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Art is in the air

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Christina Stock Photo Pictured from left are City of Roswell Marketing Coordinator and liaison of Keep Roswell Beautiful Thalia Pantoja-Gruis and Roswell Museum and Art Center Public Programs Manager Wendy Cook. Pantoja-Gruis brought one of the art material bags that will be given out to participants of the Recycle Art Show.

Roswell Museum and Art Center and Keep Roswell Beautiful unite for art projects

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

One of the favorite events for families and children alike are the creative events at the Roswell Museum and Art Center (RMAC), often in combination with the children of the Roswell Independent School District and its Creative Learning Center’s teacher.

Due to the pandemic, new ways had to be found to hold events safely with social distancing in mind. Leading the upcoming projects this year — Chalk Your Walk and the Recycle Art Show — are RMAC and Keep Roswell Beautiful.

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RISD’s Arts Connect Principal Abie Smith said that this year, the Creative Learning Center would focus on supporting the events by purchasing sidewalk chalk for the children that can be picked up at RMAC. “We are assisting with promoting around the school district, during our class times for students to understand what it’s about and on our Facebook page,” she said.

RMAC’s Executive Director Caroline Brooks said in an email, “We are disappointed that we’ve had to cancel so many programs this year due to COVID-19. Of course, the health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us, so we’ll continue to do our part and try to creatively find alternative and safe methods to present arts and cultural programming.

“We believe that hands-on experiences are still very important. Making art is a creative outlet. It gives you an opportunity to express yourself and become lost in the act of creating. It can be therapeutic in countering some of the issues people are facing today with being isolated from their friends, family and the community at large. We hope that our local families and others are able to find time to participate in one or both of these offerings. We look forward to seeing everyone’s creations,” Brooks said.

Wendy Cook, RMAC’s public programs manager, and Thalia Pantoja-Gruis, city of Roswell’s marketing coordinator, were available for an interview to talk about the upcoming projects.

Pantoja-Gruis, the staff liaison for Keep Roswell Beautiful, said, “Last year, we did participate with the Science and Art Festival, which is really exciting that RMAC let us partner on that. We did a bottle cap mural with the community.”

This year, Pantoja-Gruis said that material will be made available for up to 50 persons, supplied by Keep Roswell Beautiful. Though it was announced that artists can pick up the material on Oct. 1 and 2, parents can call RMAC to pick materials up while supplies last.

Recycled art

Asked if parents can provide their own material in case they missed the deadline, Pantoja-Gruis said, “That is totally acceptable. We’ve been doing our best to broadcast it out to as many people as possible and as many avenues as possible. If they have the supplies available to create their own art with recycled materials, we are more than happy with them submitting their art, too.”

There are, however, guidelines. Asked about details like materials, Cook said all recycled material is permitted as long it is clean.

“As long as they haven’t purchased it intentionally for that — let’s say somebody buys a lamp and builds their sculpture off of that. Don’t do that. Don’t get something that is pre-furbished. Create it from scratch from things that you have just picked up and accumulated and that’s clean. That is our biggest thing. We do have stipulations on width, how tall and how heavy it can be. Please, don’t bring in a 6-foot sculpture, we can’t take that. Both Wendy and I can’t physically carry that, so please don’t do that,” Pantoja-Gruis said.

To enter the show, participants must submit a registration form at roswellmuseum.org by Oct. 14 and bring their sculpture to RMAC, 1011 N. Richardson Ave. Dropoffs can be made from Oct. 14 to 16, daily from 1 to 5 p.m.

The sculptures will be exhibited at RMAC through the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Following that holiday, the artists will be informed, if they can’t pick up their art, if they don’t pick it up by the deadline we have said on the flyer, Dec. 4, it will become property of RMAC and Keep Roswell Beautiful and we will utilize it up to our discretion whether we keep it up as display or it is disposed of,” Pontoja-Gruis said.

Chalk event

Asked about the Chalk Your Walk event, Cook said, “Obviously, the museum was sad not being able to offer the Science and Art Festival, such a fun event for the community. A favorite part was the chalk art portion. And it was the easiest to translate for COVID, that people could do at home and still write positive messages. We wanted to do something that is really fun and positive and get families and folks out, creating art at home. It is just something fun to have in the neighborhood. This was a great opportunity to partner up and able to offer something. Right now, we can’t offer big events, we can’t gather, so it’s really fun to be able to at least offer something that we feel a level of togetherness and being able to be creative and doing something fun.

“We had one person mention on Facebook that they have a gravel driveway, they don’t have a sidewalk. It does not have to be at your house; obviously, you have to have permission, but if it’s a neighbor’s house, grandparents’ house or even if a business in town wants to let you do that, that’s great. You just have to get permission, but it doesn’t have to be specifically at your home. We just want to encourage folks to go out and create fun positive art for our community,” Cook said.

Artists should snap a picture of their artwork and another with the artist next to the work and email them to museum@roswell-nm.gov no later than Oct. 18 at 11:59 p.m., including artist names, age if under 16, mailing address and phone number. Only the artwork will be showcased on Facebook and Instagram. Limit one entry per artist.

The judges’ panel is made up of artists in the community, including Nancy Fleming of the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and Miranda Howe of Bonesprings Art Space. These judges will meet on Oct. 17 and, according to Cook, the announcement of the winners will be on Oct. 19, by 5 p.m.

There are also prizes, Pontoja-Gruis said. “We are so thankful to our sponsors,” she said. “Xcel sponsored basically all the gift cards we are giving away. So there will be a first and third prize gift card for each category. Dion’s is super gracious and provided a gift card for our first prize category, which we are super excited about. We are supporting local businesses, so we are purchasing gift cards from local businesses and entities to provide to families and to individuals that win.”

For more information, or to call ahead for drive-up service, call 575-624-6744, visit roswellmuseum.org and find them on Facebook.