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NMSU alumni Deret Roberts, and Abbey Carver stand outside Art Obscura, an art gallery and antique store they founded in Las Cruces.

NMSU alumna Capri Price is seen here working with an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer in the lab at Portland State University. This instrument identifies the elements such as iron, lead and potassium in any material, and is often used for pigment identification.

Las Cruces had an entire group of artists that needed a place to buy, sell and grow. My degree really gave me an upper hand in this type of business by preparing me with a keen eye for well-executed artwork.” That university-community connection is critical to Marisa Sage, director of the University Art Gallery, which is part of the D.W. Williams Hall project. The gallery has 10,000 visitors every year and hosts hundreds of people who participate in various public workshops, lectures and panels. She says the exhibits inspire the community and students to engage with their region and beyond, teaching through cooperative active exhibitions the value of art in everyday life and its significant impact on regional social cultural experiences. “We are all about expanding and engaging our community through experience with art and artists who redefine the often narrow view of art’s value to our economy,” Sage says. Andrea Gohl believes improving and expanding NMSU’s art facilities can play a key role in the success of future students. She graduates in May 2016 with a master of fine arts degree in studio art. “At NMSU, we have many opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and creation – but not having the proper equipment, tools or workspace can greatly affect our ability to work. “Artists are challenged with solving problems and finding creative solutions in order to realize our concepts and visions. Think of a baker making bread without flour or an oven. It just isn’t going to taste right!”

Reinventing D.W. Williams Hall

Lawmakers approved $22.5 million for the Williams Hall renovation among the state’s capital outlay projects slated to be on the ballot as part of this year’s proposed general obligation bond. These bonds, which come before the voters of New Mexico every two years to support projects throughout the

state, do not require tax increases. So far, plans for the new building, which would be constructed adjacent to D.W. Williams Hall’s current location, include specialized studios, a large outdoor work area and a multitude of classrooms and shared work spaces. Renovated art facilities would support a wide variety of media-based research in museum conservation, ceramics, drawing and painting, graphic design, jewelry, metalsmithing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and art history. “We’re interested in how you can design a building that supports the conceptual ideas that we’re striving to achieve with our teaching,” says Barello. “Those are ideas about collaboration and about interdisciplinary crossover.”

Innovation blends art and business

Another trend is taking center stage in the corporate world, creating demand for a worker who can integrate skillsets to meet the needs of the new economy – employees who approach problems creatively. A global business research organization found that U.S. employers rate creativity and innovation among the top five skills they value most. In their 2016 survey, CEOs say one of their top two issues is developing the next generation of leaders who can “drive business growth with a culture of innovation, inclusion and engagement.” The idea that arts and culture education provide valuable talents for students in any career is nothing new at NMSU. “I think that many people have a romantic idea of what an art education is and they think we’re teaching people how to paint still lifes or make teacups,” Barello says. “While we do teach technique and materials-based processes, our pedagogical goal is for students to leave NMSU with well-developed problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Those are transferable skills they can take anywhere with them professionally.” Spring 2016 | New Mexico State University | Panorama


Panorama - Spring 2016  

Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...