the talk, Prince will walk the group to the Railroad & Transportation Museum of El Paso, to view firsthand the train that served as the model.

EL PASO MUSEUM OF HISTORY, 510 N Santa Fe St., El Paso, TX 79901

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3

SATURDAY | 10 AM

Christmas Cards Woodblock Print Workshop

Tom Lea sent hand-designed and printed Christmas cards to friends and family every year. The relief method he used was the earliest form of printing, dating back to woodblock printing during the Han Dynasty in China. Susan Gonzalez, a local printmaker and marketing manager for the Tom Lea Institute, will give a presentation about Lea’s prints, a printmaking demonstration, and provide an opportunity for Fort Bliss soldiers and their families to make Christmas cards. DOD ID Card Holders and their family members only.

FORT BLISS ART AND HOBBY, 820 Holbrook Road, Fort Bliss

RSVP Email robinramseyfox@gmail.com

JANUARY

 

14

SATURDAY | 10 AM

Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas – And Celebrate Joseph Magoffin’s Birthday!

Former NATO Ambassador and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison relates the untold history of how dynamic women shaped Texas through their grit, courage, and independence to become the embodiment of the Spirit of Texas. Their lives inspire us to help both our communities and Texas thrive. Join us as Cliff Seamon, the El Paso Troubadour, sings ballads from the 200-year history covered in the book, Ballet Folklorico performs, and guests enjoy birthday cake made from the original Magoffin recipe. Co-sponsored by the El Paso County Historical Society and the Magoffin Home State Historic Site.

MAGOFFIN HOME STATE HISTORIC SITE, 1120 Magoffin Ave.  El Paso, TX  79901

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FEBRUARY

 

9

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

I Love El Paso

Like Tom Lea, highly accomplished individuals like Dr. Heather Wilson, president of UTEP,  and Jay Hone could live anywhere in the world but chose to make their home in El Paso. She is a former secretary of the United States Air Force and represented New Mexico in Congress for 10 years. Her husband, Jay Hone, is a retired Air Force colonel and attorney.  He served over 30 years Active Guard and Reserve and now uses his legal skills as a mediator and serves on the Executive Board of the Yucca Council of the Boy Scouts of America. So how does a power couple like this maintain a successful marriage while raising a family? What compelled them to make the Sun City their home?  Lean in and join us for charcuterie, wine, and beer tastings and a candid interview with Holly Cobb. Co-sponsored by UTEP, Progress 321, Zin Valle Winery, La Vina, Dead Beach Brewery, L & F Distributors and Sotol Por Siempre.

LARRY K. DURHAM SPORTS CENTER, UTEP, 2824 Sun Bowl Dr. #2788, El Paso, TX 79902

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MARCH

 

23

THURSDAY | 5:30 PM

How the Chinese Put El Paso on the Map  – And Pop-Up Exhibit

Chinese workers, first of the Southern Pacific Railroad, followed by the Texas and Pacific and others, put El Paso on the map as the Second Transcontinental Railroad connection of the United States.  Tom Lea commemorated the The Arrival of the First Train in El Paso in 1956 with an intricately detailed pen & ink which is now in the collection of the El Paso Museum of History.  The contributions of the Chinese who came to El Paso and made it their home add to the rich cultural heritage of the Valley at the Pass. Over the past 27 years, Anna Fahy has researched the rich history of the Chinese in the Borderlands. We invite you to participate in this discussion.

EL PASO MUSEUM OF HISTORY, 510 N Santa Fe St., El Paso, TX 79901

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APRIL

 

1

SATURDAY | 5:30 PM

‘Small Man in a Vast and Wondrous World’
Student Exhibit & Reception

As part of our Tom Lea Celebration, we are partnering with the International Museum of Art in April 2023 to hold a juried exhibit of student art. First, art teachers all over El Paso will give a lesson about Tom Lea’s landscapes on the theme “Small Man in a Vast and Wondrous World.”  Then, students will create artwork based on the theme. Please join us for the opening reception on April 1 at 5:30 p.m. where the cash-prize winners will be announced. Winning students will have their work displayed in the International Museum of Art’s Turney Youth Gallery. The exhibit runs April 1-23, 2023.

EL PASO INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART, 1211 Montana Ave., El Paso, TX 79902

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past brochures HERE

become a sponsor

We invite you to be a part of sponsorship and marketing opportunities for Tom Lea Month.

Build brand loyalty, attract new customers, preserve iconic art in the region, and transmit pride of place to the next generation. 

We rely on grants and donors just like you to keep the mission of the Tom Lea Institute alive, thank you in advance for your support and providence! 

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