By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Patrocino Barela

Losing his mother and sister before he turned 5, Patrocino Barela experienced a difficult childhood. Rarely attending school in his hometown of Bisbee Arizona, Barela never learned to read or write spending his youth learning to draw, carve and mold.

Working as a laborer during the early ‘30’s, Barela rediscovered his extraordinary ability to carve and took a position with President Roosevelt’s New Deal Federal Art Project. Expanding his art to include bultos, santos, and massive Spanish style furniture, his work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art where it captured International attention.

By the time would Barela died in 1964, his carvings had become some of the most coveted of all time, purchased by numerous museums and private galleries throughout the world.