Sculptor, mask maker and performance artist, Zarco Guerrero has dedicated his artistic endeavors to create positive social change through the arts. Born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, Zarco early on adopted a Cesar Chavez ideology of art as a social service.
Zarco’s art includes it all: music, poetry, fine art and theater. He is the founder of Xicanindio Artes (now Xico, Inc.) and also the Cultural Coalition, a nonprofit commandeered by his equally amazing wife Carmen, and he has been instrumental in the development of Latino Arts statewide.
His exhibits have received international acclaim and many prestigious awards. In 1985, PBS broadcasted a one-hour documentary about his art entitled “The Mask of El Zarco.” He has received the Japan Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, the Artistic Excellence Award from American Hispanics in Higher Education, and the Esperanza Teacher of the Year Award among many others.
In 2012, Guerrero also won the Zony Award for his groundbreaking work as a mask maker for Childsplay’s production of The Sun Serpent. He is the recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation grant to present theater to Latino communities in Arizona. He has been recognized as a Master by the Southwest Folklife Alliance, and the New Times named him “Best Storyteller” in 2016.
His performance art is singular, with masked drummers creating a fun spectacle at regional festivals. The man plays drums, but also guitar and percussive obscurities (a master of the guica!) and once fronted the best dance band in Phoenix, Zum Zum Zum. ¡Ay, caramba!