¡Juega Loteria! A Chance to Win Friends and Neighbors

October 6, 2008-March 24, 2009


Celebrating Latino/a Heritage Month

Loteria, the Mexican game of picture bingo is beautiful and incredibly flexible. In addition to being a traditional game, it has been adapted as an educational and political tool and in the examples here, as a vehicle for creating a community portrait. It has been used to teach English, healthy ways to live with diabetes, traffic rules, as well as information about the World Trade Organization and the corporations that belong to it. The structure of the game makes it an easy formula for conveying visual information.

Artist Teresa Villegas created the gorgeous and subversive lotería to your right. Her images of “El Destino,” “El Revolucionario,” and “La Telenovela,” update and expand the game with abstract concepts and images from contemporary popular culture.

The artist Carmen Lomas Garza brought the tradition of handmade loterías to the Bay Area from her native South Texas in the mid-1970s. Lomas Garza’s etching of neighbors playing the game shows prizes heaped in the middle of the game table surrounded by participants of all ages.

As long time Loteristas, we first began to adapt the game when we worked together at the Galeria de la Raza. María created a Día de los Muertos lotería in 1977. As a California Arts Council artist in residence, Kate worked with seniors to create the Centro Latino Lotería. She and Oscar Melara developed the concept of using Loteria to describe a community and bring it together, which María then applied to a community she’s close to for the Lotería de Mata Ortiz.

Kate Connell and María Pinedo

Check out Porto-Loteria, the handmade Loteria game about the Portola District in San Francisco

Portola At Play


  1. This exhibit reminds me of middle school spanish class. When I would beg the teacher to let us play Loteria. Loteria is a good way for children to learn things (as well as adults!), the loteria games on display in this exhibt have a wide varitey of tpoics all of which are interesting and good to know. This exhibit is colorful and fun embodying the aspects that I know and love of the game Loteria.

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