Moroles, 64, killed in car crash near Georgetown
By Marissa Nunez, via itemonline.com
Artists and fans from all over the country are in mourning after news broke of the death of renowned sculptor and Texas native Jesús Moroles.
Moroles, 64, died in a car crash late Monday night near Georgetown while traveling on Interstate 35 from his hometown of Rockport to work on his next commissioned piece in Oklahoma, according to The Rockport Pilot.
Moroles, who graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of North Texas in 1978, became known throughout the art community for his large-scale granite sculptures and installations. He is responsible for creating one of Houston’s most admired pieces — The Houston Police Officers Memorial — as well as more than 5,000 other pieces that are displayed across the country in some of the nation’s most prestigious galleries and museums.
Moroles also has art on display in China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan and Switzerland.
He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2008, which is the highest and most prestigious honor an artist can receive.
Moroles visited The Wynne Home Arts Center in Huntsville, where he displayed his distinctive works of art in solo exhibitions, as well as held workshops where he taught citizens the basics of sculpting with granite.
“It was an absolute shock. Like most people it was difficult to believe,” said Linda Pease, cultural services coordinator and a friend of Moroles’. “I am deeply saddened by it of course. He was a great artist. He moved with such energy, talent and generosity through his days it seems impossible that he is gone. So much of what he does is so beautiful and we are so fortunate that he came to Huntsville.”
Pease says Moroles was a down-to-earth and humble person who always made time to talk to his fans about his work even though he was constantly “moving from one thing to another.”
“Even though he might be conducting workshops for adults, he would stop and talk to anyone who approached him about his work,” Pease said. “He has art all around the world and he just moved quickly from one thing to another, but he seemed to always have time for people. He was just very talented and humble and approachable and a very kind person.”
Moroles currently has four sculptures on display at The Wynne Home, which according to Pease, he considered a “sacred place.”
“He did a show last year at the home, and in conjunction with that, installed four outdoor sculptures, including the Texas Portal, which is a diagonal totem that lights up at night,” Pease said. “One of the workshops he did two years ago was to build a retainer wall where people can sit in front of the house, so we’re just very fortunate to have his work there and to have known him.”
Moroles also worked with Sam Houston State University to install the school’s Water Wall and Garden, which serves as a beautiful place for students to go and relax in between classes, as well as a place for professors to hold classes.
He also held performances with dancers from the SHSU Department of Dance at the Old Town Theatre. Mike Yawn, professor of political science at SHSU, says he got to watch Moroles do his thing.
“I got to see him work with young people and work with granite. He taught them how to use the sanders to polish the granite. That was neat to see, that he wanted to teach others how to do,” Yawn said. “It was great to get his approach to art and see the different influences he had and put them to use in his own style.”
Yawn says that Moroles tried to reach out to at-risk youths to teach them about the world of art.
“I think he felt very fortunate to be exposed to the arts as a kid and he really went out of the way to work with minority youth,” Yawn says. “He would come to Huntsville and teach 30 5-year-olds how to get started in the arts. He didn’t think it required talent; he thought it just required hard work.”
Yawn says one thing he witnessed from Moroles and admired about him was when he was teaching a group of rambunctious young kids. He took the time to teach them about respect.
“What he told me afterwards was that he had to spend the first half to talk about respect — respecting the teacher, respecting themselves and the home they’re in,” Yawn said. “I liked that approach because discipline is the skill that enhances any other skill or talent, and he saw that and demanded that. It was more important for him to take a pause and demonstrate that to the kids.”
Molly Campbell, member of the gallery committee for the Wynne Home, says Moroles was “so much more than his art” and that he will be “greatly missed as the delightfully generous man so full of life and personality.”
“What a horrible tragedy,” Campbell added. “He will be greatly missed as the delightfully generous man so full of life and personality. His wonderful art will remain as a beautiful memorial to him. He was so much more than his art in life with his generous sharing through his teaching.
“Who could forget his exciting performance combo at SHSU of his art with Sam dance department dancers? The audience was allowed to participate and I felt so lucky to be there. We at the Wynne Home will remember him for his art wall and sculptures. We will miss him the most for his presence here in Huntsville as art teacher and charismatic personality. So sorry his life and new art creations will not be with us. My condolences and God’s blessings to his family.”