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Paint the Town Brown

For these Chicano artists, home is where the art is.

It's art that speaks to a community. A community still concerned about civil rights and women's equality. About immigration.

"During the Chicano movement of the '60s and '70s, the art was very crisis-oriented and historically grounded," says George Rivera, a University of Colorado fine-arts professor who's also a digital artist. "Chicanos were trying to recover their identity, so the first thing they did was deal with the immediacy of the situation and re-image the past. Now, in the new millennium, Chicano art has become trans-national. It has to do with problems Chicanos have here, but also globally -- like immigration, language, power differentials. Some deal with these in more of a metaphorical way than representational now, while others are still very much attached to the '60s and '70s . There has been an evolution."

"CHAC is very relevant," says Lorenzo Trujillo. "There's a whole new set of issues, circumstances, expressions and concerns. Nothing survives unless there's a need. And the need is there."

Artist Alfredo Ortiz found that he fit right in at CHAC.
John Johnston
Artist Alfredo Ortiz found that he fit right in at CHAC.
Carlos Frésquez first displayed his signature "Zoot 
Suit in Los Rockies" at CHAC.
John Johnston
Carlos Frésquez first displayed his signature "Zoot Suit in Los Rockies" at CHAC.

"In a hundred years, it might be an institution and it might not be," Stevon Lucero says. "But the point is, it's important now."


Laura could see it in their eyes: a glow.

Minutes after the Dale Lopez Remembrance show opened, dozens of visitors threaded through the CHAC gallery. Gray-haired grandmothers. Tongue-pierced teens. They squinted under the bright lights. They creaked along the wooden floors. They all stood before a retrospective of her son's work, as well as that of a few other artists, including Dale's best friend, and smiled into the colors.

Laura watched it all proudly.

"This was one of his dreams," she said. "Without this place, we'd never be doing this."

And so at CHAC, for a few short hours, Dale Lopez lived.

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