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School in West Dallas renamed after former student, popular artist

Family and friends gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jesus Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard.

DALLAS — A school in West Dallas has been renamed after a former student and internationally recognized artist.

Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard is now the Jesus Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard. The artist's family and Dallas ISD recognized the official renaming with a ribbon cutting and celebration on Wednesday.

“I get chills. I don’t even know how to put it into words how significant this is,” said Andi Ramirez, Moroles’ cousin and community member who initially submitted the artist’s name for consideration.

Family and friends gathered at the campus for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jesus Moroles was known globally as a sculptor. He grew up in West Dallas and attended the campus that now bears his name.

Moroles died in 2015.

“His passion for children. This would be so special for him,” said his sister Suzanna Moroles.

Dallas ISD also recognized the moment with a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The art he created, he created it for everyone. To feel, touch, be a part of. He wanted to catch your spirit and catch your feelings,” Suzanna Moroles explained.

The artist’s family members said renaming the school is an honor. The ribbon cutting happened on what would have been the Moroles’ birthday.

Those who knew the sculptor say the recognition is fitting, since the school nurtures pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students in academics and the arts.

“Having him demonstrate to them that we can do it, no matter how poor we are. If we want to we can strive for it,” said Christina Maria Moroles.

In addition to the school renaming, family members say they are continuing the artist’s legacy through Friends of Jesus Moroles, a non-profit foundation that supports the arts and educational endeavors of the school. 

Organizers said the non-profit can be supported during North Texas Giving Day. For more information visit https://www.friendsofmoroles.org/.