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Alum’s Painting Earns International Recognition

Dallas College alum Soraya Burgos spent more than 100 hours on her painting, “Sonsonate, 2a Calle Poniente.” The meticulous pursuit of perfection and countless fine-tuning sessions paid off for Burgos.

Her masterpiece earned high honors, placing second overall in the League for Innovation’s international contest last spring.  She found out the news just minutes before she walked Dallas College’s graduation stage on Friday, May 10.

“It was amazing,” she said. “My professor (Kathy Windrow) texted me to check my email. When I checked it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I just had to share the news with my class. It was such a tightknit group. We were all celebrating together, like on top of graduating.”

The inspiration for her artwork came from a trip to her family’s native El Salvador in May 2022. She snapped the reference photo when the family was in Sonsonate, and she knew she wanted to explore the day-to-day life in El Salvador in an upcoming piece of art.

“I typically create architectural landscape-type paintings,” she said. “So, when I started creating this painting, it was more on exploring the day-to-day life of being in El Salvador.”

Inside the Painting 

Burgos spent time on every detail of her painting, making sure it had the right look and feel. She shared insights into a few of the more notable parts. 

As far as the color narrative, she wanted to represent the heat of El Salvador “with that orange tone and a little bit of red in there.” 

“Most places don’t have air conditioning there, so I really wanted to capture that in my painting,” she said. 

Additionally, the four panels are painted on every side. 

“That gave me the opportunity to really highlight the details by continuing onto the sides,” she said. “If you’re looking from the top, the bottom, or from the left or the right sides, there’s always that continuing piece. It’s not just a piece that cuts off. It’s continuously flowing.” 

Burgos’ painting was displayed at the Eastfield Art Gallery last semester, something she admitted “never got old” whenever she walked by it or one of her other pieces displayed on campus. Now, the painting is at her home, although she could have possibilities to exhibit it in the future. 

“I’m planning on creating more pieces to have my own solo gallery whenever I’m ready,” she said. 

Along with acrylic paintings such as her “Sonsonate, 2a Calle Poniente” piece, Burgos also works on sculpture and drawing pieces that can be viewed on her website. Outside of the international recognition, this has become an influential piece for her as an artist. 

“This painting has really influenced me to create works that reflect the cultural roots of El Salvador,” she said. “It’s a significant piece for me.” 

Dallas College Legacy

Along with her El Salvador roots, Burgos is proud to carry on her family’s legacy as a Dallas College graduate. She and her mother have now both graduated from the college. 

Burgos closed out this part of her educational journey in memorable fashion, being recognized for her accomplishments during Dallas College’s Board of Trustees meeting on June 4. 

“It was nerve wracking,” Burgos said, chuckling. “I honestly didn’t know that I was the only one there for the art department, so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m literally representing the art department all on my own.’” 

Burgos received rave reviews for her speech to the board and joins the list of standout students who came through Dallas College. 

Soraya Burgos, fifth from right, was recognized at the board meeting on June 4.

What’s next for her? Well, while she was taking classes at Dallas College, Burgos was concurrently enrolled at Texas Woman’s University so she’s earned her bachelor’s degree as well. She isn’t quite sure what the future holds, although is intrigued by the idea of becoming an art teacher and inspiring the future generations.

“I really want to create more paintings, but I also want to be able to share my knowledge,” she said. “I spent all this time learning all these different art techniques, learning about art history. This is information that I really want to share with other people.”

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

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