Rio Rancho Public Art

This is only the Art Commissions third year participating in the Mayor's Sunday is Funday but this was the Commission best year yet! The goal was to focus much more on the art and artist in Rio Rancho. What better way to do that than to have live art demonstrations of various art forms throughout the event. We had a amazing turn out of artists from the Rio Rancho Art Association and we can't thank them enough for the time and effort they put into. The turn out and engagement from the community was equally amazing and we look forward to bringing more art to this community!
The Art Commission put together two videos highlighting the event, please enjoy.


The Rio Rancho Art Commissions July 12, 2017 presentation to the Governing Body addressed a outline for 2017 and early 2018 projects and participation. Major points of the presentation covered:
   * Art in Public Places Project
   * The Rio Rancho Art Commission Outreach and Community Participation
   * Social Media Platform and Engagement
   * Policy and Ordinance Work

July 12, 2017 Report/Outline:
Full Video Presentation to The Governing Body: 

                             * You may need to view in a different browser if video does not play.

Image from Sun SailorMobile art exhibition headed for St. Louis Park  Published September 11, 2014 

  Public art organizations and art advocates strive to bring art into our everyday lives. This means placing impactful artwork throughout a community such as in high traffic areas, buildings, whether prominent or rural. But sometimes this isn't enough to get people to engage with art, of course that isn't going to stop them from finding a way of bringing the art to the people.

 "Art Trucks" aren't exactly a new concept in public art but several recent examples have shown us just how much this simple idea can enhance lives and communities. An Art Truck can take on any theme or service, such as  showcasing a cities public art collection, art education, a gallery pop up show, as well as providing information and resources for the public. The Rio Rancho Art Commission has also thrown this idea around as well and one day we hope to implement a unique version of our own.

Some Art Trucks are no small matter either, Arlington Arts and Cultural Affairs, was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  This would be a new venture for Arlington Arts as recent art center closing left a gap in the area. "The mobile van aims to both expand community access to art and to diversify public engagement, county officials said. “The main goal of the Arlington Art Truck is to demystify the artmaking process, to tear down the four walls, turn it inside out – [and bring it] to the people,” said Michelle Isabelle-Stark, director of Arlington Arts and Cultural Affairs." (Article from Inside NovaArlington ‘Art Truck’ wins NEA funding, Published on June 16, 2017.)

Pakistan Truck Art has been a phenomenon for years and has reached a global audience. These large hulking trucks have taken on a new life by transforming into pieces of art that provide a pop of color on highways and cities. Hundreds of hours are put into each one and can become the pride of the community. This tradition has inspired many across the world.
Image from Aol,Pakistan's 'truck art' has become a global phenomenon By DRAZEN JORGIC, Published on June 13, 2017.)

Source: assignasia, "Pakistan Truck Art" Youtube, May 27,2015

The Art Truck is a creative and fun idea in whatever form it takes and whomever takes the wheel. They are a inventive way to bring art straight to the people and in some cases they encourage the public to participate it making the artwork themselves. They are compact and ever-changing artwork that opens up a world of possibilities. 


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.


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)


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).