Image courtesy of Karen Jacobi.

Jose Vargas walks into my office about once a year to hand deliver flyers for art shows he organizes for the City of Dallas, sometimes bearing small gifts and always looking like a lama with his long hair, beard and calm demeanor.

He always has some astounding story about his life to share.

Vargas, 71, started putting on “El Corazón” art show annually in 1993, giving hundreds of local artists the chance to showcase their work over the past 25 years. The city’s cultural centers have been closed since the start of the pandemic, and this year’s “El Corazón” show is planned as one of the first in-person events at the Bath House Cultural Center this year. The show will feature about 50 artists whose work has appeared in past shows, sort of like a greatest hits.

Vargas also organizes the annual Virgin of Guadalupe exhibit at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, among other group shows. His 2017 solo exhibit in Oak Cliff featured oil paintings he did in the 1960s, alongside recent ones.

He attended Adamson High School and