If you’re a lover of art, you might want to head up to Oro Valley for an exhibit happening until early Maythe Art in Oro Valley Gallery Exhibition.

The gallery is on display at the Roche Tissue Diagnostics campus and is in collaboration with the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance to celebrate Oro Valley’s upcoming 50th birthday.

“I’ve just been blown away. It feels like a start. It feels like at least a little hand in the art world,” said Eric Magnuson, one of the featured artists in the exhibit.

Magnuson says he has been an artist since childhood, primarily creating colorful works of art out of colored pencils. But when he applied for this year’s exhibition, he chose to showcase a form of art he learned after graduating from welding school3-D pieces made entirely from scrap metal.

“Now that I have the skills to turn trash into art, I want to use them. Even if it’s just something small,” he said. “It’s a way for me to give back and use skills I’ve developed to do something for more than just me.”

He’s just one of the 35 artists participating in this year’s gallery, featuring more than 130 original 2D and 3D pieces.

The Artistic Programs Manager with SAACA, Amanda Staples, said, “The artists are so thrilled to have their work seen and be recognized and be able to showcase even more pieces.”

While Magnuson was thrilled simply for the opportunity, he was left speechless during the gallery’s opening night after a family visiting the area purchased one of his pieces on display.

“Nobody commissioned it from me, nobody did anything, I just did it because I wanted to. To have somebody love it enough to bring it back to Colorado from just visiting haphazardly, I was in shock.”

He said he quit his day job nearly 5 months ago to pursue his passion full-time and that he’s hopeful his participation in this year’s exhibition is the start of something great for his newfound career as a professional artist.

“Having somebody basically take what I view as an expression of my soul and say I want that to look at for the rest of my life, there’s no greater compliment.”

The art gallery goes on until May 3, 2024.