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Local Artists Take On Challenge To Benefit Hospice El Paso

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 7:01pm

EL PASO - Painting a flat canvas can be difficult enough, but a group of talented local artists are taking on unique objects like chiles, and even lamp posts.

"There's a lot of good in the world and I try to paint it, it comes naturally," said local artist Maritza Neely, who has been painting since she was 3 years old. Though she was born in Mexico, themes from El Paso regularly sneak in to her artwork.

"I've lived in El Paso for 15 years, El Paso is my home, I love it," she said. And it shows, especially in her latest work - a painted lamppost.

"The star of El Paso, I have here the plaza theater, alligators from San Jacinto," she said, describing some images she painted.

So what's all this for?

"It generates funds for Hospice El Paso but it also allows us to thank our artists for participating with us," said Jim Paul, Director of Development for Hospice El Paso. He says the pieces will be on display at Cielo Vista and Sunland Park Malls, before being auctioned off next month. When he approached these local artists with his idea to paint lamp posts and chiles, they knew it'd be a tough task.

"I was a little bit skeptical," Neely said. "I said, 'Ok, let me call you back.'"

"It's obviously different from a flat canvas," said local artist Richard Martinez. "I found myself painting upside down, sideways."

He took up professional painting about ten years ago and loves a challenge.

"The background is red so I tried to pick any colors that would just pop with it," he said.

Artist Bob Adams also loves a challenge, and says he loves creating conversation pieces.

"Somebody comes to visit and they're going to be attracted to it because it is different," he said. "Therefore it gives them the opportunity to talk about it."

These artists will spend hundreds of hours painting their unique pieces, and they might sell them for thousands of dollars. But they won't keep a penny. All of the proceeds go to benefit Hospice El Paso.

"Whether they qualify through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, or if they don't qualify at all, we don't turn away any El Pasoan," Paul said.

So while Neely puts the finishing touches on her masterpiece, she says she happy to donate her time and talent to a good cause. She also hopes whoever buys their pieces will appreciate what went into them.

"I feel that maybe they can see it's going to help a lot of families," she said.

To find out how you can bid on one of the pieces you just saw, go to http://www.hospiceelpaso.org/.

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