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Edward Gonzales's artwork
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Artist Edward Gonzales grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico always drawing and painting. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art in 1971 and, ever since, has been devoted to depicting the beauty and cultural traditions of his Hispanic culture through fine art. His work graces the walls of galleries, the pages of children's books, and can also be seen in a series of posters that promote family literacy.

In 2001, Gonzales served as New Mexico's honorary chair for the NEA's Read Across America; and in March of 2006, the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education awarded him the ‘Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts Award’ for advancing an understanding of Hispanic culture. He was also named an 'Outstanding Hispanic New Mexican’ by the New Mexico State Legislature, in 2007.



You have created a remarkable category of paintings promoting reading and lifelong learning. Your images, now published as posters with titles in English and Spanish, are seen in schools, libraries and homes throughout the United States. Could you please tell us about what motivated you to start this series of paintings?

In the poor working class neighborhood where I grew up there were few books, readers, or artists. I was eager to learn about art so I developed the habit, in grade school, of walking to the library each week. Through books I learned about the larger world, including the world of art, which I immediately knew I wanted to be part of. Now, through my "literacy and learning" series of paintings, I show how Hispanic families value education and tell children and adults of any background how important it is to read and to develop a love of learning.

In 2004 a new public school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was named after you, in honor of your contributions to art, education and culture. How did it feel to receive this special honor?

It came as a surprise when I learned the community had selected my name for Albuquerque’s newest elementary school. Artists do not normally receive recognition from parents and educators for their art, so I feel truly honored.

Posted July 2008

Edward Gonzales
Edward Gonzales's photo

Illustrated by the artist:

written by Rudolfo Anaya,
The Farolitos of Christmas
Hyperion Books for Children, 1995.

written by Rudolfo Anaya,
Farolitos for Abuelo
Hyperion Books for Children, 1999.

For more information and to see more of his fine art, visit his website.

More on the web:

At the NEA website you can read more about Edward Gonzales' background and how his literacy posters are being used by educators.





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