September 10th, 2021

The James F. Miller Fine Arts Center Reopens with Xiuhmekatl

Art lovers and gallery hounds, heads up! Linfield University’s James F. Miller Fine Arts Center in McMinnville has, after a year and a half, reopened this fall and is scheduling shows featuring the work of vibrant and interesting artists.

Musicians play in an art gallery, as patrons wander, chat, and view the art.
The opening reception of Xiuhmekatl took place on September 8th.

The fall arts season kicks off with an exhibition by Lucia Torres, a Mexican multidisciplinary artist who tells stories and explores themes with thoughtful work that combines photography and embroidery.

Xiuhmekatl will be on display at the gallery through Oct. 2, and Torres will be there this Saturday at 5 p.m. for a hands-on  workshop to be followed by a festive outdoor concert at 6 p.m. She’ll be joined by musician and composer Sergio Ruben Medrano. 

The 1,500-square-foot gallery is off the beaten track of Third Street, which also has many art galleries, but it’s well worth your time. The exhibition is sponsored by the Lacroute Arts Series and the university’s Department of Art. 

Xiuhmekatl installation is comprised of about 30 pieces that are based on Nawi Ollin Teotl (movement of four energies). It’s part of a Mexican tradition called Tetzkatlipoka.

“The first energy tells us about a personal level, the second from a family level, the third from a community level and the fourth of a universal consciousness,” Torres explains in the artist’s statement accompanying the show. “So, it is in this installation that we see reflected the four divisions of the artist through the system of Nawi Ollin Teotl that defines our action in this world.”

The pieces, many of them beautiful black and white photographs of Mexican women themselves doing embroidery work, illustrate the relationship between women, community, art, music, healing, identity and cultural heritage.

Torres grew up in Mexico City where she studied textile design at University de Londres. She has a postgraduate degree in scenic costume design from El Instituto Catalán in Barcelona. And she is also a musician, as you’ll see on Saturday evening, performing with the group Semilla. 

Lucia (left) dances atop the tarima, a wooden platform that
serves as the beating heart of any fandango.

If you’d like a sneak peak, you can see her work online at or on Instagram @LuciaTorres. 

The show ends Oct. 2, and another will follow quickly on: Mark your calendar for Oct. 14, when Art as a Social Praxis, a show by Theodore A. Harris dedicated to art historian David Craven, opens with a 6 p.m. reception and artist talk. 

To visit the James F. Miller Fine Arts Center, go to the Highway 99 intersection in south McMinnville between Roth’s IGA and Albertson’s, head southeast on SW Keck Drive and after about a third of a mile, turn right on Library Court. The gallery will be on your left. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturdays noon-5 p.m.

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.