Two Emerging Local Artists Explore Their Mexican Heritage in Latest JJC Art Gallery Exhibit

The Joliet Junior College Fine Arts Department’s current gallery exhibition, “From Here- Desde Aquí,” featuring inspirational Mexican artwork by Pedro Javier Palacios and Rodrigo Montoya Ortiz, is on display now through Monday, Oct. 16 at the Laura A. Sprague Gallery, located on the Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.

The public is invited to come view the gallery during open hours.

In his artist statement, Ortiz writes: “The main purpose of my work is to portray how faith has shaped and continues to enrich and enhance the message I want to transmit in my art pieces.”

Incorporating nature and graffiti is also an important part of Ortiz’s work.

View photos of the exhibit

“For me, it is crucial that I add the distinctive touch of wild and beauty of nature as well as the raw strokes of graffiti tags and identifiers,” Ortiz said. ”I want my work to have the quality of traditional fine art and at the same time represent these three key elements in my paintings as a reflection of who I am.”

Inspired by his parents’ own immigration from central Mexico to the United States, Palacio’s work explores notions of immigration, identity, and culture.

“Much of my work incorporates images of religious icons and saints from Latin American sources,” he said.

The community is welcome to attend a reception on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the gallery.

Ortiz is from Michoacán, Mexico, and Palacios grew up in Joliet. Both Ortiz and Palacios reside in Joliet.

The Laura A. Sprague Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  For more information about the Laura A. Sprague Gallery or the JJC Fine Arts Department, visit

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