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mario blue1

Paintings by Mario Lopez
Paintings by Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez, a 29 year old veteran from Bandera, Texas was the recipient of NCAG’s 2014 Veteran Artist Grant. The grant included an expense paid four-day visit to the Midwest.  Troy Muller, NCAG Art Director, conducted three individualized painting workshops for Mario and curated a small exhibition of his paintings in the NCAG Gallery.

U.S. Army Sgt. Mario Lopez served in Iraq in 2006-7 and Afghanistan in 2008. In August of 2008, Mario was severely injured while on duty with a combat engineering unit in Afghanistan. As part of a routine convoy, Lopez was strapped into his MRAP Vehicle on his way to his next mission when a 300-pound roadside bomb exploded, creating a blast that sent the MRAP’s door hurtling into him and pinning him inside the burning vehicle. As a result of the blast, he sustained burns on more than 50 percent of his body and he subsequently lost his right arm, right ear, right eye and most of the fingers on his left hand.

Mario said, “While recovering in 2011, I picked up a paint brush with my remaining left fingers and began to experiment! Initially, I was painting just for myself, but friends and family started to inquire about my art.  Before I knew it, I was getting attention and requests from people I had never even met!” Today, Mario and his wife, Danielle, are taking his painting career to the next level and sharing his ability and inspiration with others nationwide.

Untitled-23 copy

Troy Muller’s Bronze Sculptures

"Steadfast Tin Soldier" by Troy J. Muller
“Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Troy J. Muller

New Century Art Guild hosted a special dinner in the NCAG gallery on Saturday, September 28th, 2013. This was an opportunity for members and guests to get a “sneak peek” at Troy Muller’s bronze sculptures that are to be placed around the Little Mermaid fountain beginning in October. Some of Troy’s other artwork was also on display across the street at the New Genesis Art Studio. His exhibit, entitled “Pieceable Kingdom – Curiosities of Synthetic Evolution”, will be on view through November. During the dinner, Troy informed guests about his work on the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale statues and explained the inspiration and symbolism found in his exhibit. Guests were offered an opportunity to purchase dedication plaques to be placed on each statue for $1000 to support the Little Mermaid Trail Project.

Donation plaques may be reserved by calling Pat Crosley at           (712) 790-6354

Living Liberty Memorial and Sculpture Park

Construction will soon begin on Living Liberty Memorial and Sculpture Park, a monument to honor veterans and those that have made great contributions to life and liberty in America.

The centerpiece of the monument will be a fountain that honors all branches of the US military and will feature a plaza that contains soil from all 50 states. The monument will be dedicated to American servicemen and women that contributed to the defense of this nation and, most notably, those that have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

Concept sketch of central monument in day and at night.
Concept sketch of central monument in day and at night.

The Living Liberty – Veterans Memorial and Sculpture Park, when completed, will feature 25-30 life-size bronze figures and illusionistic murals depicting U.S. military men and women in action. A brick pathway will take visitors deep into battle scenes from America’s past wars and foreign engagements. The park will also exhibit portrait-busts of other important Americans that have promoted liberty in our nation’s history. 


Future site of Living Liberty Veterans Monument and sculpture Park
Future site of Living Liberty Veterans Monument and sculpture Park