Sierra County is home to an extraordinary and eccentric group of painters, photographers, fiber artists, musicians, and artisans. Traditional arts and crafts flourish alongside cutting-edge contemporary art, creating a lively creative environment.
Artist Residencies and Retreats in Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte offer lodging and studio space for those who might want to steep in the creative atmosphere for a while and crank out some work.
Works by local painter Delmas Howe are on view at the Geronimo Springs Museum, as well as at Rio Bravo Fine Art Gallery, the largest venue in the county, which was founded in 1999 by contemporary artist Harold Joe Waldrum (1934-2003). Howe’s colorful flower murals also adorn the exterior of the Truth or Consequences Civic Center.
Other artists make and show their work in studios and galleries around the county, and local art is the primary focus of Truth or Consequences‘ Second Saturday Art Hop, held monthly in the downtown’s easily walkable Hot Springs Bathhouse Historic and Commercial District.
Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.
“New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails: A Guide to Rural Fiber Arts Destinations,” published by New Mexico Arts in ’07, recommends several local sites for fiber art. See the New Mexico Fiber Arts Trail Southern Loop for more info, or read an article on the trail that was published in Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot Magazine.
Several craft fairs occur annually, and work by artists of every variety, and from all age groups, is shown at the Sierra County Fair every October. Many quilts can be seen at the fair, but to see more than a hundred at once, from brand new to antique, visit during the Annual Gathering of Quilts each February at Ralph Edwards Auditorium.
Artists’ and artisans’ handiwork is offered every December at various holiday events, most notably Hillsboro’s Christmas in the Foothills, with its legendary $49.99 Sale, an event that provides visitors an opportunity to acquire original artworks for less—sometimes far less—than market value.
Local book signings, book fairs, and poetry readings show off the talents of local writers. Workshops in straw bale construction and other natural building methods are offered as well, usually in Kingston.
Painting, drawing, and sculpture classes are offered from time to time at galleries and studios in Hillsboro and Truth or Consequences.
For more information on upcoming or current exhibits, art instruction courses, craft fairs, book signings, artist talks, and more, see SierraCountyEvents.com.
Information on many of Sierra County’s artists can be found on the Sierra County Arts Council website.