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In-person learning returns as Arts Council hosts Career Art Paths for middle schoolers


After a hiatus in 2020 due to Covid-19, Doña Ana Arts Council (DAAC) returned to in-person summer art camps in 2021.

The first camp, Career Art Paths (CAP), was held during two weeks in June, with 30 middle-school students focusing on the visual arts and art-related careers through activities and speakers. Lisa Carlson, a Kennedy Center-trained art teacher, and Hiba Mohammad, an art teacher with Las Cruces Public Schools, organized and ran the workshop with assistance from Angelica Jones, an artist and recent graduate of the New Mexico State University Art Department.

During CAP, students worked on self-portraits; learned about architecture, set decorating and graphic design; worked with clay; made jewelry; and practiced with perspective drawing and abstract painting. During the last few days of the camp, the students learned about art galleries and curating exhibitions from Deret Roberts, Las Cruces artist and owner of Art Obscura gallery.

On the final day of the camp, students curated a show featuring their artwork so it could be enjoyed by family and friends.

“We received so much positive feedback from the students and their families,” said DAAC Program Manager Karen Conley. “Everyone involved was really excited to return to in-person art activities. Every day that I visited CAP, the students were really engaged in what they were doing and eager to share their artwork. I credit that to all the energy Lisa and Hiba put into the camp from selecting the speakers to organizing the space.”

CAP was the brainchild of Marion Wolle.  She and her husband, Jordan, supported CAP and saw their investment in the arts matched by IBM for a number of years.

“I first met Jordan and Marion through swimming,” said DAAC Executive Director Greg Smith. “Back then, I had no idea that they were doing so much for young people and careers in art through this significant investment. Even though Marion is no longer with us and IBM is no longer matching the investment, we are grateful for what they have done in the past and for Jordan's ongoing and active support.”

The camp ran for more than five hours each day and was held at 201 N. Church St. in what used to be the Bank of the West location.

“We want to thank Bob Pofahl and Steve Newby, owners of the building, for generously donating the use of the space for CAP and being strong supporters of the arts,” Conley said. “Arts really thrive when you have community members willing to lend a helping hand or volunteer time.”

“Young people hold our future in their hands, and we add to what is possible in our future when we recognize the importance of the arts,” Smith said. “All who contribute by teaching, by investing funds or by providing space or materials are helping us invest in what our young people will do with our future.”

DAAC is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-5 p.m. the second Saturday of each month. The DAAC Arts & Cultural Center and administrative office are located at 250 W. Amador Ave.

Call 575-523-6403. Visit www.daarts.org.

Doña Ana Arts Council