Doña Ana County



More than 100 pieces of original student artwork from the Las Cruces and Gadsden public schools have been installed in the first-floor corridors of the Doña Ana County Government Center at 845 N. Motel Blvd. in Las Cruces. The exhibit includes paintings, etchings and drawings. The artists range from elementary students to high school students.

One of the student pieces on display is an oversize quilt created by Karen Burke’s Central Elementary School art class. Billed as a school-wide project, the panels were colored by the students; cafeteria workers sewed the panels together; the school nurse, Teresa Valenzuela, did the tying; and community member Mary Jane Carson donated the embroidery. Materials were purchased with grant funding from the Las Colcheras Quilt Guild of Las Cruces. The quilt will eventually be auctioned, with proceeds benefiting the Las Cruces Community of Hope.

The art show is a continuation of student art shows that rotated every six months from 2000 to 2006 at the former County Manager’s Complex in the historic Amador Hotel. Agreements with both the Las Cruces and Gadsden schools will continue the student shows in perpetuity at the Doña Ana County Government Center.

The student art exhibit complements the permanent art collection within the Doña Ana County Government Center, which includes a series of historical photographs in the upstairs rotunda, as well as a spectacular photograph of the Organ Mountains donated in 2007 by Las Cruces artist R. Frederick Silva. The piece, titled “Fall Splendor,” hangs on a second floor east wall, adjacent to the main entrance to the administrative offices of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners and the county manager.

Also on semi-permanent display is one of New Mexico’s most famous painted ponies. Caballo de Las Cruces is covered with more than 2 million tiny, decorative, glass beads. The pony is for sale by the Doña Ana Arts Council, with the proceeds to benefit the historic Rio Grande Theatre. To date, none of the bids for it have met the minimum allowable for sale. The pony will remain on display near the main reception desk of the Doña Ana County Government Center until it changes ownership. Caballo de Las Cruces was designed by local artist Julienne Hadfield. The beading process took more than 4,000 hours to complete by a dedicated group of more than 100 community volunteers. The pony was designed to honor Las Cruces and the surrounding area.

The public is invited to view the student art show, Caballo de Las Cruces and “Fall Splendor” at any time during normal county business hours. The official opening of the newest student show will be held this Friday, Oct. 19, 2007, from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. Many student artists, their families and public-school faculty art teachers will be on hand. Refreshments will be served.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.