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Posted March 8, 2012

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Edward Gonzales is the celebrity artist for A is for Art!, 2012

Legendary New Mexico artist Edward Gonzales has agreed to serve as the celebrity artist for the third annual A is for Art! gala/auction, scheduled for Sept. 28 at the Albuquerque Museum. Sponsorship packages are available -- tickets go on sale later this spring at $25 for adults, $10 for students. For more information, call 878-6165.

Albuquerque artist Edward Gonzales will be the celebrity artist for A is for Art!, 2012

Edward Gonzales always believed that people both young and old could take education into their own hands. It was a notion he turned into an action, and an action he turned into art.

“Scientists always say that science is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration,” said the legendary Albuquerque painter. “In art, it’s the opposite. It is 99 percent inspiration and 1 percent perspiration.”

The blood, sweat and tears – byproducts of Gonzales’ lifelong commitment to art – will once again benefit Albuquerque Public Schools on Sept. 28 at the third annual A is for Art! celebration. Gonzales, who attended La Luz Elementary, Garfield Junior High and Valley High, has agreed to be the celebrity artist for the event at the Albuquerque Museum.

“It’s hard to quantify just what this means for our event,” said Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus. “Edward Gonzales’ works hang in classrooms, living rooms and galleries throughout our state, and his presence will do so much to promote the good things APS kids do in the fine arts.”

A is for Art! includes both live and silent auctions of APS high school students’ works, as well as live performances from talented musicians throughout the district.  In the past two years it has raised more than $60,000 for the district’s Fine Arts program and the Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.

Gonzales has agreed to donate a painting to the live auction at the event, as well as posters. He also hopes to add a slide show and a question-and-answer session before the auction begins.

Gonzales and APS have been linked on a variety of fronts, including the naming of a West Side elementary school in his honor eight years ago. His works explore a variety of themes, but his New Mexico-themed looks at the importance of education strike deeply in the hearts of students and educators alike.

“I always wanted my work to have a positive thrust, a simple message, though sometimes simple messages are hard to get across,” he said. “I wanted to say that the educated person must take that role into his own hands.”

Gonzales, who holds a degree in fine art from the University of New Mexico, served one tour in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. It was a galvanizing experience for the kid who grew up on Carlton Street in the North Valley. He says he came home hoping to effect positive change through his painting – to tell stories of the Chicano experience and Hispanic culture that could be accessed by a wider audience.

“I wanted  positive social change and I wanted to do it simply and honestly,” he said.

His paintings reflect a beautiful New Mexico – a state that straddles the future and the past almost every day. They also give insight into how important grandparents, parents, students and teachers can be in moving a state forward.

His quest to explore his state remains strong; Gonzales says he’s on the road at least once a month, looking to tell stories through his art. And much like the young boy on Carlton Street, still looking to learn.

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