Thursday, September 30, 2010

Las Cruces Style keeps evolving

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — Las Cruces style keeps evolving and just when I think I have a pretty good handle on our distinctive brand of panache, I have a couple of months that convince me that we just might be the global epicenter of innovation.
Some of the changes involve new twists on old favorites.
As I learned doing a Sept. 25 Mi Casa story on the Reynolds-Chávez-Fountain house, sometimes stylish souls born elsewhere, like Midwestern transplants Lori Miller and Len Gambrell, can have profound insights about enhancing — and dedication to preserving — Borderland style. Their renovations to the beloved 1860s, two-story adobe Territorial home and grounds is remarkable. Like settlers in the time of the home’s birth, they’ve gracefully merged their own heritage with vintage Mesilla style.
(And by the way, you city officials who balk at the challenges of preserving a single iconic Downtown Mall Chinese pistache tree, the couple have managed to transplant and preserve an entire small orchard of fruit and nut trees while renovating their pretty little acre.)
Sometimes, it’s a native son who travels the world and brings back some fresh ideas to contribute to the evolution of Las Cruces style. Check out today’s Artist of the Week profile of Michael Poncé. He grew up here and went off to live and study in San Francisco, New York and London, with exotic stopovers that have ranged from Kentucky to India, Australia and Hong Kong. I was amazed to see how gracefully he’s blended Pan-Cultural and Borderland influences in his art and downtown Las Cruces home. I can’t to see what he’s done in his new gallery, Michael Poncé Contemporary at 508 N. Mesquite St. Check it out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday during the second monthly Camino del Arte tour of Mesquite historic district galleries and restaurants.
And speaking of stylish innovations, if you missed the first Camino tour, you’ll have more chances the second Saturday of each month at these locations: Gabriella Denton Studio, 403-B E. Court Ave., Unsettled Gallery & Studio, 905 N. Mesquite St., Mesquite Street Studios, 922 N. Mesquite St. Studios, Mesquite Art Gallery, 340 N. Mesquite St., Studio 308, No. 1, 308 N. Mesquite St., Nopalito’s Galeria, 326 S. Mesquite St., Joyce T. Macrorie Studio, 639 San Pedro St., New Dimension Artworks, 615-B E. Piñon Ave., Tony Pennock Studio, 721 N. Mesquite St. and Michael Poncé Contemporary, 508 N. Mesquite St.; plus 10 restaurants: Nopalito, La Nueva Casita, La Guadalupana, El Tiburon Mariscos, Kiva Patio Café, Tacos Santa Fe, Roberto’s, El Sombrero Patio Café, Church’s Chicken and Lujan Bakery.
I really enjoyed the first round, complete with a horse-drawn carriages, cosmopolitan artists and a transforming street that reminded me a lot of Albuquerque’s Old Town, with lots of people in the ‘hood for Camino, plus an event at Klein Park, and the first Color Las Cruces Plein Air Festival Community Art Festival.
I also ran into Las Cruces stylin’ trendsetter Bob Diven, making his own rogue plein air statement with a dinosaur chalk drawing on a Main Street sidewalk.
Now he says he’ll do some chalk art every Saturday morning during the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market. See some samples of his street creatures at
And speaking of the market, LCF&CM ranked No. 1 in New Mexico and No. 9 in the nation for markets with more than 56 vendors in a nationwide poll, despite an unpopular move in a time when the most popular part of the Downtown Mall is thoroughly torn up for renovations. And the market is looking better than ever, which is kind of an impressive Ginger Rogers achievement. (Wags have noted that she did everything just as well as Fred Astaire did, and she managed to do it backward, in heels!)
No wonder Pendleton is naming blankets after us and furniture and home accessory makers are coming out with Las Cruces lines.
Ah, Las Cruces style.
We always had it. Always will.
And we keep getting better all the time.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

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