The highlight of the exhibit will be April 15, when CHAC will honor one of its own founding members, Carlos Santistevan.
“I helped organize it,” said Santistevan regarding his crusade in 1978 to form a collaborative Chicano art and culture center. “I got all the artists together and encouraged other art organizations to join under one umbrella, so that we could make sure that our art form was represented in our community.”
His works are on display in several museums around the country, including the Smithsonian and the Vatican, and he is arguably the most recognized santero in Colorado. In addition to being honored by the community he helped establish, Santistevan will also see his work on display alongside that of his children, Brigida and Carlos Jr.
“I felt like this was an excellent way to recognize him for all he’s done for CHAC and the Denver community,” Trujillo said. “He’s going to be showing with his son and his daughter which is really unique because he has passed down his techniques and traditions to his kids.”
As for the Lifetime Achievement Award that he will be receiving, Santistevan said it really hadn’t sunk in yet.
“Does a lifetime achievement award mean that I have to die tomorrow?” he joked. “I hope not.”
In referencing his art, Santistevan is direct in saying he never was able to rely solely on his art for financial gain, but it was always something that kept him whole.
“I always feed my body, but my artwork feeds my soul,” he said.
Santistevan will be honored on April 15 at CHAC. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.