Experience The Arts in Silver City, New Mexico


by Victoria Chick


BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: Artist Victoria Chick gives an overview of the dynamic visual and performing arts scene in Silver City, New Mexico. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on PodBean or SoundCloud.

In 2006, Silver City, New Mexico was put on the map as an art town by John Villani in his book “The 100 Best Art Towns in America.” What was true in 2006 has grown exponentially with the arrival of new visual artists, musicians, and writers, the development of art festivals and workshops, numerous galleries, international exhibitions, and the formation of a fine art museum and art center in the process.

Almost any evening a wide genre of music from rock to country, to folk, to jazz can be heard coming from the many restaurants and downtown bars and even Sunday mornings at the Tranquil Buzz Coffee Shop, where the proprietor and his friends play guitar, mandolin, and other stringed instruments.

Western New Mexico University extends an invitation to the community to attend concerts at the University. The Community Concert Association presents 5-6 traveling productions in the winter months. As part of their contract, the performers spend an afternoon teaching and demonstrating their musical specialty to children.

The Mimbres Region Art Council (recognized for several years as the best in New Mexico) is well known for the Memorial Weekend Blues Festival. An outdoor event in Gough Park, it is the largest free Blues Festival in the Southwest and is family-friendly. 

A leading visual arts organization is the Silver City Art Association supporting member galleries, studios, and individual artists with weekend events or exhibitions.

The SCAA RED DOT Studio Tour on Sept 4,5,6 will feature 15 studios with a kick-off on Friday evening from 5-7 at the new Aldea Gallery downtown. Barry Namm will be performing jazz. At each Annual Studio Tour, artists open their normally private studios to the public who can see the art in progress, ask questions, and in some cases, try the process themselves. Driving to the various studios lets the tour-goer see some great scenery too.

Columbus Day Weekend, October 9 and 10, will be the SCAA RED DOT Gallery Walk. All galleries in downtown Silver City will be open with new shows, works by your favorite artists, and introducing new talent. SCAA Galleries also have special openings for new exhibits on a year-round basis. Let the galleries know you want to be notified or check the Silver City Art Association Calendar at www.silvercityart.com

Another active visual arts group with its own Gallery in Silver City is the Grant County Art Guild.

Undoubtedly, the most visible art for a person driving into town is the works by the Silver City Mural Program. The murals definitely let you know you are in an Art Town. These murals might be painted, or done in ceramic pieces and are always a breathtaking example of public art.

Diana Ingalls Leyba is the director of the Mural program with other artists assisting. The professional artists guide school students in the development of the idea, its design, composition, and color. Most of the work is done by middle school and high school students and the subjects of the murals relate to the history, culture, or present life in Silver City.

Raging Thespians, Community Theater, Virus Theater, and the annual, outrageous, 1.98 Show are some of the companies that enjoy entertaining you. Check www.visitsilvercity.org for schedules.

Silver City loves Festivals. The largest is the week-long Clay Festival that just completed its 10th year. Each year is different but always has a mix of exhibits, workshops, lectures, tours, clay market, and a juried International Clay Exhibition. The Clay Festival appeals to both art lovers and artists and is generally held in July. www.clayfestival.com

Silver City Print Fiesta invites printmakers from all over to participate in a giant outdoor street market. A special attraction of the print Festival is Steam Roller printing in the street. Artists use plywood to make a large woodblock printing plate. After ink is applied, an appropriately sized sheet of paper is placed on the carved plate, a heavy felt blanket over that, and then the whole thing is run over by a steam roller to transfer the ink to the paper. People cheer when the paper is lifted off and the print design is exposed. This year the Print Fiesta coincides with the RED DOT ARTWALK weekend. The Oct. 9-10 Silver City weekend is sure to satisfy any art lover.  www.southwestprintfiesta.org 

In Silver City visit the WNMU museum devoted to the preservation and study of pottery made by the Mimbres Culture Indians who lived in what is now Silver City and surrounding areas from about 200–1450 AD.

Also visit the Silver City Museum dedicated to the history of the area landscape, events, and people.

In keeping with the designation of being one of the 100 Best Art Towns, the Southwest Regional Museum of Art and Art Center has been organized and is in the process of development in Silver City with American art the focus of its permanent collection.

Join us in celebrating and appreciating the arts in Silver City, NM.

Go to www.visitsilvercity.org to see additional events and festivals/fiestas. 

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at www.ArtistVictoriaChick.com 

Artist Victoria Chick


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