Big X Montes honored for De Colores, community dedication

January 10, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times

The City Council honored Xavier Montes, whose talents and presence are so towering he is known as “Big X” to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the famed De Colores Art Show he founded.

Montes, a Santa Paula native, was lauded at the January 6 meeting with a proclamation presented by Councilman Martin Hernandez.

Hernandez said it was an honor to recognize Montes, an award-winning artist and acclaimed harpist who specializes in traditional Mexican music, on behalf of Mayor Rick Cook.

Montes founded the De Colores Art Show 20 years ago, just an example of the “Demonstrated deep and genuine ways you have shown your love of the city. 

“Xavier,” said Hernandez, “and De Colores deserve special recognition for bringing art and music and dance for the benefit of the community.”

Hernandez noted that Montes, “continues to provide music lessons free for the young people and created value for the City of Santa Paula through De Colores, that from humble beginnings is now an internationally recognized art show.”

When Montes founded the show in honor of the birth date of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez, and with a special nod to activist Dolores Huerta, he opened the first exhibit at the Depot. 

De Colores is a juried show that celebrates Latino heritage, culture and icons. Over the years the show expanded to an arts festival that included music and dancing. In recent years the show returned to its roots as a celebration of Latino culture through painting, sculpture, collage and mixed media; the 20th anniversary De Colores exhibit-curated by Andrea Vargas-Mendoza-is displayed at the Santa Paula Museum of Art through February 23.

Montes said he was “Caught off guard,” by the council proclamation. “I didn’t know what was going on and I am very humbled...thank you very much.”

“Thank you very much for the work you do,” said Councilman Ralph Fernandez. “If anyone works under the radar it is you...and you are always there, working the kids at the museum, at the library. We very much appreciate the work you do,” that is also a tribute to Montes’ dedication.

“’ve brought a lot of positive notoriety to the community,” said Councilman Bob Gonzales who noted Montes work is done without personal fanfare. 

“Thanks big guy,” said Mayor Rick Cook. “This is a long time coming...”

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