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Local mariachi and Colorado native contribute to 18th annual art exhibit

By Amanda Lozano | 11 de noviembre de 2012

San Antonio.- Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is a week-long festival dedicated to mariachi music and traditions. One feature of the Extravaganza is the Mariachi themed art exhibit and competition; which encourages local and regional artists to create artwork that portrays the culture of mariachi, its music and traditions. This year’s mariachi art exhibit has two special artists that garner some extra attention.

Denver Colorado native Emanuel Martinez; a Chicano civil rights artist has contributed an entire ensemble of bronze mariachi statues to the gallery. A guitar player, “guitarronista,” and a female singer were three of the statues that will be showcased at the exhibit.

“This is the first time we have ever gotten something like this. Nobody has ever made a bronze statue of a guitarron player before!”

Cynthia Munoz, producer of Mariachi Extravaganza said. The female mariachi statue is a special tribute to members of all girls group “Mariachi Estrella” from Topeka, Kansas; particularly three women who died on a bridge playing when the bridge collapsed. It was a tragedy that happened sometime in the 80s.

Neftali Balderas, known for his local Mariachi group “Eco de Mexico,” in 1961 was an illustrator/artist at Kelly Air Force Base, and he traveled around the country with the Air Force Reserve’s mariachi group. He died on October 24 of this year. He was 84 years old. His son decided to showcase his father’s works at the exhibit. Neftali’s drawing “Pesadilla De Mariachi” features mariachi musicians who were playing in town during that era.

“All these people that play mariachi music are in this drawing. There’s Mr. Orta, his wife first taught me to play mariachi music! And look this is Juan Ortiz!” a laughing Cynthia Munoz said.

“Pesadilla De Mariachi” along with the entire mariachi ensemble of bronze statues will be some of the art features at the Mariachi Vargas art exhibit.

The art show is at the Centro Cultural Aztlán. 1800 Fredericksburg Road. The opening exhibit is Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public. For more information regarding the exhibition or the Extravaganza, call (210) 432-1896 or visit www.mariachimusic.com.


Amanda Lozano is an intern at La Prensa de San Antonio.  She may be reached at prensaintern@laprensasa.com.

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