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Agave Artists

An art gallery cooperative opens behind the Old Gate in Mesilla


A new cooperative art gallery, Agave Artists, has opened at 2250 Calle de San Albino, just off the historic Mesilla Plaza. The four-room gallery exhibits the work of 20 local and regional artists in a variety of media, including paintings and other wall art, plus 3-D sculpture and ceramic art, as well as original jewelry.

The gallery is housed in an adobe building that is part of the Josefina’s Old Gate property. Visitors can enter the gallery from its Calle de San Albino entrance or through Josefina’s Cafe patio. The four-room gallery has previously been a private home, an antique store, a hair salon and a bed and breakfast, said Mary Diesel, one of Agave Artists’ founders.

Artist and gallery co-founder Vickie Morrow said the gallery will include signature and smaller pieces as well as prints, “so every kind of art collector can afford it.” Morrow said she “was blown away by the quality of the artists and the depth of their experience.”

The gallery is now open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday.

An opening reception and celebration will be held noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, when visitors can meet the artists and enjoy live music and refreshments.

The Agave Artists are

  • Kat Ahlefeld, acrylic, mixed media, sculpture

“Laughing, dancing and singing while creating, I love the serendipity of ‘going with the flow’ with watercolors, smudging my fingers into charcoal and pastel or slap-happily dashing and dabbing acrylics.”

Visit agaveartists.com.  

  • Ella Alvarez, acrylics.

Alvarez finds many of her painting subjects come from her dreams. A former silversmith, she incorporates abstract design into her scenes and portraits. One of her series features “Floating Madonnas.”

  • Emmitt Booher, photography

Booher was born and raised in eastern New Mexico. He has served as artist-in-residence for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and at MoMaZoZo at Carrizozo Colony in central New Mexico. Booher is a current board member of the Doña Ana Arts Council. “I seek to discover and reveal, through photography, the natural world that sometimes goes unnoticed. My goal is to evoke mindfulness and contemplation within the observer.”

Visit ZoneVII.com and emmittbooherphotography on Facebook.

  • Laurie Churchill, watercolor, gauche

“I relocated from central Ohio to New Mexico in 2000. I sought a place and lifestyle that would inspire me and allow me to explore different parts of myself, still untapped, including various artistic explorations. Along the way I’ve taken classes in jewelry design, ceramics, and fiber arts. My quilts and wall hangings have been shown at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta and the West End Art Depot. I am relatively new to painting. I’ve had watercolors juried into shows in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.”

Visit agaveartists.com.

  • Mary Diesel, mixed water media

“My work focuses on those ‘moments of connection’ with the world around me. Sometimes they reveal themselves through representative art, and yet the true nature of the connection sometimes reveals itself more abstractly. I am currently exploring the boundaries and similarities in various styles and water media, including woven watercolor with rice paper, acrylic on canvas, and gouache.”

Visit www.marydiesel.com

  • Susan Feinsod, acrylic

Feinsod paints that striking, surprising, pleasing original image. Art is at her core. Most images are graphic in nature, lovely to look at. She is driven to paint, to produce the very best, following the principles and breaking some rules of art.

Visit agaveartists.com.

  • John Glass, watercolor

Originally based in Sarasota, Florida, Glass moved his studio to Deming to enjoy the scenery and solitude of the Wild West. An appreciation of his father’s artwork and of Indiana artists led him to classes and workshops. Glass ended up a serious student of Rob O’Dell from Ladoga, Indiana and eventually entered works into the Hoosier Salon. His work is also exhibited in Deming at the Gold Street Gallery.

Visit johnglassfineart.com.

  • Vickie Morrow, assemblage, jewelry, ceramics

“Hunting and gathering is a joy in my creative process. The next step is hand-crafting parts for my assemblages: tiles and beads, rusted fabric, metal patina, paper and wire for weaving. Finally, all the pieces come together in an assemblage, a vessel or a piece of jewelry appealing to the eye, the heart or a memory.”

Visit agaveartists.com.

  • Joanne Ray, ceramics

“The minute my hands touched clay, I knew it was the medium for me.” Ray is a hand-builder. Her favorite works are double-fired “treasure boxes” and decorative plates. Her logo is Metal & Mud, as some works feature rusted iron accents made by her son, Nick Ray. Ray is a permanent vendor at the Las Cruces Farmers Market downtown on Saturdays. She makes custom ceramic name tags for Agave Artists members.

Visit agaveartists.com.

  • Noël Sandino, printmaking, mixed media

“With experience as a printmaker and painter, I moved to southern New Mexico in 2017 and recently relocated to Las Cruces. One reason I moved here is that it is a vibrant art community. I have been painting for more than 30 years, and I began my printmaking studies 14 years ago. My artwork has been in many group shows, and I have solo shows to my credit as well. I have received awards for both my fine art prints and paintings in local, regional and international shows, and have also been a show judge.” Sandino is the current president of ArtForms.

Visit www.noelsandino.com and The Art of Noël Sandino on Facebook.

  • Leslie Toombs, pastel and mixed media, hand-crafted books

“Art connects us with the world around us and allows us to perceive the world through our senses. Art is creation and I love to create using color, movement and texture. My art focuses upon movement, whether it is a person dancing, a lizard crawling or a yucca yearning for the rain. Pastel and mixed media are my two main media.”

Visit paintedtree.com.

  • Wendy Weir, oil, fabric collage, glass

“I love impressionist, expressionist and abstract art and have found paintings in these styles to be the most enduring in my personal collection. Many of my paintings and fabric collages originate with a concept or an image in mind. Then my internal creative process takes over and extrapolates a painting from that beginning. Others flow freely from an inner impulse that expresses as an image of color and shape and balance arising from deep inside of me.”

  • Michelle Arterburn, ceramic jewelry

A native of Denver, Arterburn moved to New Mexico in 1992. “My work reflects who I am. I care about attention to detail and the nostalgic. I adore texture and pattern, weathered metal/brick, antique buttons and wax seals. I am especially drawn to the subjects of architecture, vintage automobiles and fish. Most importantly, I am interested in integrating these elements, subjects and surface into my work using various media and techniques.”

Visit www.michellearterburn.com.

  • Michael Copeland, mixed media collage paintings

Copeland is represented at galleries in Las Cruces, Cloudcroft, Lincoln and Madrid, New Mexico, and has been creating works of art for more than 40 years, has been an art educator for 28 years and an art gallery proprietor for 20. Copeland earned a degree in fine art from California State University, studying with noted artists O.K. Harry and Joseph Moran.

Visit www.michaelcopelandart.com/home.

  • Sydnie Roper, photography

Visit www.sydnieroper.com.

  • Dr. Paul A. Vakselis, watercolors

Vakselis has pursued his dream of being a watercolor artist since giving retiring from his surgical practice. He is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and had many exhibitions in Las Cruces as well as Albuquerque.

  • Ana Maria Uranga, oil and pastel

Uranga is a retired school teacher and has painted scenes from the West Coast and other places she's visited, including Mexico.

  • Nancy Dunn, oils

Dunn recently moved from California where she showed her work regularly. She just had an exhibit this spring at Milagro Coffee y Espresso in Las Cruces.

Ahlefeld, Churchill, Diesel, Feinsod, Morrow and Weir are Agave Artists founding members.

Mike Cook may be contacted at mike@lascrucesbulletin.com.


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