This site provides access to the papers of Emanuel Martinez in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2023, and total 10,690 images.
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Emanuel Martinez (1947- ) is a painter, muralist, and educator in Denver, Colorado.
Martinez was born in Denver where he spent a troubled youth until the age of 13. He was introduced to art through his lifelong friend and mentor Bill Longley who recognized Martinez's talent and arranged for an art apprenticeship. Martinez also studied with David A. Siqueiros and Francisco Zuniga, and at Metropolitan State College of Denver. In 1968 he established his own studio.
As an artist, Martinez is deeply affected by social and political issues. He has been a member of the Chicano activist group Crusade for Justice and was active in the civil rights movement. In 1968, Martinez completed Farm Workers' Altar, a painted wooden sculpture, for the Catholic mass that was held on the day César Chávez completed a 25-day fast in his continuous struggle for social justice. Martinez also completed Tierra O Muerte for activist Reyes Lopez Tijerina. Other works by Martinez include a mural at Alma Center in Lincoln Park and a commissioned portrait of former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña.
Martinez worked as an educator at the Student League of Denver for 12 years. He is also involved with the Emanuel Project, an organization named after Martinez that focuses on improving the lives of at-risk youth. With the organization, Martinez has completed approximately 50 murals with students all over the U.S.
Martinez has won numerous awards including the Latin American Educational Foundation scholarship and Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has works in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museo de las Americas in Denver among others. His work was shown in the seminal exhibition Chicano Art Resistance and Affirmation, as well as many other national and international exhibitions.