40th Anniversary

Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program 40th Anniversary Celebration


RAIR 40th Anniversary

Over the past 40 years 185* artists have been awarded a Gift of Time. This past Labor Day weekend, 66 of those artists returned with friends and family to celebrate the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program's 40th Anniversary.  

What a party! By the end everyone had met, conversed with, exchanged notes with, and made connections with many, many other RAiR Fellows.  The Gift of Time continues to inspire.

Festivities began with a reception at the Roswell Museum and Art Center forBeyond A Gift of Time, a 7-month long exhibition featuring current work by 130 former RAiR Fellows. The eclectic work in the show celebrates the diversity of the RAiR Program. 

The three galleries showcasing the work teemed with artists, Museum members and RAiR supporters during the reception.  Event registrars in the Bassett Auditorium greeted arriving artists with catalogs, Roswell info and gifts, and the newly published Anecdotal History of the RAiR Program (with special mention that writers Ann McGarrell and Sally Anderson were also attending the weekend events). 

The exhibit reception was followed by a Mexican Fiesta dinner catered by Pepper's and held at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. The 270 guests were greeted with music by Mexican guitarists and local celebrities Bobby Villegas and Gilbert Licon.  Colorful paper cut-out decorations embellished the entrances to the dining areas as well as the table tops, and 40 vases of flowers added nature's beauty to the mix.

Preceding the DJ music and dancing, Program Director Stephen Fleming thanked the tireless volunteers who planned the weekend.  Sally Anderson welcomed the artists and guests and toasted her husband for his generosity and vision. Then guests gathered to hear Senator Tim Jennings read a congratulatory letter to Don, Sally and the RAiR Program from Governor Bill Richardson......

A Congratulatory Message from Governor Bill Richardson

As Governor of New Mexico, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Donald and Sally Anderson for their enlightened vision and continuous support of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program.
Since 1967 the program has fostered the careers of hundreds of artists by awarding fellowships and providing a nurturing environment for the artists to create.

The Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program has provided a Gift of Time for artists to develop their creative visions at all stages of their artistic careers making significant contributions to the city of Roswell, the State of New Mexico, and the nation.

The Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program has enhanced the cultural life of the community of Roswell and its surrounding areas and has placed New Mexico on the map of important sites in the contemporary art world.

On its 40th anniversary, I want to congratulate The Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, through its founder and patron Donald B. Anderson, its Executive Director Sally M. Anderson, its past and current Board of Directors, and its past Program directors and current Program Director Stephen Fleming, for demonstrating excellence in the arts.

With warmest regards,

Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico

And after a slight delay in finding the relocated light switch, the disco ball was engaged and the dancing began. Day Two started in the late morning with a group picture at the Berrendo Road facility where most of the artists managed show up, followed by open studio tours of current RAiR Fellows at both campuses. Former RAiR Fellows visited their "old stomping grounds" and continued to comment on the rampant foliage that continues to shade and beautify the Berrendo Road complex. 

They were also impressed with the new construction at Howard Cook Road, complete with common room and tower. These purpose-built houses and studios attracted oohs and ahs from the amazed guests.

And Mother Nature cooperated with sunny skies and light breezes. In the late afternoon, Don and Sally Anderson opened up their home and The Henge for visitors. Many people quickly snapped pictures as Henge Artist Herb Goldman (now in his eighties) ascended the rolling hills to the monumental sculpture he had designed. It was the first time he had been back to Roswell for decades, and the family he brought with him exclaimed many times during the weekend how wonderful it was to accompany Herb on this momentous occasion. 

Also making history at the Henge was musician Ken Field who returned to play a few tunes (he had recorded his Subterranea CD in the Henge at the time his wife Karen Aqua was a RAiR Fellow).
After delicious snacks at the Andersons provided by Tinnie Mercantile and Deli, it was time for dinner at the Howard Cook Road facility.  With an expansive outdoor patio of the common room as the venue, RAiR fellows were treated to My Daddy's Barbecue (from Carlsbad) and music by Ken Field and three local musicians (members of The Crashers).  

Children (of all ages) beelined to the large metallic-painted two-headed jackalope piñata created by Cristina Gonzalez and Edie Tsong which was defeated by the mighty blows of 7-year-old Ellis Barber (whose baseball training is coming in handy!).  And last but not least, a few guests stayed to watch the film Basquiet which was projected on the side of House #2. 

The final weekend event was held Sunday at the Anderson Museum. RAiR board members, aided by the exquisite pasty chef from Tinnie Mercantile & Deli, provided colorful brunch fare.  

Many of the artists and their families headed for home soon after eating, some stayed a day or two extra visiting friends or seeing the sites.

Those who traveled from far and wide are to be thanked for enduring the cost and time to make the weekend so amazing. Included in that group are Jerry Williams from Sweden, Maria Rucker from Germany, and Susan Bremner from Alaska, as well as those US-based artists coming from both coasts. It couldn't have been the memorable weekend that it was without the returning RAiR Fellows. 

Cheers!!!  And here's to the next 40 years!

This event is brought to you by the following people; if you see them, please thank them!

Don & Sally Anderson; Gail Burroughs; Stephen, Nancy & Sienna Fleming; Pat & Tony Krakauskas; Jane MacFarlane; Diane Marsh; Shirley Myers; Esther Purkey; Brinkman Randle; Laura Read; Laurie Rufe & RMAC staff; John Sollom; Joyce Tucker; Lanice White; Sue Wink; music by: Ken Field; John Escobedo; Gabriel Gurrola; DJ Bryan Masse; Bobby Villegas; Gilbert Licon; food by: Peppers Bar & Grill; Tinnie Mercantile & Deli; My Daddy's Barbeque, Carlsbad; RAiR Board Members; open studio/house artists: Krista Birnbaum; David Bogus; Susan Marie Dopp; Nick Conbere; Stewart MacFarlane; Kike Mayer; Flo McGarrell; Heather O'Hara; David Politzer; Raissa Venables; piñata by: Cristina González, Edie Tsong; donations: RMAC Foundation, First Presbyterian Church; Grace Corn Heritage House; International UFO Museum; tote bag printing: Woods Sports.  Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau; Sierra Blanca Brewing Company; Roswell Chamber of Commerce; Bob Carroll & Leslie Lawner; Bill & Cymantha Liakos; Representatives forGovernor Bill Richardson: Senator Tim Jennings and Stuart Ashman, Secretary, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs