Organizers striving to put new face on quarterly events

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FARMINGTON — Since taking over as one of the organizers of the quarterly art walks in downtown Farmington, local gallery owner and artist Karen Ellsbury says there is one complaint about the events she hears routinely.

"We're just seeing the same stuff over and over, the same people," Ellsbury said many people have told her.

With that thought in mind, Ellsbury has set out to inject some new life into the Spring Art Walk planned for 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at more than 20 businesses in the downtown district. More than 35 artists are scheduled to take part, and Ellsbury promised there would be several new faces — emerging artists, as she put it — to give the event a different flavor.

"We are doing our best to bring some new people in," she said. "We want to mix it up a little."

In addition to featuring the encaustic art of veteran local Navajo artist Michael Billie, Ellsbury's Studio 116 at 116 W. Main St. will feature several other guest artists, many of whom produce contemporary Native art or outdoor art such as sculpture or wind chimes. The list includes Tami Cottrell, Gil Scott, Charles Crispin and Veronica Negale.

Ellsbury said the pocket park behind her gallery will be open and will feature live music and beverages by Wines of the San Juan.

Another new look for the art walk will be the grand opening of the ArrowSoul Trading Post at 307 W. Main St. The business opened approximately a month ago, but Friday's event will be its coming-out party, and owner Lucas Paul said he has some special things planned with live music by hip-hop artists and live painting demonstrations in the courtyard in back.

"Hopefully, we'll have good weather, so we can have it going," Paul said.

Other participating galleries include the Artifacts Gallery at 302 E. Main St., which will be opening a theme show of works in a 12-inch-by-12-inch format; and the Three Rivers Art Center, 123 W. Main St., which will showcase the work of its members and featured artist Tamera Penny. The Museum of Navajo Art and Culture, 301 W. Main St., will feature the fashions of designer Jolonzo Goldtooth and the work of Helena George and family. The Wal Art Gallery, 422 W. Main St., will display the work of Susan Burns and Becky Lukow.

A postcard featuring a map of participating galleries and businesses for the Spring Art Walk can be obtained at any participating entity. Call 505-801-5889.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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