“This is a new public building for the court and also for the people of Edgewood. I thought it would be a win-win situation for the artists on the east side of the Sandias, Edgewood and the entire Estancia Valley to host a gallery here. It is open to the general public, has lots of wall space, and our artists have the same, as those in Taos, Santa Fe, Corrales and Placitas.” This was this argument that Judge William White, Municipal Judge of Edgewood made to the Mayor, John Bassett, and the town council at his monthly report.
With no opposition, the Justice Art League came into being. Local artists Ming Franz and Kay Chowning were the first to look at the site. The Roaring Mouse went along for fun. Then on Sept. 21, the first official meeting of the new art group came together in the courthouse and got down to basics.
The theme for our gallery would be “The Southwest, or Places and Faces of Edgewood.” Rules for the new gallery for adult artists over 18 and youth artists, 6th to 12th grades, were put in place. Then how to hang the art, where to get the official gallery-style rods and what type of art would be displayed were discussed.
Right now, we can only take wall hanging style of art since we do not have cabinets to display pots or statues. Jennifer and Albert Noyer, old hands at displaying art, were invaluable in giving information needed to proceed. Roger Holden, of the town’s parks and recreation department, came through with two large pictures in brilliant color. (He is also a world-class photographer and has the town’s photographic history. I have known Roger and over the last 30 years he has shot most every area event.)
Every Friday afternoon, six to ten of us met, and little by little the gallery has come together. Works by Kay Chowning, Diane Ortiz, Annabel Lee Montgomery, Paul Harmon, Terry Matthews, and Hans Sobel are now on display at the courthouse—and the place is a blaze in vivid color, line and designs. The youth display is not active yet, as we need to contact the teachers at the middle schools, high schools and home schools. They can contact me at Justice Art League, 281-2428 or email@example.com.
We are also looking for veterans to send us their favorite photo in uniform to be put up in the courtroom itself. There will be a special wall of honor for those who have served. We would like copies of the photos not the original, so they can be kept on file for posterity. Why should all the glory go to large communities that have galleries? Any town or community can dedicate wall space to honor their artists.
We will change the show every three months—the December Solstice on the 21st is next. Any teacher or artist can contact me as liaison to be part of the show. Roaring Mouse with paintbrush in paw out.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.