We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?

That I NEVER GAVE UP. I want my legacy to be that I created art all my life despite setbacks and hard times, and that I truly believed in the power of art and professed it. I hope I live 100 years making art like Georgia O’Keefe. Art is one of the most wonderful things in life. Art brings people joy or emotion, or causes them to think critically. The beauty of creating things from your own mind through art is miraculous and wondrous. Did you know in war-torn societies they always pursue to bring art back first– thru drama, dance, poetry, music and painting? Art lifts down-trodden people’s spirits and heals communities. Art is pure human spirit manifested into reality.

I’ve had to take out student loans to obtain my art degrees that have bankrupt me. I still pursue art. I’ve been an adjunct art Professor and they cut my hours. I still pursue art. I was an art gallery owner for 2 and 1/2 years, and it failed. I still pursue art. I was banned teaching volunteer art at the public library to children, teens, adults and senior citizens –due to Covid-19 library restrictions. I still pursue art. Due to no art jobs, I’ve had to work fast-food to support my life financially. I still pursue art.

Art is one of the greatest things of humanity. It is my greatest skill, and it is my greatest source of self worth. I am rich in artistic talent. I know that about myself. One of my favorites quotes is from the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. He said: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts”.

Art truly heals and brings out the best in humanity through understanding, compassion, critical thinking and communication. It is the ultimate use of freedom of expression. It is tremendously powerful to the human soul. ART MATTERS. That is my legacy.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an abstract artist primarily, but am skilled in most art genres due to my incredible art education. I have an MFA from Boston University, and a BFA from University of Colorado in Boulder. My heart breaks for Boulder because of the mass shooting that occured there recently. Boulder is a wonderful city that actively embraces the arts, and its arts community. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I pray for them.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In my hometown Pueblo, I would take them to Mineral Palace Park by I-25. It a gorgeous park with lots of flowers, and a picturesque bridge and pond and a quaint art gallery. The Riverwalk and Lake Pueblo are great too. Pueblo has the best Mexican food ever because we grow a ton of green chile. Rita’s, Mill Stop and Nacho’s (Where President Obama ate) are a few restaurants that are tasty. I would take them to Westcliffe, CO. The wide mountain range there is so beautiful to see. I would take them to Santa’s Workshop in Colorado Springs, if they had kids. It is so fun! Colorado Springs also has The Olympic Training Center. It is amazing. And of course, all the Colorado art museums are wonderful as well. Colorado has such naturally beauty and diversity.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I discovered www.art4healing.org as a wonderfully successful non-profit art organization in California that helps vets and people in emotional distress or those interested in art. I bought the curriculum and tried to get it to take-off in Colorado by doing art4healing workshops in my art gallery and at the public library. People taking the art4healing workshops have liked them, but I haven’t gotten enough support to really get it going in Colorado. My greatest wish is for people to heal through art. I wish I could find support to pursue the vision of getting art4healing going in Colorado.

Website: www.lopezme.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lopezme

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.