Arts Festival begins Thursday

William Thompson

The second annual Tucumcari Arts Festival runs Thursday through Sunday at the Tucumcari Convention Center with nearly forty artists participating. Judy Hiner, Director of the Quay Council for Arts and Humanities, said this year’s festival will emphasize quality over quantity.

“There will be a higher quality of art for sale this year,” said Hiner. “We are charging artists $25 per table if they bring more than three works of art.”

Artists from all over New Mexico were bringing in a variety of art works Monday afternoon in preparation for the festival. There were bronze sculptures, watercolors and oil paintings and detailed drawings. One artist brought large hand-decorated gourds with native American designs.
The art for sale at the festival falls in the $125 to $500 price range, with some works going for less and some going for much more. For the serious art collector with deep pockets, there will be several bronze pieces for sale that are priced in the thousands of dollars.

One piece, by artist Gary Campbell, entitled “Battle for Eden” is priced at $11, 500. The piece represents an elephant with various endangered animals entwined around it. The work won Best of Show at the Denver Grand National Art Show.
For more modest budgets, area artist Liz Smith has brought some water colors to the festival she hopes to sell for closer to $100 than $1,000. She has painted many watercolor scenes from Bell’s Ranch near Tucumcari. Smith said she started painting in 1977.

“I’ve done about ten paintings a year, “ said Smith. “I guess I’ve done about 700 paintings.”

Smith said she is proud that one of her paintings hangs in a building at an Ivy League school.
“I was commissioned by Cornell University to do a painting,” said Smith. “I painted a scene at Bell’s Ranch and it now hangs in Cornell University’s Animal Science Department building.

In addition to established artists, the festival will also highlight works by some of Tucumcari High School’s artists. Joe Sisneros, a senior, will be displaying various detailed charcoal drawings and watercolors. He said the ideas for his drawings just pop into his head.
“I like anything mystical,” said Sisneros. “I like dragons and horror images.”

One of his watercolors resembles the swirly bright designs of a tie-dye t-shirt. Sisneros said he did not set out to mimic a particular psychedelic style.

“I just like painting something someone can trip out on,” he said.
The festival is free to the public. The schedule runs as follows:
Thursday and Friday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.