National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $22,000 to the Old Jail Art Center for the upcoming exhibition René Treviño: A New Codex. In this exhibition contemporary Mexican-American artist René Treviño will create an installation comprised of his own work alongside his personal selections from the Old Jail Art Center’s Pre-Columbian collection. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. 

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the OJAC, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.” 

“An NEA Art Works grant is a validation of the type of quality exhibitions the OJAC provides to a diverse audience. This support is vital to the mission of the OJAC to provide art for all that is free for all,” said OJAC Executive Director Patrick Kelly. “In addition, it allows visitors to see ancient objects in a new light with the help of contemporary artist René Treviño.” 

Utilizing extensive research of Mayan and other cultures’ carvings, Treviño develops contemporary images from Mesoamerica’s ancient steles and codices. He then combines these forms and symbols derived from ancient culture with popular culture references such as Wonder Woman, Oreo cookies, and pop designer Lisa Frank’s canon. The OJAC installation will incorporate Treviño’s large-scale works on paper along with smaller works on leather skins and short looped digital animations. Many of the objects in the OJAC Pre-Columbian collection to be utilized are figurative. Those figures become the “players” in drawings and animations. Placing his own sculptural objects, like jewelry, masks, or small drawings, into the vitrines with the objects from the museum’s collection, will further challenge visitors to see and seek relationships between the ancient and contemporary. The result is an artist’s created world that references our past and speaks to our present and future. 

 René Treviño: A New Codex is on view from September 15, 2018 – August 24, 2019. This exhibition is organized by the OJAC and curated by Patrick Kelly. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit 

Additional Support

Support for René Treviño: A New Codex is also provided by Anonymous, Erin Cluley, Pam and Bob Tidwell, and Travis Vandergriff.

General Operating support is provided by the Still Water Foundation, Summerlee Foundation, T.J. Brown and C.A. Lupton Foundation, Texas Prairieland Foundation, and the OJAC’s dedicated board, patrons, and members. 

 OJAC Mission

The Old Jail Art Center seeks to enhance the lives of area residents and visitors by providing art for all