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Mel Casas papers

Identifier: AAA 5448

The papers of painter and educator Mel Casas measure 1.0 linear feet and date from 1963 to 1998. The collection is comprised of biographical materials that include files on the art collective Con Safo, correspondence regarding business and exhibitions, writings by Casas on Chicano art and by others, printed materials, and photographic materials containing photographs and slides of Casas and others, his artwork, and an exhibition.


  • 1963-1998


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of the collection was microfilmed on reels 3316-3317 as part of the Archives of American Art's Texas project. The microfilm is only available for interlibrary loan.

Conditions Governing Use

Collections are made available for research purposes only. Documents, photographs, art work, microfilm, recordings, and transcripts owned by the Archives of American Art may be protected by copyright, trademark, or a related interest not owned by the Archives. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine whether any such rights exist, and to obtain necessary permission for use.

If you would like to reuse or redistribute a digital or microfilm document from the Archives of American Art, please submit a request through the research request system and note that you are interested in reusing the item. In order to protect both you and the archives, AAA must have a reproduction agreement in place. All reuse requests are subject to a $25.00 administrative fee.


2 Microfilm Reels

337 Images

Biographical / Historical

Mel Casas (1929-2014) received a BA from Texas Western College (University of Texas at El Paso) and an MFA from Universidad de las Américas in Mexico City. Mel is considered one of the most important founders of the Chicano Arts Movement. He was president of the “Con Safo group” in the 1970s.

As a civil rights activist, he wrote the Brown Paper Report which is an important document in Chicano History, that emphasized the importance of achieving social equality for Chicanos.

As an artist, he is best known for his 150 large scale paintings called "Humanscapes".

He created a wide array of works over his career and his paintings are held in national and international collections.

Smithsonian Archives of American Art, interview with Mel Casas:

Sources: Mel Casas, AKA ”Casas”,, May 14th, 2020.

Peoplepill, Mel Casas biography,, May 14th, 2020.

Zech Branson, Learn about the Art of Mel Casas in San Antonio,, May, 14th, 2020.

Acquisition Information

The Mel Casas papers were donated by Mel Casas in 1981 and microfilmed as part of the Archives of American Art's Texas project. Additional papers were donated by Casas in 1999. (From Smithsonian AAA)

Note: The Mel Casas Papers (to 1981) were microfilmed for the Texas Art Project at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as part of the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art. Currently the papers can be accessed on microfilm at MFAH. The University of Houston Libraries and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston are digitizing the Casas papers as part of a collaborative TexTreasures 2020 grant project through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).When digitization is complete, the Casas papers will be made available online through UH Libraries and MFAH websites.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Art Project Microfilm Repository