On this bright morning a cacophony of birds are singing their spring songs just outside my door. This strange little oasis in the high desert along the banks of the Rio Grande is a corridor for migratory birds. The birds are the singing soul of this place. I love the daily excitement of catching glimpses of color and flitting forms and trying to figure out who it is. Someone new or a familiar friend?

Last night I saw a shooting star that spanned the entire northern sky. It began in the eastern sky and the seconds elongated as it skirted the horizon disappearing behind the mountains to the west. I want to follow it west, into the wilderness, but for now the duties of creation and construction call.

Ending Beginning

On Saturday May 13th, 2023 we will have our last Art Hop at 324 Broadway. (Art Hop is an event the Second Saturday of every month in which all the galleries in town are open from 6-9 in the evening). The last show is of Thomas Phillip Laidig's "Catastrophic Geometry" and if you haven't seen it yet and can make it to TorC it is certainly a must!

A group of 12 stone carvings mounted to a wall.
Catastrophic Geometry by Thomas Phillip Laidig

This is a space we have been renting since June of 2012, the life of which has taken on many forms.  As we both enter our 40th year this year (Kyle in January and Jeannie in July) it feels like a poignant time to be reflecting on the evolution of the last ten years and enter into the transformation of what this new space will bring.

The space at 324 Broadway raised us in some ways over the last decade. It taught us how to be community minded and organizers of the arts. It taught us (certainly) the ins and outs of running a gallery and beyond that how to run a business. It taught us that it was possible to live in the middle of nowhere and create our own path.

We have spent much of the last month unpacking this space and moving it into it's new home, it will be an exciting and bittersweet party on Saturday May 13th as we say goodbye to this home and look towards the future.  

A white mannequin wears a necklace of pale blue, purple, turquoise and black semi precious stones in a gallery with marble sculptures on the wall
Veracruz Amethyst, blue chalcedony, Zacatecas turquoise and black tourmaline necklace by Jeannie Ortiz

With the desire to start fresh in our new space and have to move fewer things Jeannie is having a sale on most of her adornment pieces. Most of the necklaces are 15% off. The discount will show up in your cart. You can get to the online store here.

Revel in Art

A man stands in front of a wall with paintings on it.
Kyle in front of his works at Revel in Art

On April 22nd we made a quick trip up to Denver for a Revel in Art Gala Fundraiser Celebration as Kyle had some of his art auctioned off to raise funds for the Revel foundation in Denver.

The Revel organization provides support for adults with autism and this event was specifically aimed at raising funds to help find jobs for these adults:

With your support at REVEL in ART, we raised nearly $200,000 for our REV UP employment program! Because of you, we will be able to develop partnerships with local businesses to address the fact that 85% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. Through this work, REVEL will be able to expand our reach as we continue to break down walls and build partnerships.

This was a super fun night with great people all around. Kyle sold all but one piece during the show and he is so excited to have been able to help raise money for this amazing cause.  

Creativity in Construction

The past six weeks have found us fully engaged in the renovation of our new art space. We have made massive headway and also used 38 gallons of paint. The space is now clean and beautiful and ready to be filled with the creation of art, sharing of knowledge and life.  

We are through the first "phase" of this project - getting it cleaned and painted. The next phases will unfold as we work in the space and decide just what we want to do with this blank canvas - a wall there, a bathroom here. The whirlwind of activity which has been the last six weeks feels refreshing in that way that making old things new again is always amazing.  

We both now see in the very near term working and creating in this space, there is still a long, long list of chores to be done but these are a few hours projects instead of day in and day out 14 hour days.

As this work has been all consuming it's only fitting that this dispatch is all consuming on the photos of this project. So, scroll onward and be entertained!

We finished the upstairs floor which we had just started at the time of our last dispatch. This space will become our studio and gallery, soon filled with looms and easels and decorated with art on the walls.

A floor drum sander sits ready to do good work on a white painted wooden floor.
The start of the sanding.
A wood floor with the first pass of sanding done, about 50 percent of the paint is gone.
Half Sanded
A woman oils a wood floor.
Oil Time
A large room with a freshly sanded wood floor that was then oiled.
The back half of the completed wood floor.
A woman sits on a floor painting individual floor boards white.
Jeannie paints the fingers of the transition zone. We didn't sand the front half of the building as it was covered with mastic from a previous time in it's life when flooring was glued to the floor.
A sanded wood floor fades into a painted wood floor.
The front half is complete! The transition from painted to sanded is perfect!

"Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?"
      -Tom Sawyer from Huckleberry Finn

After finishing the inside we turned our attention to the facade of the building. You will see below the stunning purple glass in the front of the building. This glass can be dated to pre-WW1 as it was manufactured in Germany and in time would turn this purple color. During WW1 it was no longer imported into the United States and after this was no longer produced.

We decided to paint the front white so as to highlight this amazing glass. A future chore is to illuminate the glass from behind so at night it will really glow. In time we will also make a sign-sculpture to fit above the glass, but that will take some time to ponder out just how to do it.

A couple of weeks of whitewashing ensued. The previous owners had freshly painted the building in a staple of Truth or Consequences color schemes which, with its obtuse truquoise, yellow and red, hid the beauty of the antique purple glass panes. Unfortunately they had not caulked before they painted so we went about sanding, caulking and patching every little opening in the front of the building. And then, we painted. A lot.

A long glass lined entry way to a building is freshly painted white over the existing teal.
The first moments of painting the front entry way. Day 1 of many days spent on this task.
An aluminum door mostly stripped of yellow paint.
Stripping yellow paint off the door. 
A woman on top of a ladder holds a paint roller and embarks on painting the top of a building.
Ladder time. This probably was not the safest way to get the job done but we had two people holding the ladder at all times. With a very tall building we have to spend a lot of time up in the air. 
A woman stands on top of a ladder painting the upper edge of a building.
Jeannie is master at the heights. Also, so, so much paint rolling.

The basement of the building recieved it's centenial cleaning in the last few weeks. We stripped off 105 years of grime and then painted, painted, painted the whole thing to bring it back to newish.

This basements space will be home to a number of our art machines and specialized studios: etching press, metalsmithing, pottery, and letterpress to name a few. These areas will also be a community resource as we allow others to use these tools we love but don't use daily. We are planning a program where we do orientation workshops to train people on the usage of this art laboratory afterwhich we allow them to come and use this space to make art.

The basement is also the longterm archive of our artwork and it's very existence inspires us both to make bigger and more experimental objects as now we have a place we can keep them safe.

A woman stands in an empty room pressure washing the ceiling.
Jeannie pressure washes the basement. 100 years of grime goes down to drain.
A man in an empty basement vacuuming the floor.
Kyle's dad with the vacuum. He is the master vacuum-er! You can see the first test paint of the linoleum flooring on the left.
A man stands in an empty building rolling paint on the ceiling.
Kyle rolls paint on the ceiling. This was the beginning of three epic coats of paint.
An empty basement floor gets a fresh coat of paint.
The old linoleum primed for paint! The concrete will be patched in time and it too will be painted.
A floor primed with white paint on the right and painted green on the left.
We strayed from the white for the floor and picked this neat green color. 
A room is filled with an eerie green glow from the basement below.
The green floor with the bright florescent lights causes the camera to go all "nuclear laboratory" look though. We are not sure the green will stay as the final color but for now it's fun.

With the basement clean and painted we started the move from the old gallery to the new gallery. This was days of packing a decades worth of art, displays and other ephemera then making the thankfully short three block trip to the new space.

A large space filled with all sorts of junk.
Our workspace and storage area at 324 Broadway about 1/3 full from where it was in the beginning. 
Two people push a painting rack down a sidewalk.
We had to push this painting rack down the street to the new space. No one even blinked an eye. 
A large basement filled with junk.
There was a lot of chaos at first in the new space as we just piled in our belongings. 
A large basement with many things neatly organized, including a letter press and racks of paintings.
The process of unpacking our art tools in the new space is oh so rewarding - soon it will be organized perfectly and ready to be used to make all manner of interesting objects. Oh the joys of having plenty of space. 

Kyle's Dad Gary has been the MVP of this remodel so far. He spent the month of April helping us with these most unexciting projects. Without his help we would be no where near where we are now, would not have had as much fun and also we would have had to do a lot of the least desireable projects ourselves - which he somehow happily volunteered for.

So please thank Gary for all the help he gave us in this project.

Below you can see his clothes about halfway through the painting!

A pair of pants and shirt laid out on the floor. The clothes are dirty and covered in paint marks.
Kyle's Dad Gary's clothes, halfway through the 38 gallons of paint we used. 

This project has been all consuming for the last six weeks and it is also terrifying to make the decision to buy this space. But then we look out and imagine what the space will become in a blink of the eye and we are humbled and excited for the future.

We are commited to bringing art and art education to as many people in the world as we can and we thank you for joining along virtually in this project even if you are not able to find us in person.

Thank You All!

Two people one sitting and one standing in a door way at sunset overlooking a town.
Sunset after a long day. This door is on the second story way up in the air and will someday be a balcony. For now it's a scary place to stand and look out at an amazing view of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Four men ride horseback, in white shirts, chaps and white cowboy hats, down the Main Street of a small town on a blue sky day
Finished painting the front just in time for Truth or Consequence's annual Fiesta! The El Paso sherrif's posse rolling down Main street with their ponies.