Committee tasked to develop youth, community activities

Thomas Garcia

Eastern New Mexico Art Space has formed a committee focused on creating positive outlets for local youth and promoting the community.

“I know a lot of children take to the arts,” said Robert Poe, Art Space chairman. “It brings you back to that primitive wonder of enjoyment where they can develop their skill and love for arts.”

Art Space is a non-profit organization geared toward giving youths an artistic outlet, according to Art Space Director Vicki Watson.

Watson said while they hold fundraisers and apply for grants, students may have to pay a fee to cover the cost of materials.

“We are always looking for sponsorship and grants to make these classes free to the children,” Watson said.

Watson said the students work with local teachers on varying levels and styles of art and techniques.

Along with a classroom, Art Space has a gallery where work from their students and local artists are displayed and sold.

“It gives them a sense of pride to see their art work on display,” Poe said.

Poe, formerly of Carlisle, Penn., said he used to run a similar program geared toward the youth called Arts Reaching the Community.

“Art is a great outlet,” Poe said. “I used art as a way to express myself and keep off the streets.”

Poe said in the short time that he has lived in Tucumcari he has noticed many youths have no positive outlets.

“When I was younger, I got in to a lot of trouble,” Poe said. “That was until I joined after-school programs and began learning about drama and the arts.”

Along with the outreach program, the Art Space is working to promote Tucumcari to the tourist.

Watson said the committee would try to plan their events with an existing community event.

“We want to draw people into all portions of the town,” Watson said. “The goal is to promote tourist to see all of Tucumcari. The focus shouldn’t be on I-40, Route 66 or downtown, rather it should be about our community as a whole.”

Local artist Doug Quarles said the committee has already been approached to paint a patriotic mural at the National Guard Armory in Tucumcari.