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DARREN PHILLIPS

revealed the building has about half the square footage necessary to accommodate its current programs. “Our classrooms and studios can only accommodate six to 12 students and this limits our ability to maximize our credit hours,” said Interim Dean Enrico Pontelli. “A new and larger facility will help the college better meet the needs of our students.” Last year, the university began working with community members who support renovation of the art facilities on campus. So far, more than $800,000 in private funds has been contributed and pledged toward the design to renovate D.W. Williams Hall. Ammu Devasthali, an alumna and supporter of the Williams Hall renovation, says she’s contributing to the project because it’s important to provide faculty with the proper tools to pass on their knowledge and expertise to students. “This project has always been about improving conditions for our students and faculty,” Devasthali says. “We can attract the best by being competitive with our peer institutions. A state-of-the art facility will go a long way toward achieving this.”

According to a 2014 report commissioned by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the arts and culture industry contributes $5.6 billion a year to the state’s economy. Defined broadly, the report shows the arts and culture industry provides 10 percent of all jobs in the state, more than construction and manufacturing combined. “We have an incredibly deep historic tradition of the arts in the state of New Mexico,” says Julia Barello, professor and head of NMSU’s Department of Art. “That’s one thing that makes New Mexico unusual. Santa Fe is the third-largest art market in the United States in terms of dollars, after New York and L.A.” Katherine Brimberry ’82 is a successful export of NMSU’s artistic talent. She has been making art her business in Texas since she graduated from NMSU 35 years ago with a master’s in art, concentrating on printmaking. Brimberry is the owner of Flatbed Press and Gallery, a fine art publishing studio named among the 2015 “Top 10” Contemporary Galleries in Austin. She has some fond memories of the concrete bleachers in the classrooms – left over from the building’s life as a gym – which allowed all the life-drawing students to have a clear view of the models. However, she agrees the building could use more space. “I wish there had been a print study room for archiving the prints of the collection and study of the prints as well,” Brimberry says. Another NMSU alum is adding to the arts and culture economy in Las Cruces. Deret Roberts opened his gallery, Art Obscura, just as he was preparing to graduate from NMSU in fall 2013. He is working to expand the industry in southern New Mexico. “Art Obscura was formed out of necessity,” Roberts says. “I felt that

PHOTO COURTESY OF W.B. LEDBETTER, JR., OF IMAGECLECTIC PHOTOGRAPHY

Art creates big business in New Mexico

NMSU alumna, artist and business owner Kathy Brimberry works at her fine art publishing studio in Austin.

New Mexico voters will decide on this year’s general obligation bond in November. It includes a total of $27.5 million for Williams Hall, and other NMSU projects around the state.

26 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Spring 2016

Panorama - Spring 2016  

Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit https://panorama.nmsu.edu. To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...

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