September 4, 2008 by Denise Nava NMSU Round Up
The first annual New Mexico Arts Convention will be held this month at NMSU to further the awareness of the Las Cruces art and cultural scene, not just in the community, but globally.
Hosted by the Talking Stick Institute (TSI), the arts convention will be held at the Corbett Center Student Union in three separate sessions on Sept. 8, 15 and 22.
“We’re working hard to promote Las Cruces as an art and cultural destination,” said Virginia Maria Romero, local artist and TSI member. “The convention is a chance to bring artistic groups around Las Cruces together to exchange resources and ideas.”
The idea behind the convention formulated after David Boje, event organizer and Endowed Bank of America Professor at the College of Business, was approached by a local artist, Ruth Drayer, who was successfully selling her art everywhere except Las Cruces.
Boje stated, with more than 84 artistic service groups, 35 galleries and close to 250 artists in town, Las Cruces is not just a place with two Wal-Marts. It is an amazing and creative place that should be widely known for its artistic development.
“We want to improve the market for the arts in Las Cruces,” Boje said. “By working together we can increase the art income, attract more buyers, attract more art tourism and bring awareness to this community.”
After deep thought and consideration, the Arts Convention was finally created, but with a different take on the meeting structure.
Each session of the convention will be organized in a ‘talking stick’ manner, where the person who holds the ‘stick’ is the only one who is allowed to talk.
Boje explained TSI is a democratic form of communication that gives each person a chance to talk and others a chance to listen.
“[TSI] encourages people to listen,” Romero said. “I believe when we pull together, we can achieve more.”
The three separate sessions of the convention will focus on the formation of 10 task forces, the setting of goals to improve the arts economy in Las Cruces and finally the implementation of the each task force’s goals.
Task forces will be centering on certain topics like the different types of artistic groups around Las Cruces, as well as media and economic development of the community.
Students of Boje’s Small Business Consulting course will be facilitating the “talking stick” for each session and were also in charge of assembling gallery owners and artists from around the community to be a part of the convention.
A review session is planned for the last week of school to evaluate each groups accomplishments and success in completing the goals that were set during September.
Boje said students will have a chance to work with their task force until the end of December.
“We invite all attendees to join and work together over the next year to create goals and take action, so the world will know about Las Cruces as an art economy,” Trina Dunbar, Arts Convention organizer, said. “We want the world to know we are here.”
Boje clarified the convention would bring good things to NMSU and students.
“We have an opportunity to do something positive for our community,” Boje said. “A lot of students [on campus] have talent.”
“Heart of the Arts: Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley, New Mexico,” a documentary created by local filmmaker Ed Breeding, will be shown during the first session at 4 p.m. on Sept. 8.
According to Boje, the documentary is about the art scene in Las Cruces and said there was an idea to send copies of the movie to potential community members, so they could be exposed to the artistic atmosphere of Las Cruces.
“[The art convention] is a great opportunity to get the community together,” TSI member David Tobey, said.
Guest speaker Mayor Ken Miyagishima will close the first session, while Dean Gary Carruthers of the College of Business will be a part of the last session.
“We don’t have to have a community of starving artists,” Boje said. “We can have a community of prosperous artists. It is an opportunity for business and arts to be united and not separated.”
For more information about the NM Arts Convention, visit www.talkingstick.info or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.