Manuel Acosta was born in Mexico in 1921and his family moved to El Paso when he was an infant. He lived in El Paso his entire life until his untimely death in 1989. Manuel studied under Octavia Maggoffin Glassgow at Bowie High, designed sets and eventually went to Texas College of Mines (later UTEP) where he studied with sculptor Urbici Soler.
Manuel later collaborated with Peter Hurd on several murals. Acosta later received commissions for the Bank of Texas in Houston and the First National Bank of Las Cruces. He exhibited his paintings in many one-man shows across the U.S. and Mexico, also in the prestigious Chase Gallery in New York.
Acosta is probably most well known for his portrait of Cesar Chavez that appeared on the cover of Time magazine and now hangs in the national Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Acosta’s beautiful paintings of the people and the Chicano lifestyle show his immense talent which was shortened by his premature death.
There have been many exhibits here in El Paso, two since his death. A third took place April 2009 at the El Paso Museum of Art, and the museum also published a color catalog on the exhibit.