Artists from all over region will be offering demonstrations

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FARMINGTON — Visitors to the annual Downtown Holiday Art Stroll and Art Walk this weekend in downtown Farmington will have the chance not only to peruse the work of an esteemed group of Native artists, but to watch them in action.

The Downtown Native Holiday Market taking place at 215 W. Main St. will feature more than a dozen artists, all of them well known throughout the Four Corners area. The list includes Jerrel Singer, Eugene Joe, James Joe, Barbara Morgan, Baje Whitethorne, Gloria Emerson, Roy Hosteen, Ambrose Teasyatwho, Sally Black, Gilmore Scott, Bob Lansing, Tim Washburn, Jonathan Curley, Zefren Anderson, Daryl Begaye and Garrett Kayonnie.

Event organizer Michael Billie said the market will showcase the best of Native artistic talent in the Four Corners area.

"We've got artists coming in from Flagstaff, Colorado, Utah and Shiprock," he said. "There will be a lot of heavy hitters."

Operating under the auspices of the N.A.T.I.V.E. Project at Capacity Builders Inc., Billie received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to stage the market for the second time. He knew that, given the number of artists participating and the space that would be required to showcase their work, his options were limited in terms of finding a location.

Fortunately, he said, the owners of the vacant storefront at 215 W. Main St. – Dean Taylor, Sabrina Taylor and Alan Taylor – donated their space for the night, and Billie quickly set about recruiting artists for the show.

"Once I started calling, I got a yes from everybody," he said, explaining that the participating artists work in various media, including traditional and contemporary painting, silversmithing, pottery, weaving, dollmaking, petroglyphs and working with recycled products.

Billie, an encaustic artist whose work is featured in galleries throughout New Mexico and Arizona, also will be displaying his own work.

"I wasn't planning on it, but I got talked into it," he said.

Billie believes the market will offer exceptional quality and quantity of Native work, the likes of which local audiences don't see very often.

"In Farmington, this is really unusual," he said. "The only time it really happens is during the Totah Festival. But this is going to be more intimate."

Visitors will have the chance not only to browse through the work, but watch many of the artists as they craft new pieces in live demonstrations and interact with them. Additionally, there will be Navajo tacos for sale.

The Holiday Art Stroll also will feature special offerings at galleries all over downtown. Studio 116 at 116 W. Main St. will stage its own holiday market in the pocket park behind the gallery. The work of its featured artists will be displayed in tents, and children will be able to get their photo taken with Santa Claus. There also will be free refreshments, a children's art table and lots of artistic stocking stuffers for sale, owner Karen Ellsbury said.

The Artifacts Gallery at 302 E. Main St. will host two shows. Durango, Colorado, artist Patrice De Lorenzo will display her meditative landscape paintings, consisting of approximately 25 pieces. The gallery also will feature the group show "Surprise Package," which includes the work of approximately a dozen artists in various media.

Owner Bev Taylor said when she came up with the title for the show, she envisioned it having a Christmas theme. But that notion apparently wasn't shared by the artists who responded to her call for entries, she noted.

"It doesn't matter what I was thinking, because that's not what we got," she said. "That's not what the artists were thinking."

Artifacts will feature live music Saturday night, and Taylor said the gallery's bake shop will be open.

The event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday in downtown Farmington as part of the Small Business Saturday activities.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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