Arts Alive

Angel Fire art and businesses are back

By Jacqui Binford-Bell

Arts in Angel Fire and the Moreno Valley may not be as easy to find now as they once were. There used to be two galleries: The Rupp Gallery and Arts Space Gallery. But as respective owners Carol Rupp and Katherine McDermott discovered, you can either create art or sell it.

Wood-fire pottery by Jo DeKeuster of Enchanted Circle Pottery. Check out the 4th Annual Angel Fire Studio Tour Sept. 26 and 27, 2021. 

So Rupp and Mcdermott independently closed galleries and opened studios. Other artists followed suit, and so began the era of artist studios in and around Angel Fire.

Angel Fire exhibitors

With the easing of total pandemic lockdowns, Angel Fire businesses have also returned to exhibiting the works of local artists.

The Shuter Library of Angel Fire, Angel Fire Airport, and Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center are three of the nonprofits exhibiting paintings and photography by local artists.

Precious metal and stones jewelry by Judy Kosonovich. Courtesy Binford-Bell Studio

Several restaurants and bars are back onboard, including the Enchanted Circle Brewing Company, The Pup and Grub, Angel Fired Pizza, New Mexico Bank and Trust, and the Annual Parade of Homes.

Art seemed to be everywhere until the pandemic hit and closed everything down, including the artist studios.

One studio literally went to the dogs – this author’s art and photography studio closed with the opening of Dog Gone Park, to keep revenue coming in. If art was nonessential doggy day care was not.

Creative variety

Other artists merely changed mediums. No room for another painting on the walls or money for paint and canvas? Then paint miniatures or furniture or sew quilts; make one-of-a-kind purses and hats.

Photographers could still take photos – even if inspirational state and national parks were closed – finding printers for landscapes was a great deal harder. So print greeting cards.

The result has been lots of a new variety of arts and lots of inventory.

Courtesy Binford-Bell Studio

March 2020 also saw the cancellation of many counted-on fairs and events for artists to sell their wares.

Angel Fire once hosted Arts Fest, the Holiday Market, and the studio tour. Some artists went to online sales or viewing by appointment only. Many just kept doing art in case things opened back up.

The ArtUp Northern New Mexico board met frequently in Zoom meetings in hopes something could be salvaged of the 2020 program, and then switched to what could be planned on in 2021.

Pop-ups, co-ops, studio tour and more

So far, we are putting our hopes in the 4th Annual Angel Fire Studio Tour for Sept. 26 and 27, 2021, just one year late. 

This is a self-guided tour of studios from Black Lake, Angel Fire, Taos Canyon and Valle Escondido. In 2019 we had 18 artists open their studios. We believe it can be done responsibly with masks and distancing. 

In addition, member artists are looking forward to possible pop-up co-ops, as they did in December 2020 for visitors and artists anxious for a return of the arts.

‘Painted chair,’ by Angel Fire artist Jo Mixon. Courtesy J. Binford-Bell Studio

A return of the street fair, Arts About Town, is being anticipated, hopefully giving artists maximum exposure with a minimum of pre-planning, and ample social distancing, which can support the businesses which supported, or just safely stored, art this past year.

Be sure too check out the ArtUp Northern New Mexico website for updates on the summer calendar.

ArtUp exists to support local arts and artists and the ultimate goal is to have an art center where the artists control the keys to the doors. Fundraising for that goal has also been on hold for the past year.