By DAVID MENDEZ
David Andres, director of the Bernal Gallery at Pima Community College’s West Campus, often works 10 extra, unpaid hours each week.
He also spends two hours commuting to a second job once a week. On top of that, he works a third job twice a week and volunteers at multiple organizations.
Just typing this is tiring. Living it can only be more exhausting. Yet somehow, Andres has the energy to complete his work week after week and still come back for more.
“There isn’t any way, if you want to do anything of quality, to do it otherwise,” Andres said. “It just takes more hours, even if you don’t get paid for it.”
The college rates his art gallery position as a 25-hour-per-week job, but Andres often spends 30 to 35 hours a week there. “Sometimes 40,” he said.
The job only requires a bachelor’s degree, but Andres has a Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking, and a Master of Education with an art and museum emphasis.
“It’s overkill in every sense of the word,” he said.
In addition to the time he spends at the gallery, Andres teaches art classes at PCC. He also teaches once a week at Central Arizona College in Casa Grande.
Andres sits on boards for both the Downtown Gallery Association and the Central Tucson Gallery Association, and volunteers at the Arizona Theater Company and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.
He called himself “the itinerant artist” during his younger years, because of the many artist-in-residencies he accepted across the state. He still lives up to that nickname, yet finds time for his wife and family.
Work-study student Manny Arguello knows first-hand how hard Andres works.
“Sometimes he’ll come to me, saying ‘so I woke up at 2 a.m. this morning and I need you to research these notes I came up with,’” he said.
“He’s so active in the community,” Arguello added. “If it wasn’t for David, these exhibitions wouldn’t be happening. He’s very well known among artists and collectors in Tucson.”
Arguello can testify that Andres doesn’t let his teaching slip because of his other work.
“He’s always trying to inspire his students,” he said. “As long as you’re trying to better yourself, he will help.”
Andres shows no signs of slowing.
“I’m not ready to retire. I don’t have anything to retire from, really,” he said. “I figure if you choose artwork, it’s something you want to do for life.”