Moveable Art…

On one of our daily walks about three years ago, my wife and I discovered some spectacular artwork on the side of an arroyo just east of the New Mexico State University golf course.

Images of various animals, reptiles, birds and insects were created out of rocks, tiles, glass and other materials were displayed in a truly creative menagerie where you wouldn’t expect to find it.

The artwork was done by Las Cruces artist Kathy Morrow who started the project in January of 2017 while walking her dog along the top of the Tortugas Dam. She discovered that someone had started lining the top of the dam with a small different colored rocks. She took the rock artwork a step further and began creating her designs on the side of the arroyo and the dam.

Fast forward to 2022, when the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, which owns the Tortugas Dam, announced it was planning to upgrade the structure. That meant that Morrow’s work would likely be erased in the process.

She spent much of last year dismantling what she had created and is now moving it — along with some new creations — to the side of a hill just south of the NMSU golf course clubhouse. NMSU, which owns the land, has given its approval for creation of the new art project. Morrow has several volunteers now helping her with the project. The work involves haling large buckets of heavy rock and other materials so it can be placed on the side of the hill.

In an article in a recent Las Cruces Bulletin, Morrow explains that because of the shallow slope of her new hillside “canvas,” she has to consider the perspective from where the work will be seen and distort the images to be wider on top so they look more natural when viewed.

Kathy Morrow’s new artwork project underway just south of the NMSU golf course clubhouse. Note workers on the side of the hill.

I’m glad she has agreed to move her artwork to be seen by more people. However, one of the things that made her original project so great was that it was completely unexpected when you stumbled upon it as you walked through the desert.

If you’re interest in learning more about the project, or want to help with donations to help complete it, you can go to her website below:

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