Frida Kahlo Exhibit opens at College of DuPage art museum in Glen Ellyn

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (WLS) -- Most any major museum in the world would be proud to display a collection of Frida Kahlo's works, and many regard them to be among the most important of the 20th century.

A community college in the western suburb of Glen Ellyn does not immediately come to mind as a likely host, but the College of DuPage's art museum is exactly that.

"When viewers see her work and hear her voice, it gives them a voice to address challenges in their life," said curator Justin Witte.

"Frida Kahlo: Timeless" is the largest private collection of Kahlo's work in the world. She created only about 200 pieces, and 26 of them, including her most important works are in Glen Ellyn until early September.

The town is celebrating with the college at this opportunity, not only to host a world class art collection, but also the estimated $8 million of economic impact it will bring to the Glen Ellyn businesses from visitors coming from around the world to see it.

"We provide context and accessibility to the community that are unique from a museum," said arts center director Diana Martinez.

Additionally, starting on her birthday, July 6, Kahlo's work will also be displayed on the side of the Merchandise Mart downtown.

At the college they have also created a Frida Kahlo historical exhibit detailing her life and it's many challenges. Kahlo lived through the Mexican Revolution and the Great Depression. She overcame immense physical hurdles including polio as a child and recovery from a horrific bus crash as a teenager. She also faced discrimination as a woman in the male dominated art world and was married to acclaimed artist Diego Rivera. But she became known as the people's artist, an educator who would likely want her work displayed on a college campus rather than a stuffy museum.

"There was nothing about Kahlo that was elitist. We believe she'd like that it was here," said Witte.
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