The Pete Padilla and Manuel Mora families, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, are proud to announce a partnership to further honor and pay tribute to the sacrifices made by Hispanic veterans and, in particular, Pete Padilla and Manuel Mora, two Barelas community members that gave their lives while serving in the Vietnam War.
NHCC Executive Director Rebecca Avitia and DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica N. Gonzales, the NHCC is now able to commission two sculptures to be placed in the Padilla and Mora Memorial Park — one is a very modern approach by artists Cristina González and Jacob Sisneros, while the other is a more traditional likeness of the two men by artist Reynaldo “Sonny” Rivera.
Upon arriving at the Center this past February, Avitia identified the incomplete Mora Padilla Park as one of her priorities. With the support of the NHCC Board President Chris Saucedo and Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales, Avitia has met with the families and their representatives, as well as the artists of both pieces, many times. “It was very important to me to work hand-in-hand with the Mora and Padilla families to make certain that the Memorial Park was a fitting tribute to their fallen family members,” Avitia said.
The first sculpture chosen for the park in December was “Warriors Repose,” by González and Sisneros.
And with the critical assistance of the New Mexico Arts Division of Cultural Affairs, the NHCC worked to gain authorization to commission the second sculpture by Mr. Rivera.
“We were happy to assist the NHCC to find a way to use both contemporary and traditional art to honor our New Mexico veterans,” said New Mexico Arts Director Loie Fecteau.