Professional Bio

  • M.F.A., Drawing & Painting, University of Colorado, 1995
  • B.A., Commercial Spanish & Certificate in Latin American Studies, University of Colorado, 1980

Tony Ortega is a recipient of the coveted Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1999) and the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1998). He has been a working artist and teacher for more than 30 years and is known for his vibrant, colorful artwork. Ortega’s lifelong goal is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural diversity by addressing the culture, history and experiences of Chicanos/Latinos through his art. His work can be found in Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum and the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. He has exhibited extensively in United States, Latin America and other parts of the world. Tony’s artwork can be found in Denver, Colorado at the William Havu Gallery.

Research & Scholarship

Artwork featured in the following publications:

“Estampas de La Raza, Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection”, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX, exhibit catalog, 2012

The Murals of Colorado,  Wall That Speak” Mary Motian-Meadows and Georgia Garnsey, 2012

“Mextizo Hybridity, Fire House Art Center, Longmont, CO,  exhibit Catalog, 2012

“Contacto 12”, Museo de la Americas, Denver, CO, exhibit catalog, 2011

“Mixed Messages, Visual representations”, exhibit catalog, 2011

“Mi Frontera es Su Frontera”, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, exhibit catalog, 2010

“Grafika a la Tex-Mex”, exhibit catalog, 2010

“Triumph of Our Communities: Four Decades of Mexican American Art electronic component”(CD-ROM, DVD and or Web site) augmenting the 2005 hardbound book publication of the same name and further celebrating Mexican American art and the community art organizations., 2007

“Art Harvest, Images of the Farm”, Loveland Museum/Gallery, catalog, 2007

“Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art”, Bilingual Press, Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University, 2002

“Leading the West: One Hundred Contemporary Painters and Sculptors”, by Donald Hagerty, Northland Publishing, 1997

Children’s Books

“Cinco de Mayo: Patriotic Adventures of Cholo, Vato and Pano’, Illustrator of bilingual children’s book, 2012

“Cholo in the Clouds with Sky, Memory Adventures with Cholo, Vato and Pano”, Illustrator of bilingual children’s book, 2008

“Who Am I Family Adventures of Cholo, Vato and Pano”, Denver, CO, Illustrator of bilingual children’s book, 2004

Awards & Recognition

Honors and Awards

  • George Norlin Award, distinguished lifetime achievement, University of Colorado, 2011
  • Public Art Commission: Sandstone Ranch Park, entrée arch baseball fields, Longmont, CO, 2002
  • Public Art Commission: North Side Park, City and County of Denver, CO, 2000
  • Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, State of Colorado, 1999
  • Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, City and County of Denver, 1998
  • Inductee:  Distinguished Alumni Gallery, Heritage. Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 1995
  • AFKEY Award for Excellence in Art, Alliance for Contemporary Art of the Denver Art Museum

Community Involvment & Service

Community Murals

 For the past 20 years, I have work with schools, community organizations, art space and museums in the creation of community murals to further develop my philosophical belief that art belongs to everyone, not just the wealthy, art galleries and museums. Community murals are not created for “art’s sake”, but rather give a community the skills necessary to maintain this art form. The mural process encourages participants of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to collaborate, develop friendships, and learn from each other while developing their art skills. The creation of many of the murals I have worked on has included groups of people highly diverse in terms of race, gender, age, and level of artistic competency.  

Locations of my community murals:

Salud Health Clinic, Brighton, CO May 2012
Charles M. Schenck Community, School, Denver, CO May 2012
Saint Mary Academy, Greenwood Village, CO, January 2012
Cherry Hill Village elementary, Greenwood Village, CO, September 2011
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, July, 2010
Barney Ford Elementary, Denver, CO, May 2010
Coronado Hills Elementary, Thornton, CO August, 2009
Carbondale Council on the Arts, Carbondale, CO July, 2009
Godsman Elementary school, Denver, CO, May, 2009
Dual Immersion Academy, Grand Junction, CO, May, 2009
The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO, March, 2009
Clinica Family Health Services, Boulder, CO, January, 2009
Salud Health Clinic, Longmont, CO, March, 2008
Gilpin Elementary school, Denver, CO, October 2007
Broomwell Elementary school, Denver, CO May 2007

Creative Work

Selected Collections

  • Colorado Council on the Arts, Denver, Colorado
  • Center for the American West, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado
  • The Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, CA
  • City of Arvada, Colorado
  • City and County of Denver, Colorado
  • Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado
  • City of Phoenix, Arizona
  • City of Seattle, Seattle, Washington
  • City of Westminster, Colorado
  • Denver Convention Center Hotel, Denver, Colorado
  • Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO
  • University of Texas, San Antonio, TX
  • Western History Department of the Denver Public Library, Denver, CO
  • Regis University, Denver, CO
  • State Services Building, State of Colorado
  • School of Nursing, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Student Union Building, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Museum Collections

  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
  • Los Angeles County Art Museum, Los Angeles, California
  • Mexican Fine Art Center Museum, Chicago, Illinois
  • Mexican Museum, San Francisco, California
  • Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New México
  • Museo del Barrio, New York, NY
  • Museo Estudio Diego Rivera, México City, México
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico



  • “Mextizo Hybridity”, Firehouse Art Center, Longmont, CO June-August, one person exhibit
  • “Chicano Matrixes”, The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO June –July, Three person exhibit
  •  “The Ecological Imperative”, El Museo Contemporáneo de Valdivia, Valdivia, Chile, January –March,   Invitational exhibit
  • “Chicana/o Biennial” Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, California, January- March,  Invitational  exhibit


  • “The Border Project: Soundscapes, Landscapes, and Lifescapes”, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tempe, AZ, group exhibit, November 17, 2011-March 18, 2012, Invitational exhibit
  • “Memory Reamins”, Casa de las Ciencias (House of Science), Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, November, invitational exhibition 
  • "The Raven, Terror & Death”, Edgar Allen Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia, invitational exhibition, September – October, invitational exhibition
  • “Mixing It Up- Building an Identity”, The Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, AZ, invitational exhibition, September –January, invitational exhibition 
  • “Mixed Messages”, Galeria De Artes/CAUA, Universidade Federal Do Amazonas, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, June- August
  • “Contacto 12”, Museo de las Americas, Denver, CO, June – September, invitational exhibition
  • "Mixed Messages", Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, Colombia in May 2011, invitational exhibition 
  • “Edgar Allan Poe”,  Antonio Ramírez," Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas (ENAP) in Xochimilco, Mexico City, March, invitational exhibition 
  • “ART & DIS(PLACE)MENT”,  Al-Kahf Gallery, International Center of Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Palestine, invitational exhibition, February -March


  • “Snap to Grid”, Los Angles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA, November 11-December 4, group exhibit
  • “Raíces y Ramas/ Roots and Branches”, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada, CO September 16 –     November 14, group exhibit
  • “Horror, Terror & Death: (An)Other Artistic Tribute To Edgar Allan Poe”, La Goguette Bistro Mexico City, D.F., Mexico, October, group exhibit
  • “La Mirada del otro (Identidades étnicas)”, Universidad de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, September, group exhibit
  • “Mi Frontera es Su Frontera”, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, One person exhibit, June to September
  • “Serie XVII Debut”,  Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX, July - August, Group exhibit
  • “Grafika a la Tex-Mex”, Serie Project, Galeria Z in Bratislava, Slovakia, Group exhibit, May -June
  • “A Celebration of Hispanic Art” Arthur Roy Mitchell Memorial Museum of Western Art, Trinidad, CO, May 7 –  June 20
  • “DEATH | LA MUERTE”, Galeria ESCOOL, Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico DF, March  – April