December 2019

Gallery Talk

by Myrna Zanetell

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

Check out museums, galleries for special holiday adventures

If you are looking for something to do during the Christmas holidays, following are a variety of options:

El Paso Museum of Art

A unique variety of exhibitions will hang through the end of 2019.
• “Tom Lea and World War II,” on view in the Dede Rogers Galley, features the first museum exhibition of Lea’s iconic World War II paintings and drawings. Central to the exhibition are nine eyewitness paintings from the infamous battle of Peleilu. Twenty other pieces include mural studies and ink-wash illustrations drawn from the EPMA permanent collection.
• “Sixty Years of Collecting” is on display in the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Gallery. Sharing stories of a museum that has grown through the generosity of families and individuals in the region, the works on display represent significant moments related to the museum history for the past 60 years. Viewers will enjoy artwork ranging from religious subject matter to current paintings by local artists such as Gaspar Enriquez and Manuel Acosta. and photography by Manuel Carrillo.
• “Early Light” is the first hometown exhibit for artist Leo Villareal, who has gained renown for large-scale, site-specific exhibitions such as the Bay lights, a public endeavor comprised of 25,000 LED lights illuminating a two-mile expanse of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The El Paso exhibit examines his early work by featuring two large-scale sculptures on loan from the collection of Jereann and Holland Chaney of Houston. “Lightscape, 2002” is a 10-foot screen programmed to bathe surrounding space and people in a sequence of changing hues. “Here Comes the Sun” is from the artist’s most recognized series of wall -bound sculptures, taking the form of a spiral made of LED lights.

Sun Bowl Exhibit

Celebrating its 70th year, the Sun Bowl Art Exhibit is the longest running juried exhibition in the Southwest. In keeping with its solid tradition, this year’s presentation at the International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana, will feature a bountiful selection of artwork ranging from oil and watercolor paintings to sculpture and photography. The exhibition, which opened Nov. 6, hangs through Dec. 29. Director Mitzi Quirarte said the exhibit typically draws up to 150 entries from local and regional artists, filling the two galleries on the east end of the building.
Admission to the museum is free, but donations are always welcome. For museum tours of five individuals or more, advanced notice is important, and a $1 contribution per person would be appreciated.

Virgen de Guadalupe

Celebrating its 22nd year as a juried show, the Virgen de Guadalupe Exhibition will be on display at Ysleta ISD Central Office, 9600 Sims Drive from Dec. 2, to Jan. 17 (but is closed during the holiday break).
Samuel Garcia, the visual arts instructor and curator for the YISD Gallery, shared the history of this long-lived exhibition:
“The Virgen de Guadalupe Art Exhibit and Competition started in 1997 as a way to reach out to the community’s professional artists to showcase their artwork to the students in the district. All types of mediums are accepted for this competition. The goal was to have the artists create artwork that depicts their interpretation of the Virgen de Guadalupe in their own style. We have had artists who have turned in very diverse renditions including paintings, sculpture and drawings. It is amazing to see how many different ways a person can recreate this religious icon in their own style. In recent years, we have had up to 30 artists participating in this special holiday exhibition.”
An awards assembly and mini-festival is 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in the Ysleta ISD Central Office in the Atrium, with live entertainment and refreshments.

San Elizario

The town of San Elizario and the shop owners in the art center of Placita Madrid are preparing to host their annual Christmas Extravaganza 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Participants include the Escamilla Fine Art Gallery, featuring the impressionist art of Albert Escamilla. Their gallery, run by Albert and Rachel Escamilla, will include a free photo station where you can have your photo taken with your own pet or with the gallery pets, Monet or Eli. Also participating are Robert and Olga Dozal at the Robert Dozal Fine Art Gallery and the Romy Hawkins Gallery, which features metal art and a gift shop. JR’s Art and Tea Room, a new venue hosted by Juana Romo, will also feature artists on site, with art demonstrations.
Events include an ornament-making station for children, live music, Christmas caroling, guest vendors and free refreshments.
If you can make it Dec. 8, be sure to head for San Elizario Saturday, Dec. 21 for the Luminaria Festival and La Posada beginning at 5 p.m.

Magoffin Home

The annual Holiday Open house is 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Magoffin Home State Historic Site, 1120 Magoffin. The Magoffin Home comes alive with decorated trees, family photographs, and holiday music. The free event features live performances, musicians, and of course cookies and hot chocolate.
On the same day, the Magoffin Home offers two cooking classes preparing traditional buñuelos and champurrado. The family-friendly class for younger participants is at 10 a.m. and an adult class is at 1p.m. Call -533-5147 for more information.

PBS Kids Fiesta

The annual free event hosted by PBS El Paso is noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the El Paso Convention Center, aimed at providing a fun environment for families and children. Booths will promote healthy child development and early childhood literacy. Families can also watch some amazing performances by local artists.
Families can meet and take photos with some beloved PBS Kids favorites like Curious George and Buddy from Dinosaur Train. This year’s special guests are Let’s Go Luna and Ready Jet Go!


Artist makes music video

Leave it to Pat Olchefski-Winston to do the unusual. Never one to do things in a small way, the multi-talented artist celebrated her 66th birthday Nov. 16 with a party attended by friends flying in from as far as Boston, Houston and even Alberta, Canada. Pat chose the event to debut her new music video, “Don’t Fence Me In.”
“I have chosen about 7 songs which express who I am; they speak to what was on my mind at the time,” she said, explaining that working as the personal manager at Star City Studios she is around a number of young people who are also making music videos. “I decided that if they can do it so can I. I can act and dance and I will not actually be singing but rather lip-synching the songs. After it has been released at the party, the video will be on You Tube.”

Myrna Zanetell is a freelance writer
specializing in the visual arts

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