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Senior cellist Sam Barrett

Local and area teens in grades 6-12 are invited to explore the arts in a series of free “Be in the Arts” workshops to be held Saturday, Jan. 14, in Artesia.

These workshops are a collaborative arts exchange offered by the New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) in Santa Fe along with the Artesia Public Library, the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center, and the Artesia Public Schools.

Workshops will focus on creative writing, visual arts, theatre, dance and music, and will be held at several venues in Artesia:

• Strengthen Your Creative Writing will be held at the Artesia Public Library, 205 W. Quay Ave., with sessions from 9:30-11 a.m. and noon – 1:30 p.m. NMSA creative writing instructor Denise Hinson will take students through an exercise in found poetry and prose. Space is limited, so advance registration is needed — contact Erin Loveland at 746-8515 to sign up for either session.

• Visual Arts will be held in the Artesia Historical Museum’s Art Center, 503 W. Richardson Ave., with sessions from 9:30-11 a.m. and noon – 1:30 p.m. NMSA visual arts chair Karina Hean will work with students on perception and drawing, exploring form and space. Workshop size is limited, so advance registration is needed — contact Nancy Dunn at 748-2390 to sign up for either session.

Cellist Lila Baca

• Theatre will be held at the Artesia High School Auditorium, 215 S. 15th St., with one session from 10-11:30 a.m. Joey Chavez, theatre chair of the NMSA, will teach students physical and vocal theatre techniques, improvisation and interaction. Contact Loveland at 746-8515 to sign up.

• Dance will be held at the Artesia High School Auditorium, 215 S. 15th St., with one session from 10-11:30 a.m. NMSA student Chloe Carnathan of Artesia will assist. Contact Loveland at 746-8515 to sign up.

• Music: Singing with Success will be held at the Artesia High School Auditorium, 215 S. 15th St., with one session from 10-11:30 a.m. Exercises and warmups will be taught to help students develop a full and natural singing voice. Contact Loveland at 746-8515 to sign up.

Students may register for two workshops if desired, as long as one of them is either Creative Writing or Visual Arts.

The NMSA is a tuition-free statewide charter high school offering students who excel in music, dance, drama, visual arts or theatre the opportunity to attend a highly-ranked educational institution that centers on preparation for a career and future studies in the arts.

Students receive 15 hours of training per week in their focus area. Students who attend the NMSA and live outside a commutable distance are eligible to apply for the residential program — scholarships are available.

For its third consecutive year, the NMSA has received an “A” rating from the New Mexico Public Education Department. The school also has a 97-percent retention rate and a 100-percent graduation rate.

The NMSA is located in the former St. Francis Cathedral School, 275 E. Alameda, Santa Fe. For more information, visit www.NMSchoolForTheArts.org

Tenor Adan Gallegos

I was lucky to be able to tour the NMSA recently and to observe three classes in action. As a parent, I was very impressed by the quality of arts instruction there — this school is a great option for students who want to focus on their artistic skills while still in high school.

As an extra added attraction to our day of workshops, there will be a free showcase performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the AHS Auditorium that will allow NMSA students to show their stuff! Artesia student Chloe Carnathan is currently a freshman at NMSA, and she will be on hand to speak about her experiences as a dance student.

The showcase performance will feature some really impressive young performers from all over New Mexico. Tenor Adan Gallegos and soprano Divara Harper will perform classical pieces, and the concert portion of the program will include instrumentalists and string chamber ensemble works. Cellist Sam Barrett, bassoon soloist Toby Vigneau, and horn player Aiden Langley have all won awards and competitions during their time at the NMSA. Dancer Eduardo Maes will perform two solo works, and the drama department will perform a monologue as well as a student-written piece based on the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

This showcase gives us the chance to catch some future stars in action — I am still bragging about seeing Robin Williams in a local college performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” when I was a little kid, long before he became famous — this is your chance to secure your future bragging rights, too!