Muralist and painter Gilberto Guzman is consumed by art.
In his small midtown home, he maneuvers through canvases stacked 10 deep against a wall. His clothes hang in a tiny linen closet in the hall, allowing more room to store paintings in his bedroom.
“I can’t help but paint,” he said.
But the future of one of the 88-year-old’s most visible works — a nearly 40-year old mural titled Multi-Cultural on the Guadalupe Street side of the former Halpin State Archives building — remains in dispute.
About 45 protesters on Saturday added their voices, gathering near the Railyard to ask the state to save the mural.
Christina Castro, a founder of Three Sisters Collective, which help organized the rally, said it was about more than the mural.
“If they take this mural away from us, it’s just another symbol they’ve erased. It’s like throwing salt in a wound,” Castro said.
The rally was the most recent flashpoint in what has been a long-running battle between people who believe the planned destruction of Multi-Cultural is part of the Railyard area’s gentrification and Department of Cultural Affairs officials who say the work is decaying and will have to go as the building is transformed into the Vladem Contemporary art museum.
Guzman designed the mural with Zara Kriegstein in the 1980s to portray New Mexico’s interplay of different cultures across time. Noted artists Frederico Vigil, David Bradley, Cassandra Mains, John Sandford, Rosemary Stearns and Linda Lomahaftewa assisted with the 110-foot by 18-foot mural.
Construction fencing currently encircles the site and will be covered in new, temporary murals under a plan announced last week by the city and a division of the state Department of Cultural Affairs.
Local artist Hernán Gomez Chavez posted a sign last week in front of the mural that reads, “Do not erase our history. A nation that forgets its past has no future.” He asked artists to boycott painting the temporary…