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Latino visual artist James “Avi” Avalos, better known as Mr. PiñataSA, is currently holding an exhibition in Palo Alto College’s Concho Hall Gallery100, featuring a collection of paintings, prints, and other pieces.
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Former student-turned-piñata returns to PAC

Latino visual artist James “Avi” Avalos, better known as Mr. PiñataSA, is currently holding an exhibition in Palo Alto College’s Concho Hall Gallery100, featuring a collection of paintings, prints, and other pieces that Avalos has created throughout the years.

Avalos is best known for his most recent visual art project, Mr. PiñataSA. What originally started off as an idea for a children’s story book about the adventures of a Piñata has now become Avalos’ new creative outlet in the community.

While writing his children’s story, Avalos decided to conduct research by dressing as a Mariachi Piñata and seeing how people reacted to a live piñata. To his surprise, people enjoyed it and started reaching out for him to make appearances with non-profit community organizations, elementary schools, and children’s museums.

“It’s always about serving others. I take into account my role as Mr. Piñata. I know that I can go out, spend all my time, spend my resources, and I might not get paid; but at the same time I’m serving others,” said Avalos. “I hope that I can encourage other people to do the same for themselves and for others.

Although Avalos is widely known as Mr. PiñataSA, his other artistic works have been shown in many galleries throughout the San Antonio area over the years. Avalos attended Palo Alto College in the early-2000s, and his art is highly influenced by the art faculty on campus. When Lloyd Walsh, associate professor of art, reached out to Avalos to bring his work to the College, he was excited and in disbelief.

“I was like ‘Wow if one of my favorite painters in town is asking me to do an art show, then yeah!’... All the professors here are awesome. I look up to them,” said Avalos, adding jokingly, “Hopefully, I can get a painting [from Walsh].”

Just as the faculty have influenced Avalos as an artist, Avalos has also influenced Palo Alto College students — even before showcasing his art on campus. Sophomore Jasmine Treviño attended Avalos’ gallery reception on February 22, and was surprised to find out that the person she has seen dressed as a piñata is actually a local artist, too.

“Every time we go out to parades or Fiesta, we see him,” said Treviño. “Kids love Mr. Piñata. I think it’s so cute that my kid looks out for him every year.”

Avalos’ exhibition will be featured in Concho Hall’s Gallery100 until March 22, and is open to all campus and community. The gallery and entire campus will be closed for spring break from March 13-17. For more information, please contact the College’s Fine Arts Department at 210-486-3205.

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