Mario Gallardo

Mario Gallardo is a college art professor (20 years) and Chair of the Division of Fine Arts at Gadsden State, where he oversees the academic departments of Art, Music, and Theatre, along with the Wallace Hall Performing Arts Center and the Meadows and Mezzanine Art Galleries.

He has been involved in arts education in Alabama for over 30 years. His journey in arts education began in 1993 when he worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast AL, serving as Director of Arts and Cultural Enrichment for several clubs in Etowah County. Later he was an Art Instructor for Westbrook Christian School from 1995-1999, where he taught classes for K5-12th grade. From 2000 to 2002, Gallardo served as the Curator/Outreach Educator for the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, overseeing exhibition booking and installation for three gallery spaces.

Gallardo received an AA from Gadsden State, a BFA in Painting/Ceramics from Jacksonville State and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Alabama, where he was a national alumni fellowship recipient. He is also the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship by The Alabama State Council on the Arts for his work in Sculpture and Performance Art.

Although he is a practicing studio artist, for the past thirteen years, his creative scholarship and research has focused primarily on community development through the arts. This focus has led him to establish numerous art initiatives in Northeast Alabama, including founding three art galleries, a public arts project, and an artist residency program. He is currently a candidate for Doctor of Public Administration at Valdosta State University, where his research focuses on how creative placemaking contributes to equitable economic and community development in Alabama.

Mario is the founder and Executive Director for the Walnut Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, in Gadsden, Alabama. Since 2010, he has curated over 70 exhibitions of regional, national, and international artists for the gallery, each with accompanying cultural programing that is free and open to the community. Gallardo is also the founder of The Gadsden Public Art Project, which has placed numerous public sculptures and murals throughout Gadsden in the last ten years. The latest sculpture was installed in 2023, in collaboration with the Gadsden Museum of Art and Downtown Gadsden Incorporated, and funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Gallardo is active in many arts organizations; he currently serves as President for the Gadsden Museum of Art - Board of Directors. He is a member of Americans for the Arts, Mid-South Sculpture Alliance, and the Alabama Museum Association. He has served on institutional grant and artist fellowship review committees for the Alabama State Council on the Arts and has been a national grant reviewer for The Institute of Museum and Library Services. He has juried numerous exhibitions including the 2020 and 2022 Wiregrass Biennial and the 2020 Jacksonville State Student Exhibition. Gallardo is also active in International Art Education, having led many college and community study abroad tours, including a cultural exchange to Cuba.

Mario and his wife, Lisa, also own and operate Owls Hollow Farm with help from their three great kids, four dogs, and nine cats.

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