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(Photo Courtesy Nancy Dunn)

The Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center is very proud and happy to announce our 23rd Annual Russell Floore Memorial Student Art Show!

This year’s show will be on display through April 29, and most of the works are for sale by silent auction bid throughout the show. There will be an awards presentation reception from 5-7 p.m. April 27, with awards announced at 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited.

We have partnered with Zia Intermediate School art teacher Juli Newton, Park Junior High School art teachers Kyle Kimple and Jennifer Duff, and Artesia High School art teachers Tim Trentham and Tiffany Pascal to present a selection of art created by Artesia’s students, and their talent is impressive.

Russell Floore (1917-1991) was a lifelong resident of Artesia — he owned and operated the Floore Floral Shop here for 30 years and was an enthusiastic art collector.

When Russell passed away, his family created an endowment with the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center Foundation to develop and sponsor a southwestern art show to continue Russell’s tradition of encouraging and supporting all southwestern artists. We held our first annual Russell Floore Memorial Art Show in 1993 and continued the tradition of featuring the best of local adult artists through 2009.

But Russell believed strongly in encouraging ALL artists, not just those over the age of 18. My absolute favorite story about Russell concerns an encounter he had with a very young Navajo artist.

Russell and his wife, Sue, were on a road trip through northern New Mexico when they made a pit stop at a small gas station/trading post. There was a little boy there, around 6, who was selling some crayon drawings he had made. Russell took the time to look carefully through the artworks for sale and to talk with the little boy about his art; he ended up purchasing at least one of the little boy’s works, which he later had carefully framed and displayed proudly in his home.

Here at the museum, we want to continue Russell’s tradition of supporting young artists. Our judging team will award cash prizes for first, second and third place for each school; they will also award a Best of Show prize overall. In addition, we are giving everyone that visits our art show the chance to be a “judge for a day” and to vote for a People’s Choice cash award, to be announced after the show closes.

We are also offering most of the art on display for sale by silent auction. Silent bids will be accepted throughout the duration of our show — as an extra added bonus this year, teachers Duff and Newton have offered pieces for our auction, as well. This is everyone’s chance to purchase some great art at bargain-basement prices and have some fun, too! All proceeds go directly to our students.

Please join us at our awards reception April 27 for the chance to meet and encourage Artesia’s young artists, and be sure to visit the exhibit to vote on your People’s Choice favorite!

Call 748-2390 for more information. We want to recognize Central Valley Electric for donating bottled water for our reception guests — THANK YOU!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Nancy Dunn is the manager of the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center.)