This weekend an open house was held in the Edgewood Courthouse for the one-year anniversary of the Justice Art League. Any artist from the Estancia Valley can hang their art for free in Edgewood. The artist may put a card next to the painting with the name and phone number for the public to contact if they wish to buy a work. There is no fee to hang or to sell. The buyers must contact the artist outside of the building. The courthouse is not in business like Walmart.

The hours of the court are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may come and see the wonderful talented folks from our valley any day. And this weekend, students from both Moriarty and Edgewood Middle schools were spotlighted with their art on two walls in the front entrance. Why spend money and fly to France where they probably wouldn’t appreciate our cowboy boots and ranch hands? We have it going on right here. Did I mention it’s free?

Why do we bother with art is the next question? In ancient times, 20,000 years ago, ancient humans marked the caves of Lascaux, France with their hands and drew stick figures of their food kills.

From that rough canvas to today, humans have been addicted to making art. What if you didn’t have a cave? The next step was carrying your art with you in the form of tattoos. Tattoos are not new; folks have been doing body art from the beginning of time. I can’t imagine how it is done. I am always impressed with the new color tattoos. I give myself a shot of insulin each night and consider myself brave. (I am not.) But I can’t imagine sitting and getting stuck for a whole picture. (I am a coward.) Back to art….

Mr. Kevin O’Grady is the middle school art teacher for Moriarty and Edgewood. He and he alone put up the display that shows off his students’ talents. He is a great motivator of young minds, and we are very fortunate to have such a devoted educator.

I taught art at the end of my career, and I am sold on the value it has for young minds. Skills like developing a thought and figuring out how to express it are a beginning. You must ask what you want to convey: How will I come up with a design that will show others what I see? The mind is first and hands are second. How to present art is hard work. Do you choose the medium that is easy, or do you challenge your new abilities? Should I use pencils, watercolor, or acrylics? Once chosen, am I good enough with my chosen medium to express my thoughts? It takes a multitude of tasks to come up with art and loads of practice. Otherwise everyone who doodles would hang in the Louvre. (Oh, France again.) I encourage you all to come and see how middle school students, as well as local adults have reached victory in this endeavor. Our courthouse is alive with color, line and design. It is waiting for you to go, “Oooh, Ahhhhh, this is our gallery.”

The Route 66 Arts Alliance is also the group to cheer for as they hang gorgeous art at The Independent, our own newspaper, and the town of Edgewood offices next to our library. I remember when T-shirts were white and mugs at Denny’s only held coffee. Art is everywhere. We can see it on our clothes, our coffee mugs, pennants along our roads and some of the best is hung on display all over town. If you are having a rough day, the dog ate your homework, a pothole ate your tire? Get a patch for your heart and go see the art doctor at the Edgewood Courthouse. It’s next to First Choice. Roaring Mouse, painting my toenails. Out.