high desert sketches
It’s all about Artwalk this weekend
By GEORGE A. COVINGTON
When I first arrived in Alpine almost 20 years ago, it had been a high desert refuge of artists for decades. In those days, local artists showed their wares at only a few local sites, but one night in the fall and spring the community hosted gallery night. Any empty storefront could suddenly become an art gallery.
Today, “Gallery Night” has evolved into “Artwalk,” a much larger two-night event held in late autumn.
The 2016 Artwalk will be this weekend and its featured artist will be Rachel Waller. Rachel’s photography has documented most aspects of western life ranging from working cowboys to Native Americans with a sensitivity and beauty rarely matched. I like Rachel not only for her art but the work she and her 14-year-old daughter Cheyenne (who I used to tease by calling her Comanche) have done to save abandoned and abused horses on their ranch south of Alpine. Her work will be exhibited at the TranPecos Bank, 102 W. Avenue E.
The Artwalk Silent Auction will offer a snapshot of the entire Artwalk event in one place. The artwork donated by local artists, will allow viewers a walk through the auction to tip visitors to the exhibits they don’t want to miss. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to benefit programs of the Alpine Public Library, considered one of the best small libraries in America. The auction will be held at the Sibley Gallery, 103 W. Holland Ave.
My newest assistant, little Travieza, helped me select only a few of the most interesting aspects of the multifaceted Artwalk experience. You must remember that Travieza was once a chupacabra who has evolved, thanks to the imagination of the Library Lizards of the Alpine Public Library (see my Halloween column).
Murphy Street has blossomed into a concentration in creativity not seen in this area since it was our red light district 100 years ago. The Pathfinder Gallery of Subversive Art, etc., is inside a renovated camper containing the art of Valerie Howard (my column illustrator), Carolyn Macartney (painter and retired tenured college professor), and Alan Vannoy, who makes collagraph/transfer prints, and more famously, the proprietor (along with his lovely with Kelly) of the Cowdog Emporium of pulled pork and pineapples, 105 E. Murphy.
Off the Wheel Pottery will feature the work of Paulina and Paty Hernandez. These sisters have an incredible talent for pottery and general imagination, 108 E. Murphy St.
Two other Murphy Street sites of interest are Alpine Studio photographs by Jim Hatcher, 106 W. Murphy St., and Brown Dog Gardens pottery and indigenous plants, 206 W. Murphy St.
The Ritchey Hotel will feature a number of talented artists and should be a definite site to visit, 102 E. Murphy St.
My two favorite galleries are the Catchlight, an artist cooperative, 117 W. Holland Ave., and Gallery on the Square (which hasn’t been on the square in five years) is the creation of the Big Bend Arts council, 115 W. Holland Ave. These two galleries offer the works of local artists in fields that include painting, sketches, textiles, jewelry, and ceramics. Located a few doors from these galleries is Ivey’s Emporium, is always an enticing place to visit on any occasion. This year a sculptor of the Chupacabra, created by the up and coming sculptor, Rhyen Guanajuato. The work represents a distant cousin of Travieza. Within Ivey’s is located La Azteca, featuring new original designs in silver, gold and precious stones from the Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial tradition. Owners, the lovely and enchanting Susana Sandoval Busey, and her husband David, have a very glittery shop worth visiting. A few doors further down is Needleworks, Etc., features fine clothing and jewelry, 121 W. Holland Ave.
There are at least a dozen more venues that should be checked out. Don’t miss Front Street Books, 121 E. Holland Ave., Anju’s Fine Jewelry, 115 E. Holland Ave., and Dimestore Cowgirl, 113 E. Holland Ave.
Don’t finish your evening without visiting Whitlock Studio of Fine Art, 110-B N 6th, which always contains the post-impressionist work of Nancy Whitlock and a number of other talented artists.
We have more than the usual multitudes depending in Alpine for Artwalk. In the last quarter, the tireless workers at the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, got 150,000 hits on their website. The Chamber is an integral part of our community and deserves a little more appreciation.
George A. Covington has worked in the fields of law, education, journalism and disability rights. He considers himself retired from every one of them with the possible exception of journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Texas schools of journalism and law. He moved to West Texas – Alpine – in 1997 after a 20-year career in Washington, D.C. where he once served on the staff of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (Democrat) and shortly thereafter served as Special Assistant to the Vice President of the United States (Republican) 1989 to 1993.