From Silver City to Beijing

ARTE Institute offers art and history lectures and tours


The ARTE Institute for Lifelong Learning of Las Cruces will begin spring classes and tours on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, kicking off a semester that continues through May 17 and includes visits to the missions of El Paso and Santa Fe, both in-person and Zoom lectures on artists of New Mexico and contemporary American Indian artists, a Billy the Kid walking tour in Silver City, the music of Aaron Copland and the baroque artistry of Artemisia Gentileschi.

If you want to participate in Zoom classes that begin Jan. 10, register by Friday, Jan. 7. You can sign up as late as Jan. 21 and still catch up with recorded sessions.

ARTE was created in 2021 by Kathleen Albers and Kathleen Key – billing themselves as “The Two Ks.” Albers retired earlier last year after more than 20 years with the Doña Ana Arts Council, including as its long-time director. Key teaches art history at UTEP.

The cost is $155 per person for unlimited access to all classes and local events; $75 is the al a carte price per course. You can add a household member to either option for an additional $10 per person.

For registration information, call 575-635-1973 or 575-915-4965.

In-person presentations

  • “Aaron Copland and the Orchestral Sound of a Nation” with Jim Smith, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6 at Holy Cross Retreat Center, 600 Holy Cross Road. This presentation will provide an overview of Copland’s life, his music and a detailed analysis of his composition “Appalachian Spring.”
  • “Appalachian Spring Artistry in Dance” with Devon Wall, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at Holy Cross

Retreat Center. The ballet set to Aaron Copland’s composition is explained and its history explored. Wall will discuss the intricacies of the Martha Graham Dance Company over its vast history and the intricacies of “Appalachian Spring.”

  • “Why is Artemisia Gentileschi the Quintessential Baroque Artist?” 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at the Woman’s Club of El Paso, 1400 N. Mesa St. and Saturday, Feb. 26, in Las Cruces, time and venue to be announced. This presentation is by Kathleen Key in collaboration with the Camerata Del Sol Chamber Orchestra. The presentations will include the orchestra music of baroque women composers performed by the Camerata del Sol. Tickets will cost $10-$15 and will be available at the door.
  • Visit the Missions of El Paso with Father Tom Smith, director of Holy Cross Retreat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, May 17. This will be an all-day tour of two missions in south El Paso. A fee will be assessed to cover the cost of a tour bus for this local excursion. More details to come.

Spring 2022 courses via Zoom

Recordings of lectures are automatically sent to enrolled students. PowerPoint presentations will be available upon request.

  • “Artists of New Mexico” with Kathleen Key, six sessions; 4-5:30 p.m. Mondays, Jan. 10-Feb. 21. This class will focus on the rich art produced in the Land of Enchantment in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
  • “Contemporary American Indian Artists” with Kathleen Key, six sessions; 4-5:30 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 28- April 11. The program is a study of today’s American Indian artists, including basket makers, bead and quill work, jewelers, metalsmiths, ceramics and glass artists, installation and performance artists, fashion designers and textile artists, photographers, printmakers, architects, painters and sculptors. Zoom classes will be held 1:30-3 p.m. Wednesdays.
  • Dream travel trips in select U.S. cities with Kathleen Key, eight sessions; 1-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 12-Feb. 9 and March 23-April 6; San Francisco (two lectures), the Hearst Museum, the Getty Museum, Seattle, Denver, Washington D.C. (two lectures) San Diego and pre-excursion lectures for ARTE trips to Santa Fe, Silver City, the El Paso Missions and the San Patricio-Lincoln-Roswell trip in June.
  • “Billy the Kid and the Evolution of an American Myth” with Jim Smith, five sessions, 1:30-3 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 16-March 16. This class will provide an overview of Billy the Kid’s life and an

examination of his ever-changing myth and what it reveals about changes in American culture.

  • Billy the Kid Walking Tour of Downtown Silver City, either Friday or Saturday, March 18 or 19; The Kid moved to Silver City with his family in 1873. When he left town in 1875, he was on his way to becoming one of history’s most notorious and controversial outlaws. This walking tour of Silver City will feature tales of Henry McCarty’s childhood with special focus on the story of his mother and the sites in downtown Silver City that have sparked numerous legends and myths surrounding Billy the Kid. The 90-minute tour cover 1.5 miles.

Zoom classes, 4-5:30 p.m. Thursdays

  • “Destination China: Six Great Cities in Chinese History” with Elvira Masson, 4-5:30 p.m. Thursdays,

Jan. 20-Feb. 24, six sessions; explore Beijing, Xian, Dunhuang, Xiahe, Chongqing and Shanghai, which include two ancient capitals, a Silk Road oasis, a Tibetan holy site, a Yangtze River town and a modern


  • “The Art of Alignment” with Bill Key, five sessions plus one hold-over session; 4-5:30 p.m. Thursdays, March 24-May 5; five weeks of fascinating exploration of how alignment is the key to making great art. In addition, a holdover class from this past summer, Egyptian Obelisks, will be presented May 5.

Excursions planned for spring, summer and fall 2022

  • Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6: Santa Fe Museums and Appalachian Spring ballet at the Lensic


  • Wednesday-Sunday, April 27-May: 1 Trip to Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • Wednesday-Sunday, June 22-26: San Patricio-Lincoln-Roswell to see Wyeth and Hurd artwork; stay at

the Hurd La Rinconada Ranch in San Patricio, New Mexico

  • Thursday-Monday, Oct 20-24: Marfa: A Contemporary Art Mecca in West Texas

Biographies of instructors

  • Kathleen Key is a co-founder of the ARTE Institute for Lifelong Learning and an art historian and world

traveler who has taught art history at the University of Houston, UTEP and UTEP’s continuing education program.

  • Bill Key, Kathleen’s husband, is recently retired from an international career as a petroleum engineer. He worked in Egypt for more than 20 years and is part of the UTEP continuing education program.
  • Elvira Masson is a professor of history and linguistics at New Mexico State University who first visited China in 1983 as a student. At NMSU, she teaches courses on ancient and modern East Asia, focusing on cultural history, including literature, visual and performing arts and Buddhism.
  • Jim Smith is a former Mayfield High School history teacher who was the state teacher of the year and a finalist for the national Teachers Hall of Fame. As an education consultant, Smith has conducted workshops and made presentations for history teachers throughout the U.S. and in Europe and Asia. Smith’s novel about Billy the Kid, “Catherine’s Son,” was a nominee for the NM-AZ Book Awards for Best Historical Fiction. He also wrote history textbook, “Ideas That Shape a Nation.”
  • Devon Wall was raised in El Paso but left after high school to explore the world of dance. She received a BA in dance from Sam Houston State University and an MFA in dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Wall also worked in arts administration for the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. She is recently retired from a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Unified School District.