The Empowerment Congress (EC) of Doña Ana invited me to be a contributor for the DescolonizARTE! Program and to tap into my experiences as an artist, organizer and educator to help visualize, plan and implement a youth-focused social justice curriculum and public art program in the colonias of Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico.  My involvement in DescolonizARTE! has been a continuation of the work of other artists and social justice advocates. I have been the lead artist over three sets of workshops and art projects. Public art has been made possible for the communities of Anthony and Chaparral, NM. Due to COVID restrictions, the youth were not able work on the murals, but works on a secondary art project from home, which will be on public display soon.

La Casa de nuestra comunidad

La Casa De Nuestra Comunidad, José Montoya, Jan 2021

La Casa de Nuestra Comunidad, located in Anthony, NM was started during Christmas week 2020 and finished in January 2021. La Casa, a domestic violence shelter and non-profit agreed to share their wall with us. With feedback from the youth, EC, and La Casa, we came up with a piece of art that pays tribute to cultura colonia, iconic heroes and the beautiful landscape that surrounds the borderlands. This mural plays tribute to Southern New Mexico and El Paso, TX.


Respirar by José Montoya and Gerardo Caldera with assistance from DescolonizArte youth. April 2021

“Respirar” was intentional and it’s located in Chaparral, NM. Youth participants learned about the proposed fracking plant, Newman 6, that will have long-standing damage to the residents of Northeast El Paso and the neighboring community of Chaparral, NM. Artist Gerardo Caldera created some very touching pieces dedicated to the victims of COVID using lungs. I loved the idea, so we invited him to help create. The desolate desert is home to the slithering corporations that seek profits over people. The right side is of greener pastures, renewable energy and air.

Published by artedemontoya

Artist, educator and activist living in the Texas/New Mexico/Chihuahua tri-state area.

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