Press Release 12/3/12

Allen Downs Life and Work:
Winter Quarter in Mexico

Group exhibition that celebrates the career of artist and filmmaker Allen Downs and the Winter Quarter in Mexico Program he led at the University of Minnesota

Exhibition Dates
March 5 - 30, 2013

Exhibition Location and Hours
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota
405 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612/624-7530
Parking available nearby at the 21st Avenue ramp, hourly or event rates apply
Gallery hours are 11 am to 7 pm, Tuesday through Saturday

Accessibility and Cost
The Katherine E. Nash Gallery is wheelchair-accessible. The exhibition and public reception at the Regis Center for Art are free and open to the public.

Related Events

Lila Downs Concert
Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Ted Mann Concert Hall
2128 Fourth Street South
University of Minnesota
For ticket information: 612-624-2345

Allen Downs met Anita Sanchez in Mexico City and they married 1961. Their daughter, Lila Downs graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1992 with a degree in voice and anthropology. She is an accomplished and internationally recognized singer of world music. In 2012 she won a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album.

Public Reception
Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota
405 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612/624-7530
Celebrate the exhibition with students and faculty at the University of Minnesota who attended the Winter Quarter in Mexico Program with Professor Downs.
Free and open to the public.

Public Lecture and Panel
Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm
InFlux Space
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota
405 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612/624-7530
Professor Robert Silberman, Department of Art History, will moderate a presentation and discussion of Allen Downs' artistic legacy with guest artists.
Free and open to the public.

Allen Downs Life and Work: Winter Quarter in Mexico was organized by the Katherine E. Nash Gallery and curated by Linda Passon-McNally and Matt Bakkom. The exhibition and related events are presented in collaboration with the Consulado de México. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Exhibition Description
Allen Downs was an artist whose practice embraced drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and film-making. Allen Downs Life and Work: Winter Quarter in Mexico spans his creative practice, including drawings, paintings, digital photographs made from the original 2- ¼" color slides, digital videos made from the original 8mm and 16 mm films, and ephemera. Some of the artworks in this exhibition have never been shown to the public. The exhibition coincides with the 40-year anniversary of the Winter Quarter in Mexico Program, founded and led by Professor Downs in 1972.

Over 250 students at the University of Minnesota participated in the Winter Quarter in Mexico under the artistic leadership of Allen Downs, and many more followed in the years after his involvement. The exhibition includes artworks in a wide variety of media made in Oaxaca by students and faculty at the University of Minnesota who attended the Winter Quarter in Mexico Program with Professor Downs.

Allen Downs earned an MA degree in painting and printmaking from the State University of Iowa in 1940 and also became an accomplished photographer and filmmaker. He was a professor of photography and film at the University of Minnesota from 1950 through 1977 where he established the Film Department in 1952. Professor Downs worked with scores of student artists, both in the Twin Cities and across the United States.

In 1972, Allen Downs founded the Winter Quarter in Mexico Program. Under the guidance of experienced teachers, and in collaboration with Mexican artists, students learned first-hand both the specific art and craft techniques and the Mexican cultural context in which those arts were developed. Students practiced ceramics, drawing, film, metalwork, photography, watercolor, and weaving within the cultural context of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca. Professor Downs managed this program from 1972 to 1976.

Throughout four decades, Professor Downs brought his love for photography and film alive in award-winning films, including The Flight of the Teal in 1962. His film Swamp, was awarded the Gold Medallion, Screen Producers and Look Magazine College Competition. This film and 5 others by Downs were screened at Walker Art Center in March 1957. He divided his time in his later years between Minnesota and Mexico. In recognition of the extraordinary impact of Allen Downs' work, the University of Minnesota established the Allen Downs Photography and Moving Image Fellowship in his name to support graduate art students majoring in photography or film/video.

"Unlike the strict documentary photographer, I am concerned with pictorial structure over subject matter, but unlike the pure abstractionist, I do make use of the subjects in their natural relationships keeping representational quality."  Allen Downs

Artists in the Exhibition
Leah Anton, Cindy Berlovitz, Chris Cardozo, Jim Crawford, Bonnie Cutts, Allen Downs, Paul Dresang, Lynn Gray, Jodi Hohman, Barbara Kvasnik-Nunez, Barb Levie, Joy Liberman, Eve MacLeish, Tony Mayo, Bernie McNally, Paul Mirocha, David Nelson, Richard Nelson, Linda Passon-McNally, Rebecca Pavlenko, Randi Rood, Mark Stanley, Mona Toft, Jean Vong, Phil Waters

Katherine E. Nash Gallery Mission
The Katherine E. Nash Gallery is a research laboratory for the practice and interpretation of the visual arts. We believe the visual arts have the capacity to interpret, critique and expand on all of human experience. Our engagement with the visual arts helps us to discover who we are and understand our relationships to each other and society. The Katherine E. Nash Gallery will be a center of discourse on the practice of visual art and its relationship to culture and community -- a place where we examine our assumptions about the past and suggest possibilities for the future. The Nash Gallery will play an indispensible role in the educational development of students, faculty, staff and the community.

Department of Art Mission
The Department of Art provides an introduction to the practice of art for all students as well as immersive training for emerging artists.  We promote creative expression and conceptual development through a broad range of art disciplines and practices. Initial experiences emphasizing traditional methods are supplemented at intermediate and advanced levels by experimental processes. We offer courses in painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics and experimental media (EMA). Students pursue their work in our state of the art facilities, mentored by our faculty, all artists recognized in their fields.

Consulate of Mexico Mission
The Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul offers services to the residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and northern counties in Wisconsin. Our mission is to represent Mexico; to preserve the relations with federal, state and local authorities and to strengthen friendship and cooperation, according with our foreign policy; to protect the rights of Mexican Nationals living in the district of our responsibility; to showcase the breadth of cultural activities of interest to Mexico and Minnesota; and to promote ties with the Mexican community. website:

Recent Entries

News - 2015
What's Happening: The Allen Downs Project continues to respond to peoples' interest and inquiries. Stay tuned for updates and unfolding…
Walker Art's Mediatheque features films in May 2015
Four of Allen Downs' films in the Walker Art Center's Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection are now at your fingertips for…
Allen Downs Project on MNoriginal online
A wonderful segment just released on the Allen Downs' Winter Quarter exhibit is now available on TPT's companion website,! to…