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Literary Arts Fest to showcase community coming together to celebrate reading

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The Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District (ACD) will host its first Literary Arts Festival beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 4, the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership (DLCP) said in a news release.

The event “will showcase our community’s enthusiasm for literary arts from readings and musical performances to book-based pinball tournaments, food and drink specials and other exciting offerings in-between,” the news release said. It will culminate with the second annual Generations Community Writing Project reading at Rio Grande Theatre (RGT), 313 N. Main St., at 6 p.m. The reading “links writers across generations and cultures to create connections with each other and the audience. This year the local writers will read their work centering around the theme ‘unity,’” the news release said.

The festival ends with the opening of the Fair in Art 451 gallery show located at RGT.

The festival will happen all around Downtown, DLCP said. Participating Downtown restaurants will offer literary-themed food and drink specials such as Rad’s “Mirkwood Enchanted Forest drink and Lembas bread” and Amador Live’s “Tequila Mockingbird.”

Themed mini-events will be held at participating businesses throughout the ACD. Participants will also include RGT, Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, the City of Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science, La Vida Project, Beck’s Roasting House and Creamery, Willow and Blaine bistro, Grounded coffee bar and pizza/wine lounge and Zia Comics.

“We are excited to bring LitFest to the Arts and Cultural District,” said ACD Coordinator Susan Cabello. “As an inclusive and diverse signature event, LitFest showcases the many ways our community celebrates and comes together through the literary arts. This event has really blossomed. Our district businesses have outdone themselves when coming up with the mini-events and curating programs for everyone.”

RGT will also have free programming featuring film as literature, nature journaling and dance performances, the news release said.

Also happening as a part of LitFest, local muralist Coy Lowther will paint a mural on the north wall of COAS Books, 317 N. Main St.

The mural is a community project, DLCP said.

“Come lend an artistic hand and play a part in the place making of Downtown Las Cruces,” the release said. The mural is funded through the Devasthali Family Foundation Fund.

ACD was created by the Las Cruces City Council in 2018. The district’s boundaries are Water Street on the west, Mesquite Street on the east, Picacho Avenue/Spruce Street on the north and Amador Avenue on the south and include Downtown and the Mesquite Street Historic District, taking in Las Cruces’ original townsite.

The Arts and Culture District Coordinating Council represents area leaders in arts, culture, historic preservation, tourism, and leisure activities.

Visit https://downtownlascruces.org/ and www.nmartsandculturaldistricts.org/our-districts/las-cruces/.