Treat Yourself to Fine Art at the Las Cruces Arts Fair
Do you enjoy fine art? Maybe you need a painting to accent your living room or a distinctive piece of sculpture for your office. Or you’re searching for a unique piece of jewelry for that special friend. Or you just love browsing through galleries, admiring the work, and learning about new techniques.
In the past your best option was to set aside a few days for a trip to Santa Fe or Phoenix. Not any longer. One of the best fine art shows in the Southwest is coming to you at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Organized by the Doña Ana Arts Council, the second annual Las Cruces Arts Fair will be even better than last year.
The Fair opens on Friday, March 16with a Preview Gala beginning at 6:00 pm. This reception will offer art enthusiasts a special opportunity to explore the displays while enjoying cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres, music, and lively conversation. You can be among the first to meet the exhibiting artists, view their work, and purchase some new treasures. Tickets for the Preview Gala are $35 per person.
The Las Cruces Arts Fair will be open to the public on Saturday, March 17 from 10:00 to 6:00 pm and Sunday, March 18 from 10:00 to 5:00 pm. Admission to the Fair is $5 per person, with children under 12 free.
When the Arts Fair was inaugurated last year, the Doña Ana Arts Council hoped that it would become a signature event for the area. Glenn Cutter, owner of the Cutter Gallery and one of the event organizers explained, “We believe Las Cruces has an untapped potential as a strong market for fine art. A vibrant arts community will help attract people and businesses to the area. The Las Cruces Arts Fair is helping establish our reputation as an important venue for visual arts in the Southwest.”
George Griffin, another organizer who is on the Arts Council Board of Directors, added, “It’s all about buying art. The buzz about last year’s fair was that many artists thought it went quite well, especially since it was a first year show. Judging by the number of applications, the word got out that Las Cruces is a good marketplace for fine art.”
An impressive roster of artists
One hundred seventy eight artists applied for booth space at this year’s fair. After evaluation of the applications by a four-person jury, 80 artists were invited to participate in the fair. Lisa Pugh, Director of the Las Cruces Museum of Art, said she and other jurors were impressed with the high caliber of the artists who competed. “We were delighted to have so many accomplished artists who wanted to exhibit in Las Cruces. Many of the artists will be exhibiting here for the first time. I can’t wait to see their work on display in the Convention Center.”
Ceci Vasconcellos, Executive Director of the Doña Ana Arts Council said, “I’m excited about the talented artists who will be showcased in the 2012 Las Cruces Arts Fair. The show will appeal to local residents and attract visitors from outside of the area. We hope our visitors will take the time to see what else the area has to offer in terms of restaurants, shopping, and recreational opportunities.”
Artists from 10 states outside of New Mexico are participating in the show. They include our neighboring states of Arizona, Texas, and Colorado as well as California, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
More than half the artists in the Fair come from New Mexico. Communities represented this year include: Santa Fe, Taos, Dixon, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Placitas, Socorro, Cedar Crest, Cuba, Ramah, Deming, Silver City, Glenwood, Alamogordo, La Luz, Ruidoso, Nogal, La Mesa, Mesilla, and Las Cruces.
A wide range of art will be on display at the Las Cruces Arts Fair: painting and drawing; fabric, leather, and weaving; photography; woodwork; sculpture; porcelain and pottery; jewelry; mixed media; and, metalwork. Here’s a sample of what’s in store:
Other things to do at the Arts Fair
In addition to the exceptional art on view, there will be a number of other things to do at the Las Cruces Art Fair. Demonstrations by local artists will include: Painting on Silk with Judy Licht (Saturday at 10:30 am); Gourd Art (Saturday at 1 pm) with Kathe Stark; and, Acrylic and Watercolor Painting with Peggy Simpson (Sunday at 2:30). Last year’s demonstrations were very popular.
Activities also are planned to keep kids entertained while their parents are exploring the displays. Children will have opportunities to engage in digital art projects, jewelry making, box creation, and special drawing.
A bonus for visitors will be in a special gallery featuring Stephen Hansen’s work. Hansen is a well-known local artist whose whimsical papier maché pieces delight and engage audiences of all ages. He describes himself as a “director of a small repertory company, with a group of actors that I costume and coerce into the characters of the story I want to tell,” and adds that his actors tend to overact.
Proceeds from the Las Cruces Arts Fair will be used to support the Doña Ana Arts Council’s many community programs. The Arts Council is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, and Southern New Mexico by ensuring that the performing, visual, and literary arts are an integral part of education, economic growth, and community development.
Check out these recent articles about the 2012 Las Cruces Arts Fair:
Las Cruces Sun News
Las Cruces Bulletin