BY MARIO CONDE
Honoring his work as an author, the Calexico Arts Council welcomed Dr. Carlos Herrera as the Distinguished Artist of the Month.
In a small ceremony where Herrera’s family and friends were present, the Arts Council unveiled the dedication to Dr. Herrera for his work as an author and educator in Calexico. Herrera grew up on the south-east side of Calexico during the 1960s and 1970s.
Carmen Durazo from the Calexico Arts Council said the Distinguished Artist Wall is their version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Durazo said that they honor all performing artists from painters to visuals arts and literature.
“What we have here in the wall is a tree because artists keep growing and they grow other artists in our community,” Durazo said.
Mayor Pro Tem Lewis Pacheco said that it was an honor to have a Calexican like Herrera being inducted into the Distinguished Artist Wall. Pacheco said that Herrera has been working as a professor at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley Campus and is being honored not only for his talent and efforts as an educator but as an author.
Dr. Herrera thanked the arts council for the recognition and said that getting this recognition is something very special for him.
“Writing represents the other side of me that I rarely put out in public, and not many people know about it. This tree encapsulates how I started my journey and how I got to this point,” Herrera said.
Herrera recently completed a two-year stint at the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley Campus. He holds the rank of associate professor of history and is also the founder and director of the SDSU-IV Borderlands Institute. Herrera received a Bachelors and Masters from the University of San Diego and earned his doctorate in history from the University of New Mexico.
Herrera traveled throughout Mexico to conduct research for his first book, a biography of the Mexican poet, Francisca Casillas. Herrera’s journeys throughout Mexico sparked interest in learning more about Latinos in the United States.
Herrera is the author of Juan Bautista De Anza: The King’s Governor in New Mexico. This book focuses on Anza’s 10-year term as governor of New Mexico, emphasizing his efforts to create a lasting peace with American tribes of the far north.