Frida Kahlo's 114th birthday celebrated at College of DuPage

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (WLS) -- Frida Kahlo would have been 114 years old Tuesday, and the College of DuPage threw a birthday bash to celebrate Mexico's most iconic female artist.

The party brought together entire families, many in Kahlo-inspired fashion.

"They love getting dressed. They have a variety that their grandma brings them from Mexico all the time, so they got to choose what they wanted to wear today, and it was fun," said Nely Renteria, attendee.

Fun, and a learning experience as well. Kahlo's story is one of triumph over great tragedy and illness, and of a woman well ahead of her time.

"To me, I get emotional," said attendee Mari Contreras. "I want them to grow up to know that women, we can do anything. Like artists. We can do whatever we want, right girls?"

Centered around an exhibit which kicked off at the college's art museum in June, the celebration, like the exhibit itself, comes a year late after a pandemic-induced delay. In many ways, that made Tuesday even more special.

"We were so fortunate we were able to open this summer and it coincides with the state and the country opening up again, because the people coming to the show are not only excited for the show, they're just excited to be out," said Justin White, curator at Cleve Carney Museum of Art.

Organizers hope that those who visit, whatever their background, come away with not only a sense of Frida Kahlo's art, but her message as well.

"Her perseverance made her Mexico's most famous female artist," said Diana Martinez, executive director of Frida Kahlo: Timeless. "And she was such an inspiration to so many of us, because she said, 'At the end of the day we can all endure more than we think we can.' And she inspires us to keep going and to celebrate who we are and not be ashamed of our imperfections."

While Tuesday's birthday celebration is a one-off, those interested in the life, times and work of Frida Kahlo can visit the exhibit through September 6.
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