Maria grew up in El Paso, Texas surrounded by the rich and distinctive Hispanic and Native American cultures of the region that had a great influence in her life and art. She was always fascinated with the history and traditions of the region and she had a love for drawing from a very early age. It was through the encouragement of her UTEP art instructor, Sally Bishop Segal that she realized that she had a unique talent in art and she made it is a mission to pursue art with a passion. Her undergraduate classes were at UTEP, Modesto Junior College and the University of Arizona in Tucson. She finally completed her BA and MA in art at UTEP. She taught all-levels art classes for several years in the public schools, part-time at El Paso Community College and is an Artist in Residence for Chicano Studies at UTEP.
Maria’s career has encompassed many areas having been a gallery owner/director, artist, muralist and educator. As a teacher she has been a strong advocate of the inclusion and integration of fine arts in the regular classroom curriculum with a priority being to instill pride in her students regarding their heritage and culture. She works in several media, including oil, acrylics, mixed media, colored pencil, and pen and ink, becoming best known for her watercolor and mixed media paintings. Maria wrote and illustrated a book titled “Famous Places in El Paso History,” a bilingual picture and activity book for children that is included in all the El Paso public libraries. As professional artist and educator, Maria has managed and organized many workshops, conferences, mural projects and art and literary events. Her art workshops provide opportunities to learn important information about the El Paso missions and the region and they encourage the participants to be culture bearers of those things that make El Paso unique and exciting. It also encourages the participants to continue to be the voices of our ancestors that lived and thrived here in this fascinating desert region of the Southwest.
Her studio works have been included in many juried and non-juried exhibitions throughout the Southwest and have earned many awards and honors. Her paintings are also held in various public and private collections, including those of the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University, El Paso Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, Tx., University of Arkansas at Little Rock Gallery, the El Paso Public Library, University of Texas at Austin, UTSA , Coronado Studios and many others.
In 2008 she was commissioned by the El Paso Public Library to create a mural on the history of El Paso for the Judge Edward S. Marquez Mission Valley Branch Library in El Paso, Texas. This mural was one of the largest murals she has designed measuring fifteen feet wide by seven feet tall. Her artwork has been featured in two art books ,“Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art” and “Triumph of Our Communities” published by Bilingual
Review Press at the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University. One of her paintings of the Virgen of Guadalupe was used in a PBS series on Chicano Art, “Visiones”. Her art has been featured in calendars and in the literary anthology,” Hecho en Tejas” and the chapbook “Mezcla” as well as numerous articles in local, national and international periodicals. In 2007 and 2009, Maria was selected a top ten 2-D art finalist for Texas State Artist of the Year and was a featured artist in a book titled “West Texas Women Artists: A Celebration” written by Kippra Hopper and Laurie Churchill and published by Texas Tech University Press. She was also selected for a special exhibition, “Desert Modern and Beyond-El Paso Art 1960-2012” at the El Paso Museum of Art in the summer of 2012 showcasing the artists of El Paso. In 2011 and 2020 interviews on her art were taped for a special documentary featuring Latino artists by Los Angeles movie Director Jesus Treviño and can be viewed on the website: Maria was inducted in the El Paso Commission of Women Hall of
Fame in the Arts category in 2015. “I believe that art can have many purposes. It can cross borders, speak many languages, give light to social issues, transcend race, religion, gender, and age. It can heal and bring beauty and peace to a changing world.
My mission is to create art that is a reflection of the good of our humanity.”-MN
Her artwork can be viewed on the Hispanic Research Center at ASU website: