Mentes Hermosas Logo

In the Press

Mentes Hermosas - Pastor Antonio Galvan

Ambrosio/Elvis with the Pastor

THE WEEKEND - Mentes Hermosas, a photo exhibit
Part 1

00:00 / 01:04

Host Louie Saenz welcomes photographers Art Moreno Jr. and David Meneses to talk about their impactful photo exhibit called “Mentes Hermosas” or “Beautiful Minds.” A photo exhibit that shows the faces and people who live at a Mental Facility in Juarez, Mexico called “Visión en acción”  or Vision in Action.

Art hopes to help end the stereotype that those who are mentally ill are to be feared. Instead he hopes to show that these individuals are beautiful and deserve respect, even in their time of crisis.

He also hopes to provide much needed financial assistance to the sanctuary through the funds raised by donations and ticket sales for viewing this world-class, photo exposition.

Donations are processed by the El Paso Community Foundation.

Originally Aired on December 4, 2021

THE WEEKEND - Mentes Hermosas, a photo exhibit
Part 2

00:00 / 01:04

Host Louie Saenz welcomes photographers Art Moreno Jr. and David Meneses to talk about their impactful photo exhibit called “Mentes Hermosas” or “Beautiful Minds.” A photo exhibit that shows the faces and people who live at a Mental Facility in Juarez, Mexico called “Visión en acción”  or Vision in Action.

Originally Aired on December 11, 2021

Though it lies miles beyond the edge of Ciudad Juárez and its residents are often overlooked by society, the Vision in Action Mental Health Sanctuary is front and center in Mentes Hermosas (Beautiful Minds), a new photography series and exhibit captured by Art Moreno Jr.

 

Established by Pastor Jose Antonio Galvan in 1995, the Vision in Action Mental Health Sanctuary provides care for individuals living on the streets of Juárez and primarily serves those struggling with mental illness. On average, the Sanctuary serves about 100 people a month, providing a range of care that can include shelter, food, clothes, and treatment. Pastor Galvan describes the work as “dignifying the lives of those who have nothing” and frequently shares unfiltered glimpses into the Sanctuary’s work via social media. The images and video are part of the ethos of the storytelling surrounding the Sanctuary, which seeks to understand and acknowledge each resident as an individual.

 

Hoping to further the reach and knowledge of its work, Sanctuary leadership recently collaborated with photographer Art Moreno Jr. to produce a series of portraits of Sanctuary residents, one of which is being sold as a print through the El Paso Community Foundation. Proceeds support the Sanctuary’s efforts. The image being sold features Pastor Galvan, his face turned away, and his hand resting on the head of Ambrosio, a resident at the Sanctuary, as he fixes Ambrosio’s collar for the photograph.

 

“When my assistant and I first arrived at Vision in Action with our mobile portrait studio in tow, I did not know whom Pastor Galvan would have in place to photograph,” Moreno says of the Mentes Hermosas portraiture series. “As it turns out, the sanctuary’s entire population was lined up to stand before my lens!”

 

Moreno quickly realized the project was much bigger than he had initially imagined. After photographing the hundred or so residents, he spent the next year painstakingly editing the images. As he pored over the portraits, Moreno realized something was missing.

 

“An image alone was simply not enough to visually articulate the beauty of another human being,” Moreno reflects. “I knew each subject had their story to tell.”

 

With the help of Pastor Galvan and one of his assistants named, Josue, Moreno’s portraiture series transformed into a more comprehensive profile of the Vision in Action Mental Health Sanctuary. Pastor Galvan and his staff worked on recording the stories of those photographed and simultaneously distributed digital cameras to the residents for them to capture their lives and experiences at the Sanctuary through their own eyes. The photographs, portraits, and narratives were combined on large acrylic displays.

 

“A viewer will be able to have greater insight into the humanness of the portrait in front of them,” Moreno says of the final product.

 

Looking to the future, Moreno hopes the exhibit of displays will travel internationally, raising awareness and funds for the Sanctuary. Currently, a hardcover coffee table book of Mentes Hermosas is in the works, a compressive collection of the portraits, their stories, the Sanctuary’s history, and the photos taken by the patients.

 

“As a photographer, I have never embarked on such a fascinating endeavor concerning a fundraising photo exhibit. I never envisioned myself showcasing my talent in such a manner,” Moreno adds. “I hope that this exhibit gives the viewer a greater appreciation of the frailty of one’s beautiful mind and that they would leave the exhibit encouraged and with a sense that but for the grace of God, there go I.”

 

Click here to donate to the Vision in Action Mental Health Sanctuary.

 

Click here to learn more about the Vision in Action Mental Health Sanctuary.