For the Love of Art Month's Lucky 13
The number 13 is anything but unlucky for organizers of the Mesilla Valley's annual For the Love of Art Month. ArtForms Artists Association of New Mexico has spearheaded this popular event for 13 years, and this February's events roster is jam-packed.
ArtForms encompasses all forms of art and again this year brings art events of many types to the community: plays, concerts, poetry readings, visual art demonstrations and art exhibits. Event chairperson Cherie Gamboa says, "Our goal is to have something going on every weekend throughout the month of February and art available for viewing every day."
There will again be two weekends of studio tours — Feb. 12 and 13, Feb. 19 and 20 — providing art lovers the opportunity to visit artists where they work and buy art directly from them. But this year there will be a new twist: A number of artists will exhibit their work during the second weekend of the tours at the historic Amador Hotel. Art at the Amador will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, and start at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20.
The annual ArtForms Member Exhibit will be at the Branigan Cultural Center, sharing the building with the Las Colcheras Quilt Guild and the New Mexico Watercolor Society, Southern Chapter. The exhibit includes paintings, watercolors, fiber art, glass, wood, jewelry, photography and more. The exhibit opens Friday, Feb. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. during the Downtown Ramble.
Other events that fill February with the Love of Art include the American Southwest Theatre Company's Mardi Gras Gala fundraiser on Feb. 4; the annual performance of Love Letters at the Black Box Theatre on Valentine's Day; the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra's "Mostly Mozart" concert performed free at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the NMSU Atkinson Recital Hall; and the For the Love of Lit poetry reading by members of Sin Fronteras on Feb. 19 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Branigan Cultural Center.
Several new events join the celebration this year, including Mikey's Sheesh-Ka-Deesh — music, dancing, dance performance, wine and desserts as a benefit for a performing arts scholarship. It takes place the evening of Feb. 4 at Mikey's Place, 3100 Harrelson St.; tickets are $10. Cinematic arts are represented for the first time with the Mesilla Valley Film Society's free presentations of "The Desert of Forbidden Art" on Feb. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and "Art and Cinema, Chapter II" on Feb. 21 at noon at Mesilla's Fountain Theatre.
Another new event is "A Night with Cupid," featuring jewelry by Joyce Deaso and the art of dressing well for men by Kaya's. It's at Cutter Gallery, El Paseo and University, with door prizes, wine and hors d'oeuvres, on Feb. 10 from 5-7:30 p.m.
For lovers of visual arts, there are a number of individual and group exhibits on display in locations in Las Cruces and Mesilla. A fun exhibit returning this year is the My Masterpiece show at the Mesilla Valley Fine Arts Gallery at 2470A Calle de Guadalupe in Mesilla. Members of this artists' cooperative create paintings in the style of the masters and visitors get to guess whose work they are emulating. The Artists of Picacho Hills will display and sell their art Sunday, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Picacho Mountain Visitor's Center. On Feb. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., Art Galaxy in Mesilla celebrates its first anniversary.
Other individuals and art organizations displaying art during February include the Mesilla Valley Fractal Artists at Funky Karma Incense and Tea Shop; Rebecca Courtney at Lundeen's Inn of the Arts; Lois Wilson at Art Galaxy and the Main Street Gallery; and the Las Cruces Arts Association's "For the Love of Toys" at Nopalito's Gallery on Mesquite Street. The Watercolor Society will also have a demonstration during the studio tours on Feb. 19 and 20 at Unsettled Gallery.
Individual artists also cooperate with local businesses to brighten their restaurants, offices and shops with art. Venues this year are High Desert Brewery, Mitchell Chiropractic Life Center, Insta-Copy, Ono Grindz Restaurant and Women's Medical Associates.
A complete list of venues and details about all the month's activities and the studio tour map are available on the ArtForms website, www.artformsnm.org