Preparing an exhibition during a pandemic is an enormous challenge. For Sylvia Orozco, executive director of Mexic-Arte Museum, it meant learning new skills and stepping into arenas that had previously been a mystery to her. But in the end, the show must go on.
“We went ahead and finished the exhibition and opened at the end of May,” Sylvia said. “We’re on our fourth exhibit already.”
Little by little, things are getting back to normal for this Texas Mutual policyholder. But it’s a different kind of normal. The museum has had to adapt – and so has Sylvia. She’s learned to edit video and run software that allows them to hold virtual events.
“It was kind of painful in the beginning because we didn’t have good computers, we didn’t have software, microphones, cameras, all that stuff,” she explained. “So we upgraded our equipment and started piecemealing things together so that we could produce our programs. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.”
Sylvia admits that creating something beautiful in a time of turmoil can be frustrating. It’s also one of the things she loves about her job.
“It’s just exciting to come to work because you learn something or you’re inspired by something every single day,” she said.
Mexic-Arte Museum was founded in 1984 to present and preserve Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art. While planning events is a big part of her job, Sylvia also supervises staff, meets with donors and is very involved with community groups.
Keeping those people safe is her first responsibility.
“We’re following the health protocols,” she said. “We’re open at reduced capacity and we’re all wearing masks. When we had our Day of the Dead event, we did it virtually, and we had a virtual gala this year. And all our education programs are virtual now, as well.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mexic-Arte received an early dividend check from Texas Mutual, along with grant money and funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The funds allowed them to install a plexiglass barrier, create additional signage with safety messaging, and set up a sanitizing station. The museum also developed a website and an online store which sells, among other things, masks.
“We got masks from San Miguel de Allende, from Puebla and from Guatemala. They’re real unique,” Sylvia said.
Although the pandemic has required the museum to make numerous changes, what hasn’t changed is its commitment to safety. Recently, Sylvia used a Texas Mutual safety grant to purchase new ladders and upgrade their office equipment.
“We’re at the computers all day, sometimes eight or 10 hours a day. So with the grant money, we were able to purchase convertible desks that allow you to stand. And it really helps. Your back feels better, you feel more energized. And now all our staff members have one,” she said. “Safety is important to us, which is why we take all the precautions that we are required to take and even more above that. Because it’s good for us and for the employees. We need to be safe.”
At Texas Mutual, we’re proud to be on the job with Sylvia and 1.5 million other hardworking Texans. With safety grants and programs that help businesses make safer, healthier work environments, we’re changing the way workers’ comp works for you.
Since 2019, we’ve been featuring the stories of our policyholders, like you, and their employees. We’re proud to highlight these Texans who share a commitment to safety and are doing meaningful work. Get to know more hard-working Texans across the state.