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Washington Heights Artist Weaves a Welcome to Mexico With New Exhibit

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 15, 2013 8:39am

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A new exhibit at the office of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez showcases two decades of artwork from a Washington Heights professor and activist.

Hecho En Mexico, which opened on Thursday, showcases 16 woven works by Elizabeth Starcevic, a former professor at City College of New York. The gallery's title, which translates to "made in Mexico," references the country where all of the pieces were created.

Starcevic, who taught Spanish at CCNY, learned to weave in San Miguel de Allende while on sabbatical in 1992 and returned to the city every year thereafter to continue working.

"It was a place that made sense to me," said Starcevic, 70. "I would go every intercession and every summer."

Starcevic, a child of Polish and Russian parents, said her travels are a major source of her inspiration, and the statement is reflected two pieces in the gallery: a woven map of the Australia and a depiction of the Sydney Opera House. 

Politics are also an influence for Starcevic, who has created pieces based on the war in Iraq.

Starcevic, who has lived her entire life on West 177th Street, taught at City College for 40 years. Though she still travels back to San Miguel de Allende, she no longer needs to: Starcevic received a grant from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance in 2012, allowing her to buy her own loom.

Hecho En Mexico will show through May at the district office of Ydanis Rodriguez, located at 618 West 177th St. The gallery is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m.