Casa Dolores, Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico, houses one of the largest collections of Mexican folk art on the Central Coast. This museum is located in the historic Botiller Adobe (est. 1843), the only original, still standing two-story adobe in the city. Every corner of the home, including the tin art gallery tucked away in the bathroom, is adorned with Mexican folk art.
Casa Dolores is devoted to the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of an extensive variety of objects of the popular arts of Mexico. Many of the pieces displayed in the museum are unique to various regions in Mexico, such as:
Our collections range from Pre-Hispanic to current day.
Artists whose works are displayed include:
The museum engages with the Santa Barbara community by providing culturally significant programs such as temporary exhibitions, art workshops, presentations, film series, and public events.
About the Casa:
Our main three-room gallery showcases a revolving exhibition that is installed every three to four months, while the permanent collection is housed in two galleries upstairs -- along with the Spotlight gallery that features one spectacular piece from the Casa Dolores collection.
The two galleries upstairs feature distinctive blue pottery from Tlaquepaque, Nagual animal spirit figures from Tonalá, and Oaxacan black pottery whistles and toys. From tiny miniatures to paper maché dolls, leatherworks, fiesta dancing clothing and charming straw figures that depict the "Old Man Dance," these rooms offer a cross section of time and space in Mexican artistry and culture.
The tiles along the staircase that leads to the upper galleries are also a part of the collection. Founder and Director Linda Cathcart collected them during her trips to Mexico -- restaurants would oftentimes give guests tiles as a coaster for their drinks, or she would buy single tiles from vendors across Mexico.
The adobe's kitchen also is ever-changing, and has featured pottery from Patamban and San José de Gracia, the Dia de los Muertos collection, and a replica of a fruit mural inspired by one seen in Frida Kahlo's kitchen.
Casa Dolores' charming and peaceful garden also is on view and features garden pottery by renowned artist Roger Brown (1941 – 1997). A resident of La Conchita, Calif., Brown was a painter who was popularly known for using mixed-mediums, such as incorporating pottery into his work, and was also recognized for his commentary on modern society. Brown was a close friend and fellow collector of Casa Dolores’ founder and director Linda Cathcart. The Roger Brown Study Collection at the The Art Institute of Chicago has given Casa Dolores a long-term loan of Brown’s garden pottery from his La Conchita home, which has been incorporated into Casa Dolores’ own garden.