Celebrating Art & Education: Artist Reflects on Donation to ACC

Renowned Southwest artist Amado Peña has donated a collection of his celebrated work to Austin Community College.

Peña with the donated lithographs.

Peña donated 16 lithographs valued at nearly $100,000. The artwork will be added to ACC’s permanent collection and displayed at Highland Business Center. The college honored Peña with a reception Oct. 1, and Peña held artist-in-residence sessions at ACC – giving students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to observe him at work.

“Amado is a great friend to ACC and a true believer in the power of education,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “We are proud to display his art and are grateful for his generosity.”

Peña recently spoke about the donation as well as his passion for art and education.Â

Thank you for making this generous donation to the college. Why was this important for you to do?

When Dr. Rhodes was president of El Paso Community College, I helped the college with a project related to art. Once I started developing relationships with everyone at the college, I got really excited because I’ve always believed in the importance of arts in education, and I always wanted to donate to a higher education institution. When Dr. Rhodes came to ACC, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do a collection.

What do the pieces you donated represent?

Peña works during an artist-in-residence event at ACC.

I think every artist accumulates a body of work that’s important to him. I started as a printmaker, so throughout my career I produced many different images in the printmaking medium that mean a lot to me. It’s the perfect medium to highlight in the collection at ACC, which features all of the lithographs I’ve ever done. And I’m excited to continue adding on to the collection.

How do you feel art and education connect?

I am passionate about art and education because of the way they’ve shaped my life. Art has impacted me not just as a professional artist, but also while I was growing up – having the opportunity to do something I really enjoyed. I took my first art class in fourth grade, and I know how much of a difference it made to me. When I started teaching, the role changed because I had a responsibility to share my experiences and influence my students. I was able to see my students’ confidence grow, and they had fun in the process. Â

What do you hope students, faculty, and staff will take away when they look at your art?

That art and creativity are important. That’s something I’d like everybody to have. It is amazing what having a piece of art on the wall can do for you.

To learn more about Peña, visit his website. View photos from the reception and artist-in-residence event at HBCÂ on ACC’s Flickr page.

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