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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Barrio sculptor shares life story

Sculptor Jesus Moroles presented at the Pollock Gallery Saturday afternoon.
Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus
Sculptor Jesus Moroles presented at the Pollock Gallery Saturday afternoon.

Sculptor Jesus Moroles presented at the Pollock Gallery Saturday afternoon. (Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

Renowned sculptor Jesus Moroles spoke to an engaged crowd about his life, sculptures and influences at the Pollock Gallery Saturday afternoon.

Part of the gallery’s “Centers of Influence: Dallas’ Mexican American Barrios and Their Leaders” exhibition, the lecture evolved from a partnership with the Dallas Mexican American Historical League (DMAHL).

“It’s fabulous that our people, our community is so tight that when people go out like that, they come back to share their success,” DMAHL volunteer Juanita Nanez said.

Although Moroles was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, he calls himself a “product of Dallas.” Moroles discussed his father’s influence and impact on his life and his sculpting. Moroles’ father quit attending school in the third grade in order to work after his father passed. Moroles said his upbringing made him comfortable with tools.

“We grew up so poor, we would fix everything,” Moroles said.
Unlike other sculptors who send their designs to be built elsewhere, Moroles owns a workshop in Rockport, Texas that takes up three city blocks. His team can work on as many as 15 to 25 pieces at a time. Moroles presented many pictures of his work and explained the thinking and experiences behind their completion.

“It’s just amazing what he was able to do with these massive pieces of stone,” Frank Valtierra, a retired City of Dallas employee, said.

Moroles’ first sculpture was a fountain in 1980, but it wasn’t his first encounter with sculpting. During his last year of college, he took a sculpture class that earned him his first B.

Although he later found out that his teacher had never given anyone an A before, Moroles said the experience motivated him to improve his craft.

Since then, Moroles has built sculptures, fountains, memorials and more. He often acts as an architect for many of his exhibits. He joked with the audience about the criticisms he faced from architects and engineers when he wanted to change designs.

“They say all sculptors are frustrated architects and all architects are frustrated sculptors,” he said.

Moroles has sculptures and exhibits all over the nation and world that have earned him distinctive awards, such as the Award in the Visual Arts Fellowship in 1982 and the National Medal of Arts in 2008. His work is featured in places ranging from private museums, to institutions of higher education, to corporate plazas in New York City. to public exhibits.

Moroles’ speech hit close to home for many audience members proud of his contribution to the barrios community. He left the audience inspired to do more for the community.

“Nothing is out of reach. Everything is possible,” he said. “If you can build something, you’re a doer. You’re a builder.”

The Pollock Gallery is free and open to the public on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is also open on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
 

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