YUMA – (KSWT News 13) - Genarro Garcia came to the U.S. looking for the American dream, and he found it… but not in the way he expected.
"The idea was to come to the U.S. to open my own restaurant," explains the Garcia.
Garcia found his success, not the culinary arts, but in the fine arts. The early going was tough. Garcia found himself in Yuma, homeless and jobless, but not hopeless.
"I started doing paintings because that was the only thing I was able to do because it was impossible to get a job at the time," says Garcia.
He scratched out a meager living, selling his art for what he could.
"I used to sell this one at $25 here at the mall," he recalls over a small, mostly pink painting.
Garcia's mall-selling days were in 1998. His style has changed over the years, and so have the prices his works fetch.
"This collector, last year he paid $3500 for this piece," Garcia says about the same pink painting.
The 41 year-old artist is showing his work this week at the Yuma Art Center on Main Street.
"I'm excited. I think that's the word. Extremely excited to exhibit here because Yuma is where everything started," says Garcia.
Garcia and other well-renowned artists are part of an organization that works with graffiti artists in Phoenix. They help redirect the aspiring artists' ambitions towards art galleries instead of alleys.
Garcia remembers his first mural with the group.
"The first mural for the organization was my mural by the name, 'Welcome to Arizona, Build Your Own American Dream.' It's not just my American dream, it's my Mexican dream as well."
Despite Garcia's success with his art, he still hasn't abandoned his original reason for coming to America.
"I know that I will open my restaurant," Garcia says smiling.
The exhibit is called, "The PAINter." It starts Tuesday, March 5th and is free to the public. The Yuma Art Center is located at 254 South Main Street.
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