.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Spotlight on Los Alamos: Mesa Public Library art gallery speaks volumes

-A A +A
By Kelly LeVan

Have you been upstairs?The second floor at Mesa Public Library reveals a whole, almost separate aspect of the library’s many gifts to the community: the 1,000-square-foot art gallery. “We’ve had a history of wonderful, wonderful art,” said Carol Meine, who has served as activities director since 2003. She said the current gallery began displaying pieces in 1994, and that the former library building also contained a gallery dedicated to local and regional work.One of her favorite parts of the job, Meine said, is finding exhibitors to fill the unique, well-lit space. As artist Catherine Thayer said, “It’s just a beautiful space. It’s a pleasure to show there.”Thayer showed at the library in September. Currently, the Los Alamos Photographers Show graces the gallery walls, where it will remain through March 1.Carol LaDelfe, a member of the photography club, said her group holds its annual show in the library gallery in part because of the great light and in part because the library is so central to the community.“The town uses the library pretty thoroughly,” LaDelfe said, adding that the library offers activities families can enjoy together.“Kids love to go to the library,” she said, “especially the younger ones, who like to go down to the children’s area, and I am really pleased to see how many parents like to bring their kids upstairs to the gallery.”While the gallery often features local artists, including January’s Frank Harlow show, which displayed paintings the artist has donated to Los Alamos County’s art collection, Meine selects exhibitors from all over the state. The November 2007 exhibit, “Emergence: A New View of Life’s Origins,” highlighted current research at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). It was produced by an exhibition design class in the Media Arts Program at New Mexico Highlands University at the invitation of the SFI.“It was not so much me choosing to bring the exhibition to Los Alamos as Carol (Meine) reaching out to us when she heard about the show, coming to Santa Fe to view it at the Santa Fe Institute and supporting this project by booking it into the library gallery,” said Mimi Roberts, director for media projects at the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. “We are grateful to her for the opportunity to extend the benefit of our project to the Los Alamos community and expand the audience for the exhibit.”She added that the exhibit has since traveled to Arlington, Va., where it is being set up in the atrium of the headquarters of the National Science Foundation.Thanks to Meine’s efforts, the Santa Fe Opera has twice – in 2004 and 2006 – displayed its props, costumes, designer sketches and historical photos.“We found it to be a really fascinating space where people could get nice and close to what we wanted to show them,” said Production Director Paul Horpedahl. “Both times, we have great crowds and a really positive response.”He added that throughout the exhibits, “I never felt like any of our materials were in risk. Carol Meine and her staff took such good care of the items.”He said he would gladly solicit the space in the future.Coming up in March, the gallery at Mesa Public Library will present “Los Alamos Public Schools’ All School Art Show” and in April, “Album Amicorum: Album Amicorum: Gems of Friendship in a Frightened World,” an exhibit Meine feels especially passionate about.Thought to have originated in Germany in the 1500s, “Alba Amicorum,” or “Friendship Books,” are elaborate, handcrafted, border-crossing examples of paper marbling. In announcing the exhibit, Tom Leech, director of the press at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, said the Friendship Books act as a symbol of world peace.“The purpose of the exhibit is to gather beautiful marbled papers from a variety of international artists as an answer to the fear that grips the world,” he wrote an e-mailed letter. “While it is obvious that this will not change any country’s policies, we can demonstrate that friendship and the beauty of our craft can speak louder than fear.”Meine said the gallery hosts 12 shows per year, with only a day’s turnaround between shows – a rate that creates a certain amount of worthwhile tension. “There are very few venues like this around the state,” she said. “It’s fantastic to have this space to play with.”She added that the many “fabulous traveling exhibits” she secures are funded by the Friends of the Library.