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Spanish Market artists share their work

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By Jennifer Garcia

Anyone who’s ever been to Spanish Market in Santa Fe knows how popular and crowded the event can be. In fact, the crowds sometimes serve as a deterrent for some who would otherwise attend the event.
What if there was a way to get a look at some of the artists’ work without having to actually go to Spanish Market? Imagine a smaller, indoor venue where market artists display and sell their creations.
The Arte Norteño Tradicional Spanish Market Art Show, Sale and Reception will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Nick Salazar Center for the Arts at Northern New Mexico College in Española.
The sale and show will feature work by artists that are either former students, or current faculty at NNMC. They include: Victor Archuleta, Jose Armijo, Veronica Montaño Coale, Matthew Duran, Lorrie and Andrew Garcia, John Jimenez, Felix Lopez, Joseph Lopez, Greg Lucero, Diana Lujan, Byron Martinez, Rita V. and J.D. Martinez, Art Montaño, Jason Mossman, Cleo Romero, Rachel Roybal-Montoya, William “Art” Sanchez, Lee Valdez and Rose and Eugene Vigil.
Lee Valdez has taught traditional woodcarving at NNMC for 12 years. Approximately six months ago, he became involved in “a mission to do something positive and constructive,” at the urging of fellow Spanish Market artist Diana Lujan.
“She felt it was incumbent on us Spanish Market artists, to perform some type of ‘outreach’ effort, which would help stimulate interest in Hispanic art and in the Market,” Valdez said. “We had observed that apparently local people have forgotten that the Santa Fe Spanish Market(s) take place every year in July and December — as the great majority of them do not attend either event.”
Valdez said when people do not attend the markets, they miss a chance to “enjoy/admire and acquire (thus supporting local artists/neighbors) uniquely beautiful art.” He also said missing out on the markets means that the traditional art and culture of the region is not “being appreciated for its significance and quality.”
As a result of these observations, Valdez and Lujan decided to do something that would help showcase local Spanish Market artists’ work and came up with the idea of the Arte Norteño Tradicional show, sale and reception.
Valdez said as he began looking for a venue for the event, he found his supervisor, Donna Winchell, to be very supportive. In fact, she convinced him to use the college as the show’s venue. She also urged him to invite Spanish Market artists that have some sort of association with the college, such as being a faculty member or former student. So he embarked on the organizational process, clocking approximately 100 hours of volunteer work in an effort to get the show together.
The show and sale will not only benefit NNMC by showcasing the talent that it has produced in artists, but it will also benefit financially. Twenty percent of the sales will go toward the Visual Arts Scholarship Fund.
Never before has such as show been on display at NNMC. Valdez is a little bit nervous about how it will go over.
“The outreach effort has not been attempted here before, thus there’s plenty of curiosity and anxiety as to whether or not it will work,” he said.
Despite the unknowns, Valdez is confident that this will be a different type of art show. “It will bring a sample or taste of what is amongst the best art in Spanish Market out of Santa Fe (the art mecca), which should make it feel more accessible and real,” Valdez said. “Although the artists are mostly from here, they don’t typically show here … Northern will receive well-deserved recognition and credit for teaching art to students who have been matriculated into Spanish Market. This tribute is long overdue.”
The show will run for one day only, but those who are not able to make it will still have the chance to view the exhibit. From 3-7 p.m. Sunday, where another show will take place at Los Luceros Hacienda near Alcalde. For more information about that show, call Lujan at 983-5410.