IMAS Opens Aliento a Tequila Exhibit November 10

McAllen, TX– The Aliento a Tequila (or The Spirit of Tequila) exhibition explores and celebrates the landscape, culture, and traditions that gave birth to tequila, Mexico’s national drink. In this series, photographer Joel Salcido includes the original distilleries that literally founded the industry, as well as several artisanal tequileras committed to the ancestral ways of making tequila from harvest to bottle. Aliento a Tequila is supported by L&F Distributors and opens Thursday, November 10 at the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) in McAllen, TX.

Agave dates back to the Aztec civilization as an important crop in Mexico. Since the 1600s, the people of western Mexico have cultivated blue agave from the red volcanic soil that blankets the region, to make what we know as tequila. Salcido traveled across Mexico’s state of Jalisco capturing images of distilleries and artisanal tequileras; blue agave fields at sunset; the agave’s pineapple-like centers, called piñas; elegantly shadowed barrel rooms, called añejos; and the agave farmers themselves. Salcido’s photographs, together with the bilingual Spanish/English texts, reveal not only the tequila making process but also the region’s traditions of culture and religion. Aliento a Tequila celebrates a craft that is rooted deep in the culture of Mexico and connects viewers with the labor and place that produces this popular spirit. The exhibition was curated by Roy L. Flukinger, Independent Curator Emeritus and Past Senior Curator of Photography of the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Aliento a Tequila is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Above: Joel Salcido, Don Julio: Jimador, 2012; archival pigment ink photograph printed on German Hahnemühle 100% rag paper; 16 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artist.

IMAS Members and guests are invited to a preview reception on Tuesday, November 8, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the IMAS. The event will kick off the exhibit with a first look at Joel Salcido’s photography and guests can enjoy light appetizers and drinks. The preview reception is sponsored by L&F Distributors and is free for IMAS Members, $10 for non-member guests. Those wishing to attend this special evening event are encouraged to RSVP and register in advance via the IMAS website.

A tequila tasting and painting workshop for adults 21 and older will be held on Thursday, November 17, after hours at the museum. Participants will be guided through an agave plant painting by IMAS artist Roni Cortez and get to sample tequila. Registration will open at on November 1 for this special experience.

About ExhibitsUSA

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small-and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email or visit Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. Additional information about M-AAA is available at

Joel Salcido, Euforia!, 2012; archival pigment ink photograph printed on German Hahnemühle 100% rag paper; 16 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition: Aliento a Tequila

Host Organization: International Museum of Art & Science

Runs: November 10, 2022 – January 8, 2023

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Location: 1900 W. Nolana Avenue, McAllen, TX 78504

Admission: Regular admission is $5 with discounted $3 for children ages 4-12, students with an ID and senior citizens 65+. Museums for All (WIC/EBT) discount is $1 up to four people per card.

Contact: (956) 681-2800 or visit

Joel Salcido, Campo Azul, 2012; archival pigment ink photograph printed on German Hahnemühle 100% rag paper; 16 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artist

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