Serving the High Plains

MainStreet announces its artists-in-residency

Tucumcari MainStreet last week announced its artists-in-residency choices for its new Hands on Tucumcari arts incubator pilot program, and one of the artist’s classes sold out just hours after they were announced.

Hands on Tucumcari offers creative classes for the community and support for local artists to encourage growth in the local creative economy.

Each artist will receive a $500 stipend for workshop instruction, up to $250 for materials, marketing and the use of the Tucumcari Railroad Depot’s east room for workshop sessions in exchange for hosting community classes during their residency. The selected artists also are eligible for a one-month solo exhibition at the Princess Theater storefront.

Tucumcari MainStreet has determined the value for each residency is about $2,000.

Tucumcari MainStreet Executive Director Connie Loveland said the program received 12 applicants for the artist-in-residency spots.

“I was certainly glad I was not on that review committee, because it was a tough job,” she said. “It was a great response. I don’t think we anticipated the great quality of the applicants that we got. I always knew we had a huge artist community within Tucumcari, but I was blown away.”

“Beginning Silversmithing” classes offered by Eugene Ross, a silversmithing instructor at Mesalands Community College, in late July and early August sold out just six hours after they were announced. Loveland said she set up a waiting list for Ross’ classes if he schedules more classes.

“I was surprised how quickly it sold out,” Loveland said, adding that if additional classes are scheduled, they would be held in the fall.

Schedules and signup pages for the other artists should be announced this week or next on Tucumcari MainStreet’s social media pages.

The other selected artists are:

— Linda Griggs, a Tucumcari native and retired real estate broker, draws creative inspiration from nature, often painting landscapes and wildlife. She recently found creative expression through needle felting. While Griggs was not part of the competitive process, she was awarded an honorary residency for her contribution to creating the program. Through her volunteer time and the purchase of materials for three painting classes, Linda contributed over $2,500 to the program.

— Franchesca Velasquez, a Tucumcari native and THS graduate, paints everything from murals on the front the city’s library to children’s faces during downtown events. Velasquez draws her inspiration from her children, who share her love of painting.

— Jim Livingston is an accomplished professional photographer. He and his wife June recently relocated to Tucumcari from the Amarillo area. With more than 40 solo gallery showings, including museum work with his “I Am Route 66” project and a certificate of photography from Amarillo College, Livingston loves sharing art, photography and the magic of Route 66.

— Laura Love, who grew up in Tucumcari, said her love for drawing began during short road trips around the area with her grandmother, who taught her “it is our job when draw to help tell the story.” Love is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has created doodles for poems, stories, T-shirts and youth programs. Recently her doodles were spotted in a New Mexico Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators exhibition in the Santa Fe Public Library.

— Randi Jo Eidsmoe of Tucumcari works primarily in textiles with a deep knowledge of historical clothing and material construction. Her art is about creating dialogue between socioeconomic definitions of art and uses recycled materials, especially fabric, to create visual expositions from different eras. Eidsmoe explores the boundaries of the dominant narratives about self expression as art through perceived mundane means such as clothing, embellishment and alteration.

Loveland said she was hopeful the Hands on Tucumcari program would happen again in 2024.

“It’s well received within the community,” she said. “I think it shows a desire for a creative economy here. I hope to keep it going.”

The Hands on Tucumcari program is made possible by a grant from the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance, with additional funding and support from New Mexico MainStreet and the Tucumcari Federal Savings & Loan Association.

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