Rio Rancho Public Art

The Main Street movement/program has taken hold in cities big and small in just about every state. The driving force behind this movement focuses on revitalization of communities across the state and asset in economic development to help build healthier and stronger communities. Although beautification and creating appealing environments is part of the main street guideline, often main street programs tackle art and design on their own separate from local art councils and organizations. But for small towns, and larger,  this can create unnecessary strain on financial resources when main street programs could easily work with local art councils. Take the example of Wyoming, "Instead of re-creating the wheel, setting up another bureaucratic system for certification, and using staffing and financial resources, the Wyoming Arts Council has focused its efforts on working in collaboration with Main Street to have the arts be a part of revitalization efforts."(Lange) This partnership has already shown amazing promise and created successful change which is encouraging news. A partnership with the Arts can help us rethink the way we approach cultural districts but it can also add an artistic mindset to the Main Streets basic four point system of, organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring.

Image from Rethinking Cultural Districts for Small Towns in Small States

(Article from ArtsBlog, Rethinking Cultural Districts for Small Towns in Small States. By Michael Lange. Published February 18, 2014.)

Using cultural districts as a structure for arts and cultural activities is a central catalyst for revitalization efforts that build better communities. Many states and urban areas have setup structures, often through legislation, that promote cultural districts as a way to build vibrant communities that lead to social and economic development.

Getting to the end outcome – the arts playing a leading role in revitalization efforts – is a necessary endeavor, but setting up structures in the same way as urban areas may not be the best approach for a rural state like Wyoming.

Wyoming is one of the largest states geographically, but has the smallest population of any state with 575,000 people. Wyoming is better categorized as frontier or even remote. The largest populated city in Wyoming is the state capital Cheyenne, with a population just over 61,000 people. Of the 99 incorporated municipalities, only about half have populations over 1,000 people, and only a handful of those have a population over 10,000.

How can small populated states invest in the outcomes of cultural districts?

In Wyoming, the Wyoming Arts Council has joined in a strategic partnership with Wyoming Main Street which manages the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program. Located inside the Wyoming Business Council, the Wyoming Main Street program assists Wyoming communities of various sizes and resource levels with their downtown revitalization efforts. Between fully certified and affiliate communities, Wyoming has fifteen active communities in their Main Street Program.

These downtown areas represent the city center, and in some cases, the entire city. Wyoming Main Street communities, in almost every case, would mirror what cultural districts would look like in Wyoming. Instead of re-creating the wheel, setting up another bureaucratic system for certification, and using staffing and financial resources, the Wyoming Arts Council has focused its efforts on working in collaboration with Main Street to have the arts be a part of revitalization efforts.

Although a marriage of convenience in many ways, the collaboration between the arts and Main Street is one of great synergy. Main Street is based on a Four-Point Approach of organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring. As outlined below, this approach to community development is a great fit for how those of us in the arts can approach building stronger communities. (READ THE REST HERE)

What's the first that comes to mind when you hear "law firm"? Creativity, community center and performing arts probably were not on the list. Yet surprisingly a law firm in Oklahoma City has become a hot bed of arts and community activity. Back in 2011 the law firm acquired a warehouse down in Oklahoma's "skid row" area and converted it into the more modern law office it is today. The initial plan they had in mind was not a community space, that came later. As they renovated the large open parking lot, they found that the space gradually took on a life of it's own. With each addition they took the plain concrete parking lot into a unique environment until eventually "it created an intimate stage. But, if you have a stage you need seating, and dramatic lighting and a true urban garden requires native plants and trees. In the end, we created a kitchen and indoor event center that opened to the outdoors—complete with modular tables and reconfigurable seating." (Sorocco)  This however created a bit of a problem, they had made a beautiful open urban garden, but knew that the area would most likely go untouched by staff. They made the unconventional move and opened the space up the community at little to no charge, thus creating an easily accessible community center.

Image from Mike Jones. Artsblog


(Article from ArtsBlogMaking Space for the Arts: A Law Firm's Story of 5,475 (Nonbillable) Hours By Douglas Sorocco, Published on Mar 02, 2017.)

When we initially put out the word that the space—dubbed “DC on Film Row”—was open and available we expected a rush of people to sign up. Instead, the sound of crickets resonated. We had to coax people into using the space—no, we're not crazy; yes, it is free to use; and no, there's no catch. The first groups to take us up on our offer were the nonprofits: Everyone from the Alzheimer’s Association to Western artists tried us out. Fundraisers, capital campaign kickoffs, volunteer appreciation events, staff training, education days, and arts education occurred in our space. We’ve made new friends and are enriched by being direct witnesses to the spirit of service and commitment within our community.

Image from DC on Film Row

Following the nonprofits were the musicians, performers, and bands. Sensing a need, we underwrote and promoted a free monthly outside music evening—The Mix™—providing a paying opportunity for young performers. Concomitantly, the artists “found us,” and we began hosting visual art activities—openings, group and individual shows, student capstone exhibitions, classes, and open nights for people to gather and create art. Performing artists reserved the space for theatrical and dance performances. Improvisational groups rehearsed and performed in our outdoor gardens. Artists from the community facilitated painting and weaving classes. Photographers met and hosted open critique nights. Creativity and creation became the background soundtrack for our downtown space.


In a report to the Governing Body On April 19, 2016, the Rio Rancho Arts Commission has presented a basic structural outline for the 2016-2017 1% for the Arts, Art in Public Places projects. There are three basic outline areas : 1) Artistic Theme or Subject Matter, 2) Funding Strategy & Community Involvement, 3) Site Prioritization & Selection. Each of these three criteria will contribute to an integrated delivery process (click on the image to get a larger view).

The annual Rio Rancho Public School Senior Art Show is finally here! The Rising Stars show will showcase the amazing artwork from our students. This is a FREE event with the public is encouraged to attend during regular viewing hours and during the awards ceremony. The show will take place on the third floor of the Rio Rancho City Hall.

Awards ceremony will be held April 15 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, refreshments provided.

Regular viewing hours are from April 11-27, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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The pARTnership movement, created by Americans for the Arts, is a growing  initiative focused on connecting businesses with art organizations, to show that a partnership with the arts can build their competitive advantage and presence. The pARTnership has provided a simple list, 8 reasons to partner with the arts, to get businesses and art organizations thinking about the benefits of finding a partner. As beneficial as a pARTnership is, it may be a bit difficult along the way. Here is a quick overview of some simple things to consider when trying to build a partnership, which the article goes into more depth. 

 1. Ask: in a previous article we highlighted a successful pARTnership between ProjectArt and Jacques Torres Chocolate, which all came about just by taking the first step and asking the business. 

2. Small-midsize businesses- As appealing as it may be to connect with a big name business, you should be reaching out to the smaller guys, " BCA Survey, small and midsize businesses contribute 82% of the total contributions to the arts."

3. In-kind contributions- Financial funding from businesses is desired, but when that can't be done, in-kind contributions are a great resource which can provide you with goods and services instead. 

4. What can you do for them- When seeking a business pARTner, you're considering how they can help you. But are you considering how you can benefit them? Perhaps by displaying your artistic and creative value. 

5. Fulfill their interests and values- Do some thoughtful research into potential business pARTners, and see where your interests and values align. It's ok if they don't align completely, see where you can fit in and meet some of their interests and values.


(Article from ArtsBlog, The 5 Things You Might Not Be Doing When Considering a Business pARTnership(from the pARTnership Movement). By Patrick O'Herron. Published on November 15, 2013.)

At the pARTnership Movement, we think it’s fantastic that you are considering the benefits of an arts and business partnership, and that you’re sharing the values we have ignited through the 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts. But we understand that the road is long and winding, and there are pitfalls along the way. That’s why we have composed this list of the 5 things you might not be doing when considering such a partnership, and examples of how to best start.

1. Are you even asking?

According to the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts, of the 600-plus small, midsize and large businesses surveyed, 66% of businesses that don’t give to the arts stated that they were not even asked to contribute to the arts—that is two-thirds! It is our responsibility to deliver the message to businesses that the arts can help build their competitive advantage, so write those letters, set up those meetings, attend chamber of commerce meetings and make those connections—start building relationships now.
Image from pARTnership Movement

2. Are you considering small and midsize businesses?

Your first instinct as an arts organization may be to run to the nearest bank or local industry giant to seek support for your programming, but according to the BCA Survey, small and midsize businesses contribute 82% of the total contributions to the arts. Exemplary examples of small and midsize business partnerships includeCaramel Boutique, a DC-based clothing store that is redefining the U Street corridor as an arts destination by hosting free art shows for local artists on a monthly basis, and the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, which turns its guests’ stay into a work of art through its Artist-in-Residence program. Download our tool-kit, “Creating pARTnerships with Small and Midsize Businesses,” as a useful resource. 
                                                                      (READ THE REST HERE)

We've all experienced the benefits of technology in our everyday lives, most of us can't live without it and its impact. But its not everyday that you associate the significance of technology with arts education. 2014 has been a strong year for arts education and technology with new developments in teaching and classes. Specific areas gaining larger interest  are online communities and the way that students are now using social media to engage with art and learning on their own time. But the list is growing for new fields where art, education and technology intersect, and holds great potential for the future.  Jessica Wilt, an arts educator and administrator, has put together a strong resource of how technology is making its way into arts education.


(Article from ArtsBlog, Everything Arts + Education + Technology in 2014. By Jessica Wilt. Published on January 8, 2014.)

It’s the start of a New Year and technology will continue to be a hot arts education topic in 2014. Since launching my own ArtsEdTechNYCventure last spring, I’ve immersed myself in many conversations exploring ways in which technology – I admit, a super generalized term – is being utilized within the scope of arts education. In meaningful, effective ways including K-12, higher education, distance learning and special needs populations, I remain continuously inspired by so many people doing amazing work.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered where technology will continue to change the way we teach, educate and inform our arts education field this year and beyond.


The Wallace Foundation released two critical pieces of research late last year. As access to technology for learning, communication and art making grow among our youth, self-directed, connected, and digital learning opportunities are expanding as well.These reports are a must-read:
New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age by Dr. Kylie Peppler at Indiana University
Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts by Denise Montgomery, Peter Rogovin and Nero Persaud



The EdTech movement is the driving force behind development of so many new online learning platforms, apps, and software being created at lighting speed. Here are a few arts, creativity, and innovation sites that I think are great:
Connected Classrooms is a new venture recently launched by Google. The concept centers on how “Educational Virtual Classrooms” use the video platform Google Hangout to connect withothers all over the globe. Adobe Education Exchange, Microsoft’s Bing for Education – Class Think and Apple and Education among others, are also great sites.