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Local community-minded muralist to have two works in national Latino art museum

This month, local muralist Jimmy Longoria will see a couple of his pieces in the permanent collection at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

Longoria, along with his wife, Connie Fulmer, is behind a nonprofit organization called Mentoring Peace Through Art, which puts youth to work on murals and other art projects.

The two museum-bound pieces come from his collection, and are titled, in Spanish, “My Grandfather’s Shovels.”

“The shovels are very unique in that they’re not decoration,” he says. “It’s not just an artist playing with form.” Rather, the work pays homage to his grandfather, a farmer who lived in Texas. In the 1960s, his grandfather “painted red stripes on [his shovels] so as not to lose them,” Longoria says, The shovels were needed for digging irrigation ditches.

Other farmers ended up following suit, embellishing their shovels with unique designs, to make sure they stayed put.  

“It’s about leadership, the kind of leadership that’s tied to what one does naturally, but also ties you to others in the community,” he says.

Longoria also has work hanging in such community centers as the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), in North Minneapolis. Soon he’ll be working with students at Richard R. Green Central Park Community School in Minneapolis.  

“My art has to be understood almost entirely on a different base than what most were doing in the 20th century,” he says. That is, it’s not about the individual, but it “manifests values of the entire village and its function.”  

Whether he’s working with schoolchildren or painting shovels, the work is “interwoven into the fabric of society,” he says. “We use the artist’s toolkit to build community.” 

Source: Jimmy Longoria, Mentoring Peace Through Art
Writer: Anna Pratt

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