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Processing grief through art

Gallery, guild sponsoring ‘Healing Wings’ to deal with Covid losses


Agave Artists’ Gallery and the Potters’ Guild of Las Cruces are partnering on Healing Wings, a project designed to help people “process through art their grieving and their sorrow brought on by Covid,” said artist Paul Maxwell.

Maxwell welcomed artists, potters and guests to the project’s dedication ceremony Aug. 27 in the courtyard next door to the Agave gallery, 2250 Calle de San Albino in Mesilla.

Through Healing Wings, the gallery and the guild are sponsoring community workshops where participants can create a personal ceramic “wing” to commemorate a lost loved one or other difficult experiences related to the pandemic.

“The handmade ceramic wings, representing letting go and moving forward, will be hung on a special sculptural tree, designed and created by local metal artist Josh Switzer,” according to the program given out at the dedication ceremony. The memorial tree is located on the north wall of the courtyard behind Josephina’s Old Gate restaurant.

“The traditions we rely on to heal aren’t available,” artist Kathy Baker said. Healing Wings will help the community “acknowledge what we’ve lost so we can move forward.”

The Potters’ Guild is turning 40 this year and Healing Wings is “a wonderful way to celebrate,” said guild president and charter member Jan Archey.

Archey said community members can create their own ceramic wings at Agave. Once painted, the wings will be fired in an oven and returned to the studio so their makers can attach a hook and hang them on the memorial tree. The tree also holds memory boxes in which Healing Wings participants can place personal messages to honor those lost during Covid-19.

Members of Tortugas Pueblo conducted a blessing of the tree, the courtyard and the gallery during the dedication.

“This is appropriate,” said Tortugas Pueblo Cacique Patrick Narvaez, noting that “Covid has hit the pueblo hard.”

Chaplain Linda Pribble also conducted a blessing ceremony during the dedication.

Those attending the ceremony included: Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias; county Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Jamie Michael; and county HHS Program Administrator Anabel Canchola.

Healing Wings workshops will be held in September 2021. The project is expected to last a year.

Participants must register at agaveartists.com/healing-wings-project.

You can donate to the project at that website or at www.pottersguildlc.org/donate.

Contact the gallery at 575-339-9870 and agaveartists@gmail.com.

Agave Artists’ Gallery, Potters’ Guild, Healing Wings