Las Vegas NM Community Foundation

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about how businesses, nonprofits and event planners are navigating the future post-COVID 19. Partial reopening is a first step, and there is no predicting the future should there be a resurgence of corona virus. Responses to these questions are from Elmo Baca, president of the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation.


Community Foundation

The Foundation and Its Mission

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation was founded in January 2017 by Bob Mishler along with founding board members Felix Alderete, Elmo Baca, Cindy Collins, Doyle Daves, Bill Hendrickson, Donna Rivas, Jennifer Sanchez and Max Trujillo. Founding volunteer Jean Hill assisted with non-profit by laws and designation. The Las Vegas Foundation is a 501©(3) charitable organization created to support philanthropic giving for non-profit organizations in Las Vegas and the immediate region, including Mora County. The Las Vegas Foundation is an affiliate and partner of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, where Las Vegas Community Foundation funds are currently invested, ensuring the highest fiscal and programmatic integrity to its work. The mission of the Las Vegas Foundation is simply “Help Las Vegas Thrive.”

How has COVID-19 had an impact on the Foundation?

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact in a few critical ways. After the state effectively closed businesses and other public venues in late March, the Board of Directors decided to postpone the “Chili Challenge” annual fundraising reception which was scheduled for April 30. Last year the Chili Challenge (so called because a chili pepper icon is used as a measuring gauge for donations) was well-attended by community members and raised over $17,000 to benefit the community. At this date the Chili Challenge event has not been rescheduled due to the continuing restrictions on public gatherings in New Mexico. After the serious economic impacts of the pandemic have mounted, the Foundation created an Emergency Grant Fund to provide support to local humanitarian nonprofit organizations, such as soup kitchens, health and community centers, and family assistance groups. The Las Vegas Foundation has had two rounds of grant making since April funding a dozen local non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, Mora and Villanueva with $10,125 in grants. The Foundation is prepared to consider future rounds of emergency grants as the pandemic continues to impact the community.

Bob Mishler’s Legacy

Bob MishlerThe sudden passing of founder Bob Mishler on May 24 was a tragic event that has affected the entire community, as Bob was involved in many projects and organizations. Bob had a great interest in people, their histories and social fabric. He was involved in historic preservation projects for nearly 50 years after his family moved here from Colorado in the late 1970s. He served for many years as Chairman of the City’s Design Review Board, Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the Las Vegas Museum. Bob saw the need for Las Vegas to have a community foundation that could create an endowment for Las Vegas to support the vital work of nonprofit organizations and also collaborate with city and county governments on essential community projects. Bob worked tirelessly to attract volunteers and board members to the Foundation, raise funds, and provide its guiding vision. He was active in a review of an Emergency grant application on the day of his passing.

Eligible Grantees

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation provides modest grants to local nonprofit organizations in good standing (properly filed corporate reports and tax forms). Eligible nonprofit organizations must serve the people of San Miguel and Mora Counties, be nondiscriminatory in staffing and services, and be at least one year old. The Foundation can’t contribute to capital campaigns or endowments, individuals, private school tuition assistance, religious projects or scholarships. The funding categories include Arts and Culture, Community Development, Cultural and Historic Preservation, Education, Health Care and Natural Conservation.

Application Process

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation has offered grants to nonprofits for the past two years and is expecting its third annual cycle beginning in September with a public announcement of grant availability. Grant applications are available by emailing info@lvnmcf.org . We also notify nonprofit organizations directly via email of our grants program. Grant applications are due in mid-October, with announcement of awards in December. Funds are provided in early January. Also, as noted above, the Foundation may create emergency or project grant cycles at its discretion. Interested groups may see our website at www.lvnmcf.com, contact a Board Member or contact our Administrative Coordinator Linda Anderle at info@lvnmcf.org. Correspondence and donations may also be mailed to LVNMCF, P.O. Box 1002, Las Vegas NM 87701.

Fund Raising Campaigns

With Bob Mishler’s sudden passing on May 24, the Board of Directors has established two Bob Mishler Memorial Funds in his memory. The Bob Mishler Memorial Fund is a general donation fund with a primary purpose of building the endowment, as Bob had wished. The second fund is called the Bob Mishler Memorial Clock Fund. Bob rescued the historic Gordon’s Jewelers cast iron street clock, which stood on Douglas Avenue near the corner of Sixth Street for decades. After the passing of longtime owner Calvin Baker, the iconic street clock fell into disrepair. Bob bought the clock with the intention of restoring it. Bob had nearly finished the project when he passed. The Board of Directors have recognized the clock project as a fitting symbol for Bob’s community service and his philanthropy. The Clock Fund will provide the financial support to restore the clock and reinstall it. The Clock Fund will also create a “Pillars of the Community” Award program to honor deserving individuals who have made significant contributions to the community.

The Board of Directors is also considering Donor advised funds whereby generous individuals or families may support projects and programs of particular interest such as the arts or health care for example. Legacy gifts of property, financial equities, and other items of value to benefit the community are also encouraged. Donations may be made at www.lvnmcf.com and also through the Santa Fe Community Foundation by inquiring about the Greater Las Vegas Fund.


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

Sculpture inspires song

Memorial - American Gold Star Mothers

I wrote an article in the Las Vegas Optic entitled Local artist creates AGSM tribute sculpture, which ran in the Aug. 30 edition. With permission, I am posting here the poster created to commemorate the dedication of Duke Sundt’s sculpture along with a link to a video about the song written by singer/songwriter Randy Huston. The You Tube video has commentary from the artists and Randy singing the song. Enjoy.


 

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My town

My town is people
who care about each other
and the future,
integrity and hospitality,
creative energy.
My town
has dedicated entrepreneurs,
some just starting out,
some stalwart and foundational
to my town.
Some struggle,
some thrive,
some have hope,
some have drive.
My town
looks to the future,
plans for tomorrow,
lives today with anticipation.
Many hands
work to make better
what is already pretty great –
My Town.



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Is there a ghost in the house?

Find out at the CCHP Places with a Past Tour Aug. 5

The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation Places with a Past Historic Homes and Buildings Tour returns on Aug. 5, with haunting recall of lore and legend about ghosts flitting here and there. Visit Montezuma Castle (United World College), the Plaza Hotel, the Castañeda or some of the legendary homes around town and you will be amazed and delighted by the mystery in the history.

Do I believe in ghosts? I reserve judgment since years ago I lived in a spirited house in town. I say spirited because it was not haunted in the sense that something weird lived there. Quite the contrary. It did not appear as a ghostly apparition, but as a bright light flashing just on the periphery of vision. The spirit could be almost seen day or night. I thought of it more like an angel watching over me. I won’t tell you where the house is, but I hope the people who live there now appreciate that friendly spirit as much as I did.

Kathy HendricksonGhost Stories is the brain child of tour guide and owner of Southwest Detours, Kathy Hendrickson, who is also a CCHP board member. From whence did this idea spring? This Q&A with Kathy reveals the story behind her ghostly vision.

ORP: PWAP has been the major fundraiser for CCHP for many years. Talk about the challenge of making old ideas new again so you not only have new visitors but return visitors as well.
Kathy: This is my fifth year as Chairperson for the PWAP Tour and every year is a challenge to think of a new idea for the tour. There are so many events going on this time of year, it is a challenge to bring visitors to our town. I have been thinking of this ghost theme for awhile, mainly because I have heard so many folks talk about ghosts here. In fact, as soon as we bought our old Victorian, the former tenants told me that we have a female ghost living on our 3rd floor, thus the reason my house is on the tour!

ORP: Why did you select this theme?
Kathy: Ghosts stories seem to appeal to everyone, even when you say you don’t believe. Las Vegas was the “Wild West” and if you read about the history, there were hangings on our lovely Plaza, thus there must be ghostly spirits around.

ORP: How many homes and properties are on the tour this year?
Kathy: There are nine places on the tour this year. Four beautiful Victorians and five historic buildings, all with interesting tales of restless souls.

Ghost in the houseORP: Since the theme is ghostly, how did you go about selecting properties?
Kathy: Well, for one, my home has a ghost story, so that was a no brainer. I had heard ghost stories about the other properties I chose for the tour. Luckily the owners agreed to open their homes and buildings for the tour. And I only selected properties that have friendly spirits.

ORP: The popular sites are the United World College, fondly known as Montezuma Castle, the Castañeda and the Plaza Hotel, all of which host ghosts. What home properties and stories surprised you when you were putting the tour together?
Kathy: I don’t want to give the stories away, but there is one home on the tour in particular that has a very active ghost within. I had heard there was a ghost in this home and that two previous owners had moved because of the apparition, but after listening to the current homeowner tell her personal experiences with the spirit, it raised the hairs on my arm.

ORP: What reactions have you received about the theme of this year’s tour?
Kathy: I was surprised to find out how many folks are interested in spirits and ghostly tales. Even if you don’t believe, you are curious to hear the stories.

ORP: What is the most intriguing ghost story you’ve heard while putting the tour together?
Kathy: Not to give anything away, but in one of the homes, a ghost tucks the owners’ daughter in bed at night.

ORP: Have you ever seen a ghost?
Kathy: I was never a believer in ghosts, but now I am rethinking everything. After we bought our old Victorian, I heard many noises at night, and thought I saw someone in our room one evening. I always came up with a logical reason for hearing or seeing something. Now, after doing the ghost research, I’m not sure.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about the Ghost Stories tour?
Kathy: Even if you are afraid to be afraid, or don’t believe in ghostly spirits, you will enjoy exploring some beautiful historic homes and buildings and hearing about their histories. We will also have a special added attraction to the tour this year. The Ghost Paranormal Investigators team will be present to do two demonstrations during the day, and show folks how they investigate the paranormal phenomena of a haunted building. This husband and wife team have been featured on the Travel Channel Ghost Adventurers Show.

ORP: Have you had success recruiting docents for this ghostly adventure, and how are you preparing them to keep the ghosts at bay while revealing their secrets?
Kathy: This is the first time the CCHP has ever had a Ghost Story themed tour. I think the docents are excited about doing something new and fun. Hopefully the ghosts will enjoy being shown off, too. The Las Vegas Harvey Girls and Fred will be the docents at the Castañeda Hotel. This is for all those Fredheads out there.

ORP: Do you want to name the properties on the tour?
Kathy: I will let folks be surprised to see the places when they purchase a ticket.

What: Ghost Stories, 2017 Places With a Past Historic Homes & Buildings Tour
When: Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Nine selected properties
Cost: $25 per person
Tickets: CCHP, 116 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM
Phone: 505-425-8803
Website: www.lvcchp.org

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Photo Kathy Hendrickson, Fred Harvey/Mary Colter Fan Club
Photo at Castañeda, Martha Johnsen

 

Painting With Brush Strokes & Words

Dwelling PlaceNew Mexico award winning artist, Linda Wooten-Green is a painter of Landscapes, Portraits, etc., with a contemporary abstracted point of view. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the United States.

She received an MS in Art Education from Wayne State University in Wayne, Nebraska. She has done graduate work in Studio Art, Art History, and Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Minnesota, Duluth, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Hartwick College, New York. She received a BFA from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

She was an Art Teacher, Chairperson of the Fine & Performing Arts at West Point Public Schools in West Point, Nebraska for 17 years, and has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibits throughout the country for 36 years. Bio provided by the artist

Q. You have two quotes on your website about landscape and the earth. Talk about how and why you are influenced/inspired by natural settings.
A.
The primary purpose of my landscape work is to give homage to the places and spaces in which we dwell. As much as I like people, and the excitement of city life, there is a very real desire in me for solitude and the need to feel a kind of kinship with the natural landscape. Using paint, I delight in exploring movement, shape, pattern, form, and color in nature amid seasonal changes.

For example, a twisted, somewhat deformed cottonwood tree (featured image) becomes a metaphor for the struggle to live, survive and offer shade and shelter to a myriad of living species. My layers of painted, scrubbed, and glazed surfaces express my own explorations in rendering what this painted living object might evoke emotionally, spiritually, and aesthetically. My personal search for meaning uses the creative processes inherent in making paintings that allow me to explore who I am, what I mean, and what I feel.

We are the landscape of all we have seen. (Isamu Noguche)

If I pollute the earth, the land, the water, etc., either personally or through corporate collusion, I ultimately destroy healthy life on this planet for myself and future generations.

Q. When did you decide to become and artist, or is it a calling?
A.
I wanted to be an artist from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil or a crayon. I’ve always liked to draw. I looked forward to Friday afternoon “art” class in the 1st Grade. Poetry and literature were areas of study I’ve treasured as well. Words portray imagery through the mind’s eye.

I can truly claim that I have done “art” at some level throughout my life. For nearly 20 years, I taught art (history and processes) at the junior and senior high levels, as well as at adult level workshops. If one chooses to respond to an inner need in a visual manner, then I believe that one is “called” to do so.

Q. I noticed you have poetry paired with some of your paintings. Talk about why and how words and art express emotions in different but complimentary ways.
A.
Most days, I spend time in my studio working on paintings or projects. Recent autumn trips to Bosque del Apache in Southern New Mexico became an inspiration for new paintings, as well as the enjoyment and appreciation of unusual yucca plant forms in a friend’s garden. The discovery of a fishing lake near Albuquerque led to the appreciation of exquisite water lilies that danced across the water like spiraling ballerinas on reflective surfaces. I use tools at my disposal: oil pastels, charcoal, and cameras to record via plein aire, and through photograph images used to inspire creative work. I continually read about both historical and contemporary art and artists.

An example: Looking southwest from my studio window, I contemplate the olive tree bordering the acequia and the empty field beyond.

Dwelling Place

 The ancient Olive tree stands sentry
a minutes march from my studio window.
Its gray green branches reflect myriad glints
of bronze and silver,
as light changes course across the arc of the day.
Whitened limbs bend and bow,
breezes play with flickering leaves.
The tree’s sturdy rootedness and easy flexibility
amid wind shifts and weather changes
leave daily grace notes —
reminders of my aging body
within nature’s landscapes.
The tree’s shapes and patterns and range of motion
offer an edge of awed silence
and wonder at movement and form —
A sense of sacred presence.
A Dwelling Place.

Linda Wooten-Green

The tree becomes a metaphor for my own aging body and in turn a deeper appreciation for the gift of life, at any age. The painting of the same tree is an abstracted way, though inspired by the olive tree, gives way to a kind of metaphoric sunset experience. The tree inspires word with an emotional twinge with references to age, flexibility, and weather changes, as well as being a metaphor for my own feelings.

The painting of the tree suggests, hopefully, the sunset time of life, silver flickering leaves in changing life situations with light and color.

Q. What artists do you most identify with and why?
A.
I admire and appreciate the work of so many artists, both historically and in contemporary life, that I hesitate to name them. The “breakthrough” work of Paul Cezanne and his recognition and response to patterned forms in his Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings; the impressionistic landscape work of Claude Monet; the early 20th Century work of Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield; the abstracted landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn, and the landscapes of Fairfield Porter.

Q. What’s your strongest memory of your childhood that shaped you as an artist?
A.
I treasure the gentle support of both my parents. My mother loved to see me sitting at the dining room table working on drawings. I also recall a large print above the living room sofa of a pastoral rural scene featuring grazing cows in a serene setting. I could look at the scene and create an imaginary narrative about it.

Q. What do you most want people to know about you as an artist?
A.
I want people to appreciate the beauty, health, and fragile sustainability of the earth as a living organism. If one truly loves the land, and that which grows and depends on the land for survival, then anything that poisons the land, renders and threatens animal life toward extinction, should not be tolerated.

Q. If you could go anywhere and paint anything, what would you choose, and why?
A.
If I could go anywhere and paint anything? What a difficult question! At present, I would hope to visit and spend time working in Costa Rica, and perhaps Ecuador, for the sheer multitude of temperate zones and array of wildlife dependent on the zones available in those countries.

Q. You will have a show at the Plaza April 1-May 31. How do you select pieces from your body of work when you mount an exhibit?
A.
The Plaza show at present is in the vestibule bordering the ballroom: April 1-May 31. The work in this exhibit represents scenes of abstracted landscapes of the Southwest. The pieces are generally done as part of a series in a similar style and motif.

Q. What are you most proud of as an artist, and why?
A.
In 2001-2002, I painted a series of rural images in the Midwest area (Iowa/Nebraska) that represented areas of the landscape suffering from the Farm Crisis. My husband Ron (a writer) had been working on a well-researched manuscript dealing with chemical contamination of water and soil, connecting this practice with the eventual sickness and death of young women diagnosed with cancer.

My work for this project consisted of about a dozen rural scenes. The images were interspersed with my husband’s narratives from his manuscript on the subject. The exhibit was featured at several galleries and health center in the Midwest. It was also featured through the Nebraska Arts Council at the Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska for a month.

The exhibit at the Plaza Hotel is an open venue available for viewing throughout the day. For more information about the artist and her work go to http://www.lindawootengreen.com

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The exhibits at the Plaza are part of the Las Vegas Arts Council and Plaza Hotel ongoing partnership to support and promote the arts and artists of Las Vegas and the area.

Las Vegas, New Mexico Acrostic Poem

Las Vegas Acrostic

Las Vegas, New Mexico

Lilacs in spring make your heart sing.
Art in the park? Oh what a lark!
Silvery river, lovely life giver.

Vegas town is New Mexico’s crown.
Enchantingly pretty, this little city
Gracious and kind, a place to unwind.
Architectural treasures, historical measures –
So proud of this place, with its charm and its grace.

New fallen rain, greens up the plain
Expands to the rills, and touches the hills.
Water comes down and brings joy all around.

Melding shades, in shadows fade
Engages God’s brush to enhance nature’s flush.
Xanthic hues are mixed in with blues
Indigo furls into mauve perfect curls
Colors the sky and makes your heart sigh.
Oh, how sublime, it is Las Vegas, New Mexico time.

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The beauty of Las Vegas, New Mexico captured

Sunrise Las Vegas, NM
Sunrise Las Vegas, NM

The beauty of Las Vegas, New Mexico captured, looks like a fabulous group to be a part of. I happened on the site by accident and found some amazing photos – new and old – of my favorite town, and the place where I live.

I am inclined to wax – if not poetic – at least positive about this quaint and sometimes perplexing little city in Northern New Mexico. I’ve been here most of the last 40 years and been involved in community in one way or another much of that time. Despite being in a downward population trend, I still believe Las Vegas and San Miguel County have the potential for prosperity for all, and planned growth that will enhance opportunity.

The beauty of Las Vegas, New Mexico captured, reminds us of what an intriguing and beautiful town this is. Thanks to whoever got it started and to all of the people who post on it regularly.

The photo here does not appear on the site, but it is a Las Vegas, NM photo taken in early fall 2014 by me.

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More than NM True: The Real Las Vegas, 5 Cool Things

I love New Mexico, from its mountains in the north to its deserts in the south. I love the mix of cultures and variety of recreational and cultural activities. My favorite place is Las Vegas, in the rural county of San Miguel. Things are happening here. Walk down Bridge Street, and you feel the vibrancy and energy. Take a peek inside the Plaza Hotel, a graceful reminder of days gone by yet full of modern amenities.

Check out Charlie’s Bakery and Cafe on Douglas Avenue and see just about everyone you know. Take a trip down 7th going toward Storrie Lake, and you will see new construction popping up. Don’t forget to give the Railroad district a once over. You will be back. The railroad era Castenada hotel and Fred Harvey dining room is under restoration. You might even get a glimpse of a Harvey Girl giving tours or making a stop at events around town, or around the state. Here are just five of many reasons to love this Northern New Mexico town.

Las Vegas City Museum and Rough Rider Memorial
Room in the city museum

The City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection opened in 1961 as a unit of the City of Las Vegas. The Museum is housed in the historic Municipal Building, a 1940 Works Progress Administration project. The museum collection includes more than 7,000 items relating to the heritage of the Las Vegas area. Many items may be viewed through an on-line collection catalog. The Museum offers educational opportunities through classroom visits and activities. Entertaining and informative programs for all ages are offered throughout the year. (From Museum website.)

Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation: “The Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation was formed in 1977 to encourage the preservation and appreciation of Las Vegas and San Miguel County historic resources. Established by land grant in 1835, Las Vegas was originally called Nuestra Senora de Los Delores de Las Vegas Grandes (Our Lady of the Sorrows of the Great Meadows). The history of Las Vegas is influenced not only by many different cultures, but also by two major forms of transportation. As a major trading point on the Santa Fe Trail, Las Vegas became a prosperous Spanish town with a wide variety of adobe structures. As trade on the trail increased, so did the variety of settlers and architecture in the town. The arrival of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad saw a further increase of new residents many of whom built Victorian houses reminiscent of their homes in the East. While the Victorian residents are quite a surprise to visitors, used to the Pueblo revival of Santa Fe, it is the combination of the indigenous adobe architecture and the variety of Victorian architecture that makes Las Vegas unique.” (From the CCHP website)

fiesta dancers
Fiesta Dancers in Las Vegas, NM

Annually in August CCHP puts on a Places With a Past tour that features six to ten properties more than 100 years old, many of which have been restored and are currently occupied. A favorite on the tour is the Montezuma Castle, now part of the United World College. CCHP also conducts other historic events throughout the year. For details contact CCHP at 505 425-8803. Also see the site’s photo tours to get an idea of what PWAP tours might consist of.

Fiestas is a 4th of July celebration combined with Hispanic cultural events. This year it kicks off on Friday, July 3. The parade on Saturday highlights a day filled with music and dancing at the Plaza. Food vendors, presentations and down home fun for the entire family. Events and music continue throughout the day on the 5th. There are 5 and 10 K races and events for children. It’s not too early to think about summer fun.

Nuestra Senora de los Dolores
Nuestra Senora de los Dolores by Margarito Mondragon

Artists and their work. I am amazed at the degree of talent we have in Northern New Mexico. Is it because the clear skies and beautiful landscapes are irresistible magnets for creative spirits? Is it because we have so many galleries? Does Highlands’s art department contribute by providing exhibit space at the Ray Drew Gallery, in Burris Hall and at other sites around campus? Perhaps it is the town and it’s eclectic character. Whatever it is, Las Vegas and San Miguel County rival any other “arts” community in the state with the number of outstanding artists and craftspeople working in a variety of media. Public art is popping up, folk art and sculptures and murals, all depicting some aspect of life in all its complexity.

And then there are the wonderful, kind and hospitable folks who live here. Jim Terr, a creative fireball, recorded this at Charlie’s Bakery and Cafe on Douglas Avenue. Goodness Knows, Goodness Shows.These are only five wonderful reasons I love my town. There are many more. Add yours to the comments section. And if you agree with me, share this post.

Goodness Knows, Goodness Shows