Efren Gonzalez could be considered the glue that binds the local art community. He is regularly commissioned to do murals and sculptures for the town, and was amongst the few artists selected for a series of public murals to celebrate the 2010 Mexican bicentennial.
But more importantly, Efren, in his mid-forties, has begun to create something more than fine art: he’s creating a legacy that hundreds of children are already benefiting from.
That’s because five days a week, kids from all over town flock to Efren’s studio after school for free art lessons and invaluable instruction from an artist whose talents span several mediums. Efren makes it a point not to interfere with a child’s artistic process, offering guidance only when asked (which is often) or when he deems it necessary for the child’s artistic growth.
The kids’ art goes up for sale on the gallery walls and all the money (after materials and framing) goes to them.
Every few months, you’ll find Efren at the plaza wearing his master of ceremonies hat during charity art auctions as he gently coaxes bids from the local foreigner community with his humor and a little free tequila. The auctions benefit the after-school art program.
If you’re an artist yourself, or need something framed, Efren and his family also operate the framing shop next door to his gallery on Marcos Castellanos Street.