Monday, May 6, 2013

More Revealed Truth on the Road to Raton

Teeth of Time by J. Binford-Bell

I drove to Raton again on May 1st and it was a dazzling spring day. But it was clearly evident, if by spring we mean the bursting forth of buds and flowers, that spring was very late. Delayed by cold or drought? Or are our definitions getting in the way?

Time as we mark it on calendars is arbitrary. There have been many changes in calendars that have governed our lives, and by the Mayan Calendar, some say, we should not be here. Spring or the lack there of and a recent experiences in Raton and Trinidad had gotten me thinking about definitions, and boundaries, and divisions.

I had just picked up my paintings from the New Mexico Women Artists Show in Raton. The Old Pass Gallery it seems wants to put the focus back on local artists. And that got me thinking of the definition of the adjective Local. How would you define it? One source says "Belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood, typically exclusively so . . ." This leaves you to define that particular area or neighborhood. Clearly the title New Mexico Women Artists Show defined that area as New Mexico. And yet there seemed to be an issue with the Santa Fe artist that had entered.

But not all shows are as clearly defined. I was urged to put my paintings in the Splash exhibit of the Trinidad Area Arts Council. But I and non-Taos artists are excluded from entering show in Taos which is 25 miles from me. It is in a different county but Trinidad is in a different state. Trinidad is 21 miles from Raton but artists there, who enter Old Pass Gallery shows constantly could not meet the criteria of New Mexico.

The employee at the Old Pass conjectured they meant Colfax County by local. And certainly not Kansas City or Ocate. I used to live in Kansas City but my major complaint was the assumption that I would be purged from their mailing list because my rural post office is in Mora county while I live in Colfax. And restricting it to Colfax County would eliminate their neighbor Trinidad.

I am probably looking most closely at this because of membership request I had just received through my Ocate address. The membership fees have gone up in the three years I have belonged to Raton Arts and Humanities Council. But they have added the bonus of having most of their entry fees halved if I am a member. But am I being asked to become a member of an organization that will excluded me from entering exhibits? Will I not get any of those 50% off bonuses as a member because I do not fit their criteria of Local? Can I or can't I enter the October Local Artist's Show?

I get that not every call for entries to a forthcoming exhibit is my cup of tea. And some exhibits do focus on certain subsets like Hispanic Folk Art or Women of New Mexico. But we are a nation it seems that is more and more set on erecting barriers than erasing them. In a global age where I have internet friends from around the world this seems counter productive.

And let us not forget it is a rough landscape for artists and galleries these days. Frankly I think any organization putting out a call for entries should be happy to consider any entries. And realistically not many artists enter shows they have to ship art to. That is just too prohibitive financially. But I do look at opportunities within a radius that I can drive to and from in a day. Shouldn't galleries and organizations be willing to consider my art too? And from an artist standpoint this networking raises the bar and my game as it were. It enriches the art in the exhibit too.

Realistically the season and the weather and the natural obstacles are more often a boundary for me. And the weather has certainly proved this year how arbitrary that can be.

Entering Cimarron Canyon

Oh, and budget. Available funds can be a major dividing line.


  1. Boundaries seem so arbitrary. When we renovated a house on the eastern shore of Virginia - it was as if we lived in another world. We couldn't get vendors such as Home Depot or Lowes to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel to deliver appliances (a distance of 17-miles one way) - instead we were told to go into Maryland to the closest Home Depot which was 90 miles one way.

    Somehow the 17-mile bridge span put us in another world, even though we were in the same state.

    1. We face that with Lowes and passes. The town of Taos pays a third less in delivery fees than we do on this side of Palo Flechado pass. Someone told me it was the insurance for their drivers. And that could be true with long bridges too. However it can be just an excuse to get more money or in this case to eliminate competition for LOCAL artists.

      Too bad the playing field is not level.

  2. It all sounds very complicated. I would have a problem with restrictions.


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