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Las Cruces artist Kathy Morrow continues work on the rock art project she is re-creating on a small hill across the road from the New Mexico State University golf course club house.
The project began in January 2017 as Morrow walked her dog along Tortugas Dam. She first created a medicine wheel there, and added rock images inspired by the hawks, roadrunners, lizards, coyotes, dragonflies and other animals she saw during her walks and had been drawing and painting for years.
Although Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID), which owns the dam, never objected to the artwork – which grew to 38 pieces in all – it was never officially sanctioned and had to be moved before EBID began an upgrade to the dam.
With the help of more than a dozen volunteers and a couple of front-end loaders, Morrow spent most of 2022 dismantling her rock animals and moving them about a quarter mile south onto NMSU property.
About 40 tons of rock were moved and more added to the new half-acre site that is directly across Herb Wimberly Drive from the clubhouse.
After getting approval from NMSU, Morrow began work on the new project in April 2022. She has made great progress, but in late May said it likely will take about 17 more months to finish.
Morrow also said she has used up all the available rock she has and would welcome donations of all colors and sizes of rock, along with whole or broken terra cotta roofing tiles. She also welcomes volunteers to help with the project.
When the project is complete in 2024, Morrow will have created a cougar measuring 27 feet wide by 35 feet tall, along with a hummingbird, dragonfly, roadrunner, rabbit, bear, horse, horned toad, falcon and an eagle – along with the NMSU logo.