Museum Celebrates 25 Years of De Colores Art Show


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the “De Colores Art Show.” The show’s founder, Xavier “Big X” Montes, chose “Sanctuary/Santuario” as the theme for this year’s milestone exhibition.

The exhibit will be on display at the Santa Paula Art Museum, where the show has been hosted annually since 2010. In responding to the theme of the show, 31 artists representing Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties have interpreted the idea of “sanctuary” in ways that are all together personal, political, spiritual and relevant to our times.

The show will open with a premiere party on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Santa Paula Art Museum. Guests of the event will enjoy poetry readings, Folklórico dancers from Inlakech Cultural Arts Center in Oxnard, and music by Cali-Mex band “Los Fabulocos,” as well as Xavier Montes and his De Colores music students.

Admission to the premiere party is free for everyone.

Montes chose “Sanctuary/Santuario” as the theme for his 25th show as a way to honor the many men, women and families who have risked their lives crossing borders to come to the United States.

The exhibition will be on view Sept. 15 through Nov. 4.

The De Colores Art Show was founded by Montes, a Santa Paula native, in 1992. After receiving his B.A. in studio art and a teaching credential from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he returned to Santa Paula in 1983 to care for his beloved aunt who had helped to raise him. He has remained in Santa Paula ever since.

As an accomplished Latinx artist and musician, Montes realized that there were no venues in which to exhibit his art in his hometown. Xavier wanted to give back to his community and began to look for places to exhibit his art and the art of other Latinx artists.

Xavier’s group show began as a one-day art exhibit at the Santa Paula Train Depot. It was exhibited there for four consecutive years with the support of the Santa Paula Society of the Arts, especially Linda Gruber and Virginia Gunderson. In its fifth year, Montes was invited to exhibit the show at the California Oil Museum by the museum’s executive director, Mike Nelson. It was also transformed from a one-day event to a one-month show. The California Oil Museum was home to the exhibit for several years.

The De Colores Art Show moved to the Santa Paula Art Museum when that Museum opened in 2010. There the show was able to grow even larger and be displayed for a longer period of time each year. The Santa Paula Art Museum says it is honored to host the De Colores Art Show on its 25th anniversary and to exhibit the works of so many influential Southern California artists.

The Santa Paula Art Museum encompasses two historic buildings at 117 N. 10th St. and 123 N. 10th St. in downtown Santa Paula.

The museum features rotating exhibitions of vintage and contemporary art. Regular museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Regular admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for students and museum members. For more information, contact the Museum at (805) 525-5554, or visit:

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