D  e  s  e  r  t     E  x  p  o  s  u  r  e    February 2006


Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
Is space tourism the ticket to success for the proposed spaceport?

For Love and Money
Ivan Thompson, the "Cowboy Cupid," stars in an award-winning documentary.

Connecting the Threads
The Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective weaves together area fabric artists.

Blooming in the Desert
"Little Vampire" author and painter Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.

Out of Africa
Festus Addo-Yobo, new director of NMSU's Black Studies Program.

Columns & Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Tumbleweeds in Brief
Top 10
Celestial Cycles
The Starry Dome
Ramblin' Outdoors
People's Law
40 Days & 40 Nights
Chocolate Fantasia
$1.98 Show
Clubs Guide
Guides to Go
Henry Lightcap's Journal
Continental Divide

Special Section
Arts Exposure:
Deming's Art Bloom
For the Love of Art Month
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Secrets of Romance
Echinacea & Colds
Lifelong Learning

Red or Green?
Dining Guide
Si Italian Bistro
Patio Café
Table Talk


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Museums Go Cosmic

As plans for the Southwest Regional Spaceport (see story in this issue) put New Mexicans in a cosmic mood, the Las Cruces Museum of Art and the Branigan Cultural Center are obliging will three exhibitions of the "Art of the Cosmos." The exhibitions will open Friday, Feb. 3, with a free reception in both museums from 5-7 p.m., kicking off a two-month astronomical art display. The space-inspired programs "The Art of Space," "Rocketland" and "AstroVisions" will run through early April.

Tim Billman, the museum's education curator, explains that "Art of the Cosmos" involves the creative process of "giving an abstract form to an astronomical concept." Imaginative spacecraft originate from the minds of artists whose visionary designs lead to the engineering drawings, then finally the rockets that leave the launching pad, he says. The exhibitions showcase the partnership of art and science through the esthetics of space, space travel and visionary aspects of the future.

The "Art of Space" is a juried exhibition of works depicting the esthetics of astronomy. "AstroVisions" will offer astro-photography from local astronomical society members, including digital telescopic photography. Both exhibits are at the Museum of Art Main Gallery from Feb. 3-April 8.

"Rocketland," in the Richardson Gallery of the Branigan Cultural Center from Feb. 3-April 1, spotlights rockets, spaceports and the future in space. The exhibit will include a small rocket and other space-related artifacts from White Sands Missile Range, collections from other museums, and X-Prize participants.

The museums will offer various programs related to the exhibits.

Classic science fiction films will be shown in the Shannon Room of the Branigan Cultural Center every Saturday at 10 a.m. throughout February and March. A complete list of titles and dates will be available at the museums.

For kids ages 7-12, the Museum of Art and the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History will jointly sponsor a "Paint a Rocket and Fly It" event. The program is free, but limited to 12 participants; to register, call 523-3369.

The Branigan Cultural Center will hold an after-school creative writing/creative drama/art classes for elementary and middle-school students that focus on the "Rocketland" exhibit. To register, call 541-2154 or 541-2219.

An additional exhibit in the new Education Gallery of the Museum of Art will feature "Rising Skies 4—Understanding Astronomy Through the Arts," an art and science education outreach program for fourth through sixth grades.

Meanwhile, lovers' passions and plights are the theme of "Hearts & Daggers," showing Feb. 3-28 in the art museum's Director's Gallery.

The Las Cruces Museum of Art is located at 490 N. Water St. in the downtown mall. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 541-2137.

Jake Politte Cooks Up a Photo Exhibit

You may know Jake Politte as the artist behind the food at Spaghetti Western restaurant in Silver City, but he is also an artist behind the camera lens. His photographs will be featured Feb. 9 through March 5 at the StudioSpace, 109 N. Bullard St. in Silver City. The show, "Near and Far: From Nashville to Oaxaca," opens with a reception on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 2-4 p.m.

Jake Politte was raised in Northern New Mexico and Key West, Fla. He spent 26 years in San Francisco working as a photographer, mainly in the film and fashion industries, while juggling a career as a chef. He did commissioned magazine and museum photography and specialized in studio portraiture that included costuming subjects and doing their make-up. Jake also taught 35mm photography using the medium format Miranda Kiev camera and traveled extensively before returning to New Mexico in 2001.

The photos featured are a selection taken from his visits to countries from Argentina to Italy to Mexico. They included "slice of life" and "glamour" shots, rare pictures of objects extracted from tombs during archeological digs in Mexico, and several scenic and still-life compositions.

Cowboy Kids at WNMU Museum

The Western New Mexico University Museum will present a collection of color photographs by Gene Peach of Santa Fe, Feb. 10 through March 31. This exhibition, "Making a Hand: Ranch Children of New Mexico," presents 66 action portraits of young cowboys and cowgirls from all across the state. Peach will be present for an opening reception and short talk on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the WNMU Museum 2nd Floor Exhibit Room.

Many people assume, as did Peach, that "the cowboy was a relic of the past." This exhibition dispels that belief and other myths and stereotypes associated with ranching and rodeo culture and sheds light on this enduring and authentic way of life through the lives of children.

Peach has been photographing the cultures and landscapes of the West for more than 15 years. His Southwestern, Native American and cowboy stock photos have been published internationally in 50 countries, and his advertising and editorial photography appears regularly in numerous US magazines and books. Peach's color photography book, Making a Hand: Growing Up Cowboy in New Mexico, with text by Max Evans, will be available for purchase from the museum gift shop for $39.95.

The WNMU Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information call 538-6386.

What's on View

An exhibition of the paintings, sculpture, graphics and drawings of Fred Barraza, "Barraza—A Sense of Something," continues at the WNMU McCray Gallery through March 3. A Silver City native, Barraza works in a multitude of art forms and media, including printmaking, painting, illustrating and sculpture. He is also an accomplished illustrator, creating numerous book covers and illustrating a children's book.

Blue Dome Gallery in Silver City will feature "A Prelude to Grouchiness," non-traditional quilts by Karen Pritchett and ceramic constructions by Todd Shelby. The gallery will host an opening reception from 4-7 p.m. on Feb. 11. The Blue Dome Gallery is at 307 N. Texas, 534- 8671, bluedome@zianet.com.

Watercolors by Las Cruces artists Hope Newhouse and Louise Lockhart will be on exhibit at the Tombaugh Gallery in a show entitled "Light and Shadows." An artists' reception for the show, which will be on view through the month of February, will be Sunday, Feb. 5, from 2-4 p.m. The Tombaugh Gallery is located in the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 2000 S. Solano Drive in Las Cruces. Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information call 522-7281.


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