Las Vegas is celebrating the birthday of a home-town hero, Joseph Gonzales, on Thursday, January 18, at the Las Vegas Arts Council’s Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm with a pot-luck party and a gallery show opening.
That unusual combination of events was sparked by an Amber Lon MacLean painting hanging in the NMHU Fourth Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition. Artist Milt Deemer photographed Gonzales standing next to his portrait, Jim Terr saw it and contacted MacLean with a fun idea about a “Joseph Show.” Apparently, the idea had been under consideration for a couple of years in the arts and culture community, and its time had finally arrived. The Arts Council was approached and “The Joseph Show” was on! Artist and NMHU Associate Professor Todd Christensen then volunteered to design the posters and curate the show, and the “steering committee” was developed.
Born and raised here, a graduate of West Las Vegas Schools, Gonzales has been a fixture in the Arts and Cultural District of Las Vegas for years, cheerfully distributing event posters and flyers with a smile for all the merchants and especially for the artists and galleries. He has befriended them all, and everyone else he meets. His reputation grew until he became the unofficially Official Ambassador of Las Vegas, NM, designated by Main Street’s Cindy Collins and verified by a mayoral proclamation. Joseph Gonzales is valued for his contributions to the community, and appreciated for his warmth and friendliness he brings. Susie Tsyitee, Executive Director of the Las Vegas Arts Council insists, “This city is a better place because of Joseph, and we are better people because we know him.”
Expect to see photographs of Joseph in addition to paintings by well-known local artists Kim Reed-Deemer (shown), Kathryn Lenihan, Sharon Stillwater, and others, along with NMHU student sketches (he posed for a drawing class), prints, and who knows what else! Most of the art will be for sale, and many artists are donating their sales to “The Joseph Fund.” While some may bring personal gifts for the “birthday boy,” donations are encouraged. They will be added to “The Joseph Fund,” processed by the Las Vegas Arts Council, and 100% of the donations will be divided between Joseph’s two favorite charities, El Comedor de San Pascual, the soup kitchen located on the Plaza, and the Our Lady of Sorrows 1885 Kilgen Pipe Organ Restoration Project. The donations will be made in Joseph’s name, as part of the legacy of love he has hand-delivered to friends, family, neighbors, dignitaries, strangers, and tourists alike.
For more information or to donate to “The Joseph Fund” call the Las Vegas Arts Council at 505-425-1085. To donate online click below. Please include “Joseph” in special instructions. (PayPal deducts approximately $1 out of $30 for transfer fees.)
Las Vegas Arts Council is a 501(c)3 organization, incorporated in New Mexico, and donors may deduct contributions as provided in the IRS code, as well as bequests, legacies, devices, transfers and gifts. Our donors are all appreciated, and identified in our publications unless anonymity is requested.