News

SBTHP Presents Junípero Serra in Mexico - Five Missions in the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro

 

January 30, 2013

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) is pleased to present a new exhibit Junípero Serra in Mexico: Five Missions in the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro at the Casa de la Guerra (15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara) on display February 2 through April 28, 2013.  Enjoy an opening reception on Thursday, March 7 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., a free First Thursday event.

 

The year 2013 will be commemorated in Spain, Mexico, and California as the 300th anniversary of the birth of Fray Junípero Serra, founder of the first nine links in the chain of 21 Alta California missions as well as the chapels of California’s four presidios – San Diego, Monterey, San Francisco and Santa Barbara. In honor of this anniversary, SBTHP is hosting the traveling exhibition Junípero Serra in Mexico: Five Missions in the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro.

 

 

The exhibition is curated by scholar Julianne Burton-Carvajal, Ph.D., who also authored an accompanying publication available at Casa de la Guerra and El Presidio SHP. Junípero Serra in Mexico features dramatic images by professional photographer Jeffrey Becom and original pen and ink drawings by local artist Richard Perry and reveals Serra’s very first missionary project: a group of five mission churches in the Viceroyalty’s most remote and resistant region. Called by the Spaniards Cerro Gordo and later Sierra Gorda (big peak, big mountain range), it sheltered a mix of indigenous groups who repulsed one missionary effort after another for decades.

 

In 1750, the same year they arrived in Mexico City from their native island of Mallorca, Serra and his former students Juan Crespí and Francisco Palóu were among the missionary trainees who volunteered to take on that daunting assignment. Fray Francisco Lasuén followed in 1762 and remained for five years.

 

The five mission churches that Fathers Serra, Crespi and Palóu created along with some 20 other Franciscans in active collaboration with their indigenous converts are a spectacular and fascinating architectural legacy. Unlike any mission churches in Upper California, their façades are “exterior altarpieces,” literal “sermons in stone” made of richly painted and intricately carved stone and stucco. Like the missions of Upper California, the Sierra Gorda complexes were allowed to fall into ruin and have been painstakingly restored through a series of 20th century efforts. The international importance of the Sierra Gorda missions was recognized in 2003 when they were collectively designated a World Heritage Site (Patrimonio de la Humanidad) by UNESCO.

 

 

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CALENDAR LISTING

 

Opening Reception: Junípero Serra in Mexico: Five Missions in the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro

Date & Time: Thursday, March 7, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Casa de la Guerra, 15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara
Cost: Free First Thursday event

Description: In honor of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Fray Junipero Serra, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is hosting the traveling exhibition Junípero Serra in Mexico. Dramatic images by professional photographer Jeffrey Becom and original pen and ink drawings by local artist Richard Perry highlight spectacular but little known missions founded by Serra in the remote reaches of Mexico’s Sierra Gorda region.

 

Exhibit Dates: February 2 - April 28, 2013
Saturday - Sunday, Noon to 4:00 PM
Casa de la Guerra, 15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara
For more information call (805) 965-0093

 

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