Family and friends of a Grand Prairie boy fatally hit by a car gathered Saturday in his memory at a service his parents set up as an art show displaying his work.
Nico Escalante, 9, died in September after Grand Prairie police say he was hit by a car in a parking lot on private property near the 2600 block of Mayfield Road.
Since then, his mother Fernanda Sedeno said the family has collected more than 150 pieces of Nico’s artwork throughout the house.
“On sketch pads, notepads, post-it’s, we open our fridge and they’re everywhere,” Sedeno said. “When we went through his room, we realized he had a stash under his mattress. It brought us to tears that we never got to see how… they were really talented. They were very creative, and he knew what he was doing.”
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To celebrate his life and honor his passion for art, Nico’s parents got the idea to turn his memorial service into his first solo art gallery.
“It brings us comfort and peace knowing that even those who didn’t get a chance to meet him, they get to walk away with a little bit of him. That’s what we would always tell him, 'Shine bright, be yourself, and own it,'” she said. “What better way to celebrate him than an art gallery he always wanted? He would always tell us, ‘One day…I’m going to be big. I’m going to have my own art show.’ We tried our best today.”
Outside the Grand Prairie Funeral Home on Saturday, guests were greeted by a string of balloons in the shape of a rainbow. Inside the funeral home were more colorful balloons and pieces of artwork by Nico. Among the guests Saturday were his art teacher, Todd Dubblede.
“He definitely had something more than just average. I don’t know, in almost all of it, you just see joy and light coming through,” Dubblede said, referring to Nico’s artwork. “He would not be happy with any tears today. So, we are celebrating his art. I know he’s here looking down and overjoyed everyone is enjoying his art. Everybody loved him. You had to. It was not possible to not like him. He was just positive, kind, light every day.”
Nico’s father Jesus Escalante said his son would be remembered for much more than his creativity and artistic talent, but also his individuality and kindness.
“I think the world is moving so fast nowadays, you know… everybody is worried about work and everything else, it really means a lot to slow down and to be a family, to take time and to motivate them [children] to be what they want to be,” Escalante said.
While their family is getting through some of their toughest days, Sedeno thanked the community for their prayers and kind messages.
“No parent should be going through this, but it eases a little bit of the pain with the community’s help and love,” she said.
Sedeno said all of the easels purchased for the artwork displayed Saturday would be donated to Nico’s elementary school in his name.