Kentucky Horse Park
OPENING TOMORROW - Spectacular 300-Piece Mexican Equestrian Exhibition at the Kentucky Horse Park

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 18, 2009  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209, Cindy.Rullman@ky.gov  


LEXINGTON, KY (June 18, 2009)  The Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse is pleased to announce Arte en la Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture, an exhibition illustrating one of the richest on-going traditions of Mexico through art objects and costume.  Arte en la Charrería will be on view from June 19 to September 11.

More than 300 spectacular objects in Arte en la Charrería – many dating from the late 1800s – will offer a window through which to view the unique culture surrounding the charro, or Mexican cowboy.  Leather work, costumes, textiles, silver and iron work, although crafted to serve a utilitarian purpose, merit consideration as art objects due to the exceptional craftsmanship of the charrería artisan, who takes pleasure in making each object with the bearer in mind.

The culture of charrería is rooted in a nearly 500-year-old heritage dating back to the introduction of horses and cattle to the New World.  During the 19th century, charros began to organize celebrations to showcase their skills and compete against one another.  After the Mexican Revolution, in an effort to preserve the tradition, these competitions were formalized by charrería associations. Charrería thrives today as the national sport of Mexico.

The objects in the exhibition are part of a collection started in the 19th century by Gumaro González, a landowner in Nuevo Leon, Mexico; collecting charrería artifacts remains a González family passion ever since.  Gumaro’s son and grandson, Roberto and Luis, built upon the collection by traveling throughout the country seeking the best embroiderers, tailors, hat makers, and blacksmiths.  Through their devotion, they formed one of the most complete collections of charro articles, and the most important collection of charro saddles in Mexico.

The tour of Arte en la Charrería is particularly timely in that 2010 marks both the Bicentennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain and the 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. The articles and costumes on display are more than simple vestiges of a nation’s folk tradition; they are reminders of a rich heritage that continues to this day.

Arte en la Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture at the Kentucky Horse Park is sponsored in part by AT&T Real Yellow Pages®, La Voz de Kentucky and Jalapeno's restaurant.  

For information about the exhibition, call the museum at 859-259-4232. 

Park Hours and Rates: From March 15 through October 31, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for children 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse – In Association with the Smithsonian Institution - and the American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  High resolution images from this exhibition are available for use with this press release by emailing cindy.rullman@ky.gov.

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The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse.  The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that hosted nearly 920,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2008.  The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.   Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses.   Open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.