top of page

Colby Gallery

18th Street Pilsen Open Studios - 2022

1626 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608


Open to the public: October 22nd & 23rd / 12-8pm

Featured Artist:

Mario Castillo - Cross Sections of Time

Jeff Abbey Maldonado - Pilsen Landscapes

JDef Peace Project Student Showcase


I fell in lovvvvve with Pilsen in the early 1990's while studying Spanish. I had just returned from spending close to a year in Mexico and Central America studying Latin America art, culture, language, and history. Bonding with an elderly Indigenous woman in the mountains of Chiapas changed my life forever. The experience with her and studying in the Yucatan reached deeply into my soul and shaped it like clay, forming an all encompassing compassion and mission for Latin American art, human rights and the environment. My father's years of Native American Studies also influenced my paradigm of reality from an early age.

I opened Colby Gallery on 18th Street between Ashland Avenue and Paulina Street in 2005 to show art that empowers the human spirit, promote local Pilsen artists, and brings national and international artists into the neighborhood for the local artists and community to experience. The mission of the gallery is to work with todays most passionate and inspirational contemporary artists and support them in creating new paradigms of the empowered human experience and potential. 

I bought my building and have made Pilsen my home. Over the years I have been involved in the arts community, served as a local school council representative at Cooper dual language academy for several years, was a founding member of GPEDA, participating in P.O.S. for most years, participated in many local groups, and became a godmother to a local Mexican family’s little boy, etc… I believe in people, especially artists, and the power we have together to create a better world, with more harmony and justice, than the one we have been given. 


Mario Enrique Castillo Enriquez is an American artist born in Mexico. His mother was the well known outsider artist, Maria Enriquez de Allen. His father, Manuel Castillo de Leon, passed away when Castillo was about 14 months old. His step-father, Harold  Allen, was a prominent photographer and Chair of the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Castillo received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts. After SAIC, he did a year of graduate study at USC where he continued to do his sound pieces and “Instant Art” installations. At Cal Arts, he fell under the influence of John Baldessari. He also worked closely with Allan Kaprow (performance), Nam June Paik (video), Patrick O’Neill and Jules Engle (film), Morton Subotnick (electronic music), Paul Brach (painting), and Stephan Von Hume (kinetics). 

Of the Chicago’s pioneer Latino artists of the mural movement that started in Chicago in 1967, Castillo was the first to start painting murals at Lane Tech in 1964. He also did the first Chicano mural, the first multicultural mural, the first Abstract mural, and the first anti-Viet Nam War mural. His unique approach to mural painting with youth, served as a prototype for future muralists. 

After retiring from teaching Art and Design at institutions of higher learning, Castillo has continued to be prolific in creating new art, especially digital. His work is in the collections of eleven museums throughout the states, and other Art Centers and University collections. 

One of Castillo’s paintings was used to represent Mexican Art on the front cover of the 9th edition of Oxford University Press text-book, “The Course of Mexican History” authored by Meyer, Sherman, & Deeds (ISBN # 978-0-19-973038-4). Inside this book are art reproductions of Mexico’s greatest artists such as Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco, & Tamayo.

The SC Association Center for Research, SCALAR, created a small publication that contains Latin American artists who are representing the visual arts for Latinos. Castillo is one of the eight; he is  included  with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Roberto Matta, Raul Anguiano, Carlos Almaraz, José Bedia, and Mario Carreno Morales.

Castillo’s work is found in many private and public collections from which these 19 are selected: 

Art Institute of Chicago 

Chicago’s City Hall

Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

National HCC Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM

National Museum American Art, Washington, D.C.

Notre Dame University

Portland Art Museum

San Antonio Art Museum

San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art

San Francisco Museum of Art

San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art

The Albuquerque Museum

The Denver Art Museum

The Mexican Museum, San Francisco

The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL

Tucson Museum of Art

U of G, Ocotlán, Jalisco, Mexico

Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.

bottom of page