Guide to the Leo Limon Papers CEMA 95

Finding aid prepared by Callie Bowdish and CEMA staff
University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-9010
(805) 893-8563
July 2009

Title: Leo Limon Papers
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 95
Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 2.0 linear feet
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1997- 2008
Date (inclusive): 1975- 2008
Abstract: The Leo Limon Papers spans from 1971 to 2008. The collection contains correspondence, documents concerning various Los Angeles-area events, and a photo album that holds both professional and personal photographs that cover the past thirty years. Limon, one of the most distinguished artists of the Chicano Art Movement, is both an important artist and prominent community activist.
General Physical Description note: One document box, one binder box photo album, and one oversize folder and two posters.

Use Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

Conditions Governing Access note


Biographical/Historial note

Over the years, Leo Limon has earned recognition and accolades from his peers and colleagues throughout the professional art world, and he has enjoyed widespread popularity with the community as a leader and role model. His activities date back to the very formative years of the Chicano Art Movement, and over that time, his work has reflected the vision, aspirations and images of his surroundings and roots. Leo has always been a cultural worker and an arts ambassador for East L.A. and the Chicano community. In the early years he was very influenced and involved with the art group Los Four and worked with Carlos Almaraz, the MeChicano Art Center, Plaza de La Raza, Centro de Arte Publico, and the Saturday Tutor Art Class, directed by Bill Tara at Otis Art Institute.
During his residency with Self-Help Graphics, Leo was involved in the development of several important programs at the center, including the Annual Celebration of Dia de Los Muertos. Past director, Sister Karen Boccalero osf, allowed him to open and run the screen print shop and later evolved into the well known Atelier Printmaking Program. His Fine Art Silk-Screen Prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally as a result of several exhibitions.
In order to pursue his commitment to youth in the community, Leo assisted with the coordination of various projects including the L.A. River Cats Restoration and Re-creation project at the Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation, Inc. He's currently a group facilitator with the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute, mentoring Chicano youth. He is also involved in a number of groups and efforts to revive the Los Angeles River as a historic region, cultural arts enclave, and tourist destination.
Currently, his work is featured in two important recent publications. Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture, and Education. Leo's life work and impact to date have left a positive legacy not only upon the local community and culture, but also the art world in general. He is one of the most distinguished mid career artists of the Chicano Art Movement.

Series Description

Series I Correspondence 1992- 2006
Correspondence includes personal and professional letters from Limon's career. It spans gallery exhibitions, personal and political letters, and community events brainstorming.
Series II Subjects 1993- 2008
This series covers various art events in the Los Angeles area as well as promotional material for such events. Some of the events Limon was a part of; for others, he was not.
Series III Photographs 1971 - 2008
Photographs in the album range from personal (various pictures of Limon and his family at various social and familial events) to professional (pictures of his murals and works both completed and in progress). Some photographs have captions accompanying them written by Limon himself.
Series VI Posters 2002, 2006

Related Collections

Self Help Graphics and Art Archives (CEMA 3), The Richard Duardo Collection (CEMA 65) and the Galería de la Raza Archives (CEMA 4). There is also a Leo Limón Oral History Book and video documentary titled, Leo Limón: Portrait of an Artist, that are in production.

Preferred Citation note

Leo Limon Papers, CEMA 95, Department of Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.


The Leo Limon Papers, spans two boxes and the years 1971 - 2008. It is a portrait of Leo Limon, a distinguished artist from the Chicano Art Movement. A prominent artist, muralist and community activist, he has been involved with art and community endeavors such as the Los Angeles River Catz Project, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, and Chicano Visions exhibitions. The Leo Limon Papers contains correspondence, events information and promotional material, a photograph collection, and copies of two of his posters.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Callie Bowdish and CEMA staff, July 2009.


Series I Correspondence 1992- 2006

Text 1, Folder 1-5

September 1992 - October 2006 1992- 2006


Series II Subjects 1993- 2008

Text 1, Folder 6

Exhibitions - Announcements 2005- 2007

Text 1, Folder 7

Exhibitions - Chicano Visions 2001- 2003

Text 1, Folder 8

National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute undated

Text 1, Folder 9, 10

Flyers and Announcements 1992- 2007

Text 1, Folder 11

Flyers and Announcements undated

Text 1, Folder 12

Friends of the Los Angeles River 2005

Text 1, Folder 13

Los Angeles River Catz Project 1997- 2006

Text 1, Folder 14

Newspaper Articles 1993- 2006

Text 1, Folder 15

Self-Help Graphics and Art 2007- 2008

Text 1, Folder 16

Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research 2006


Series III Photographs 1971- 2008

Text 2

Photo Album


Series IV Posters

Graphic materials CEMA Workroom

Down by the cornfield 2002

Dimensions: 24 x 18 in.
creator: Limon, Leo


This is an offset poster of one of Leo Limon's LA River Catz. The original was acrylic on canvas. The poster includes yellow corn and a yellow cat head with L.A. River wildlife on the bottom. There are 13 copies of this poster.
Graphic materials CEMA Workroom

National Latino Congreso- 2006 2006

Dimensions: 24 x 18 in.
creator: Limon, Leo


Poster text reads Commemorative Poster Los Angeles, California. It is signed by Leo Limon. This picture is of a young Chicana protestor holding an American flag and wearing a button that says " Su Voto Es Su Voz" (Your voice is your vote). On the bottom there is a crowd of protestors with a banner that says "Hoy Marchamos" (Today we march). It appears to be an offset that was originally acrylic on canvas. There are 15 posters.