Four Reasons to Support Local Art

Bead artist Mary Ellen Merrigan outside her Sandia Heights Studio

The Ninth Annual Sandia Heights Art Tour takes place 10am – .5pm September 8-9, 2012.

A loosely knit collective, Sandia Heights Artists, SHA, traditionally open their studios to the public two days annually to promote the appreciation of art. As SHA president, my goal is to help expand this year’s outreach.

I spoke to the Sandia Heights Homeowners Association board recently and listed four reasons to support the tour.

  • Artists add to the unique character of the area.

Not only do artists define their own studios with their work, they contribute to the community character. From a simple entry-way enhancement to a garden display, participant creativity must be seen to be enjoyed.

In touring studios, I’m especially appreciative of welcoming touches. I can spot ceramic artist Carol Kaleko’s house by looking for her hand-built vessels near her front gate. Marta Burckley’s garden provides a beautiful showcase for her gourds and fabric baskets. Last year, acrylic painter Terry Matthews, lined a huge backyard fence with his art in 2011; many visitors to my studio, talked about this display and how it increased their ability to appreciate the number of pieces he included.

  • The tour promotes appreciation of art.

In a fast-paced world, it’s easy to by-pass by beauty. Painters Barbara Nahler, Judi Foster, Toni Seidel, and Deborah Mueller remind us to see our world through different eyes. For example, in our ever-present desert, Ann Connely’s New Mexico thunderstorm draws our attention to water in a different way.

Photographer Al Toepfer uses a camera lens to refocus our eyes.

©2012 Alan Toepfer Fine Art, Sandia Heights

  • You meet neighbors during an art tour.

I met many people from the neighborhood last year. The support from my community increased my commitment to it. That was one of the catalysts for me to serve as this year’s SHA president.

Getting to better know my fellow artists is another benefit. To that end, I’ve exchanged recommendations with fellow jewelry aficionados, Lorraine Long, Gloria Abeyta and Susan Wyngaard. I’ve listened as artist Frank Long discussed materials with John Vogel, who turns functional and artistic objects from exotic woods.

I’m amazed and grateful for the camaraderie art generates in my life.

  • Buy local and support local artists during an art tour.

Carol Erickson’s handmade books and journals made great gifts for my friends as did Lynda Burch’s water media pieces. In addition to buying local, a great sense of community emerges when you talk local.

During last year’s tour my husband and I discussed brands of fans, carpenter recommendations and other specifics with some of our neighbors. The commonality in our art conversations was just that: art.

These are but four reasons Add my studio (Mary Ellen Merrigan) and the artists listed in bold,and there are 17 more reasons to support the Sandia Heights Art Tour.

Save the dates: September 8 & 9, 2012.

Will you be part of our tour this year?