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Inspection of chile in the fields

Melding History and Art -- The Bracero Program

June 01 October 13

An exhibit of sculpture, painting, and historic photographs telling an underappreciated part of New Mexico history, “Braceros – Melding History and Art”, will open at the Branigan Cultural Center in Las Cruces on Friday, June1.

The Braceros Program ran from 1942 through 1964 to meet the demands of agriculture and the railroad industry that was hit by a massive labor shortage caused by World War II. This massive effort to help feed the U.S. during World War II brought over four and a half million legal migrant workers to the United States from Mexico.

The Branigan will be the exhibits’ third showing before it travels on to Western New Mexico University in Silver City. High attendance at the installations in Deming and Columbus illustrate the resonance of the Bracero Program in southern New Mexico. Deming sculptor Diana LeMarbe learned of the Braceros program from friend and mentor Velva Hurt, whose family had first-hand experience with the program and employed braceros on their farms.

The exhibit features sculptural works by LeMarbe accompanied by paintings by Las Cruces artist Jeri Desrochers and historical research of Raymond Cobos as well as photographs from the Smithsonian Collection.