New Century Art Guild, Inc. (NCAG) today (Monday), announced that they have awarded their 2014 Veteran Artist Grant to Mario Lopez from Bandera, Texas. The grant includes a four day visit to the Midwest. On Saturday, March 22nd NCAG will host an art exhibition of Mario’s work and “Meet the Artist” dinner reception at their gallery in Kimballton. Lopez will share his inspirational journey as a soldier, family-man, minister and artist. In a press release, Lopez said he is a wounded warrior but let doesn’t let his injuries define him. He said he likes that he can help people by “Showing them that even though life throws obstacles our way, there is no reason to give up because life is always worth living.”
One of Lopez’ works of art. (from his website)
U.S. Army Sgt. Mario Lopez served in Iraq in 2006-7 and Afghanistan in 2008. In August of 2008, Mario was severely injured while on duty with a combat engineering unit in Afghanistan. As part of a routine convoy, Lopez was strapped into his MRAP Vehicle on his way to his next mission when a 300-pound roadside bomb exploded, creating a blast that sent the MRAP’s door hurtling into him and pinning him inside the burning vehicle. As a result of the blast, he sustained burns on more than 40 percent of his body and lost his right arm, right ear, right eye and most of the fingers on his left hand.
The New Century Art Guild is a non-profit arts organization co-founded by veterans and artists. Its mission is to promote the career development of emerging and established artists, especially those of military veterans that seek new careers in the creative arts. For more information on Lopez, go to www.paintingsbymariolopez.com.
Mario said, “While recovering in 2011, I picked up a paint brush with my remaining left fingers and began to experiment! Initially I was painting just for myself, but friends and family started to inquire about my art. Before I knew it, I was getting attention and requests from people I had never even met!”