Clipped From El Paso Herald-Post
El Paso Herald-Post Editorials Features Artist Schedules Dedication, Blessing* There's Big Doin's at Manny Acosta's . By BETTY LIGON There's going to be big doin's out at 366 Buena Vista street today and tomorrow. Manny Acosta is throwing a party - actually two parties. Anyone who has been privy to one of his festive frivolities knows what that means. But this one is special because it celebrates the dedication and blessing of his new art studio, Tres Jacales. TODAY'S BASH begins with an open house at 4 p.m. and the blessing is scheduled for 8 p.m. The serenata will hopefully get under way at 8:30 and this means any of Acosta's wide circle of friends is invited to come, bring instruments and sing and play into the wee hours. The fun begins all over again tomorrow with another guest list, a Serenata at 6 p.m. and the Dedication at 7:30. What the noted artist has dubbed, "A Baile Ronchi-Ronchi" will bring on the fandangos and the foot-stompers at 8:30 p.m. and it'll be no holds barred and Katy bar the door! All this celebrating has been two years in the offing after Manuel Acosta and his family were thrown out of their longtime home at 121 South Hammett street to make way for the N o r h -S o u -t h freeway. There his studio and parties had become almost legendary, accentuated by the rabbit warren architecture that had mushroomed over the years. BECAUSE of zoning laws on Buena Vista, Acosta was forced to build 1 his studio as a house with the usual kitchen, dining room, bath, living room. He says in reality they will become "the bar, the studio gallery, the little gallery, the can." Most of the labor has been done by Acosta himself, aided and abetted by friends and numerous relatives. He said, "It took me 14 months, 14 cases of beer and 14 pounds of bologna. But I still have a long way to go to get it finished." Early this week the front gallery, a whopping 22 by 35 feet and 16 feet high, was still a shambles lined with couches, the upright piano, a majestic bookcase and four very special Acosta paintings. The main gallery frames a huge north window, the only exterior light. Eventually huge double doors will shut off the smaller back room. For now a colorful bedspread curtains off part of the doorway. He insists the reason for the tall ceiling is "to be good for hangovers. Both heads will fit in here. Besides the next generation will be taller — seven footers, I have to plan for the future." IN THE KITCHEN can be found the standard stove, refrigerator, sink, "so we can cook for our parties." He has the antique wooden kitchen safe, or sideboard, someone gave him years ago. "Can't be a safe," he laughed. "Nothing's safe in there." Whereupon he opened the lower doors to reveal his cache of alcoholic spirits. His jokes about drinking are for effect rather than any semblance to reality. One bath is awaiting tile finishing. Another was installed just in time for the opening this weekend. "I got this pretty yellow fixtures at a bargain —only used once," he quipped "It is my one concession to all my friends who have had to stand in line for one bathroom all these years." IT'S EASY to spot Manny's house because of the kiosko out front, "I remember every little Mexican town had a bandstand and I always told myself that when I got a chance I was going to have a kiosko like that. It was made out of odds and ends. Eventually it will have a mosaic floor, a tile roof and a fountain on top. I couldn't afford a kios- ko and a fountain, so I combine them. The water will run off the roof into the reflecting pond around it and make a very soothing sound." The grounds are blossoming already with flower beds, willow trees and a budding watermelon vine. ACOSTA KIDS about his problems financing his building project! "I went down to the bank to arrange a loan. They wanted to know what I have for collateral. "Well, I have a car! They nodded okay on that. "I have a lot of old picture frames! They shook their head and looked sad. "I have the largest collection of Manuel Acosta's in the SELF-EMPLOYED CARPENTER — Artist Acosta finishes hanging a door in preparation for his studio dedication this weekend. "So what if it doesn't hang straight," he shrugged. "I'm cheaper than a carpenter." world! Nothin' doing. They called them intangibles. So the only thing I had of value was a car worth $900." •His unsinkable insouciance envelopes his entire life, making jokes of insurmountable problems. His happy faculty of poking fun at himself and reaching for the supreme ultimo in teeth-gritting puns has endeared 1 him to everyone he meets. In spite of the fact he is widely known as a successful painter, his open-handed generosity, boundless hospitality, and giving away his valuable paintings to every charity he considers worthy has relieved him of much chance of becoming affluent. STACKED in one of the still unfinished rooms sits a box of kerosene lamps which he uses to illumine his parties. "They give a beautiful soft light," he explains. "But can I use them for collateral? Even my butcher says he wants dinero for my bologna bill — he won't take sketches!" Acosta jokes and teases so constantly one is hard pressed to know when he is kidding. Numerous stories have been turned out on the colorful Mex- VISIONARY ARTIST—Manuel Acosta describes how his kiosko will look after it is given a mosaic floor, a tile roof and a fountain to send eaves, water cascading out of the top and over the sides. "It will be a restful place to sit and think and listen to the water dripping off the ican-American publicizing the facts of his birth in Chihuahua 51 years ago ("My birthday is May 9 and the zodiac signs show I'm all bull!"), his coming to El Paso as a year old child, graduation from Bowie High School, four years in the Air Force, following which he was able to get his U.S. citizenship, art schooling at the then Texas College of Mines (now U.T. El Paso) and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles "BUT I WANT to get the record straight that I never did receive a degree from the college," he said. "To say that I did doesn't seem fair to all those who worked so hard and did get one." Though Acosta|s world has expanded to include the Peter Hurd's, John Meigs, a Time cover of Cesar Chavez, exhibit of work throughout the U.S. and the knowledge that his paintings hang from Sweden to Hawaii, it is still the common people and the common touch that turn him on. His latest recognition is a key to the city which he received (in a letter a few days •after his return) from the mayor of Riverside, Calif, for his participation in an exhibition of Mexican-American artists. "I don't think it will open a keg of beer," he said examining it with exaggerated concern. ANOTHER prize is a loose leaf booklet of drawings and thank you letters from a Lubbock fourth grade in Sanders School. While in Lubbock to attend the opening of his exhibit at Baker Gallery, he made time to talk to the children. "There were a lot of Mexican-American kids in the class, as well as Negros and Anglos and the teacher wanted to give them a better sense of value about themselves," a project Acosta feels keenly about. When does he have time to paint when he is busy hammering and plastering and gardening and making, talks to school kids? "There is never a special time when I must paint, except an assignment like the Time cover. I never feel I must get all the flies out of the room and have a fit and paint. I paint when I feel like it." Right now Acosta feels like having a party and the Mexican-American Jonathan Winters is all set to have a ball. Six E.P. CAP Cadets Complete Training Six cadets from the local Delmar Roberts Jr. Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) have completed a one week summer encampment at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The six are Chris Katsura, 16, of 81«1 Loma Terrace road, Linda Ramirez, 16, of 8016 Glendale avenue, Peter Ohle, 14, of 3301 Glasgow, JackBer- nier, 15, 3020 Kilkenny street, Richard Kolas, 15, of 5111 Wally drive, and Robert Kolai, 14, of 5111 Wally drive.