March 2014

Newsbites – March 2014


Northern New Mexico Regional Art Center Events

The Northern New Mexico Regional Art Center, a nonprofit organization based in the Plaza de Española, is under contract with the city of Española to provide arts education management services to the community. NNMRAC operates the Convento Gallery, a gift shop and visitor center on the Plaza. The organization also provides after-school art, music/chorus classes year-round, including a Summer Arts Academy.


On March 14, between 5 and 7 pm, there will be an opening reception for Río Rancho artists Jean Kempinsky and Dick Overfield. Their exhibition ends April 11. The annual NNMRAC Santo Niño Festival of the Artists will hold its benefit performances on April 17 and 18. Friday evening will see an opening reception in the Convento Gallery with a free showing of a film about the arts in New Mexico in the Misión on the Plaza. On Saturday from 9 am-4 pm there will be artists’ booths, food, dance and music on the Plaza. At 2 pm is a ticketed performance of the Española Valley High School Chorus and the NNMRAC Española Valley Children’s Choir, under the direction of Brian Wingard, music teacher at Española High School. There will also be a performance by local Pueblo dancers and a Hispanic children’s dance group. Tickets for the 2 pm performance are on sale.


For information about NNMRAC, these and many more events, contact NNMRAC’s executive director, John D. Werenko, at 505.500.7126 or email



Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area Management Plan Approved

Approval Brings Increased Funding to New Mexico


The Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area (NRGNHA) management plan has been approved by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. The approval makes the nonprofit Heritage Area eligible to receive up to $300,000 each year through the National Park Service. The funds will be used to help sustain the cultural traditions, landscapes, environment, languages and architecture of the area, which encompasses Taos, Río Arriba and Santa Fe counties.


The NRGNHA board is comprised of community members who live, work and hold fast to the enduring cultural and heritage traditions that makes the northern Río Grande area so unique, which is why it was designated by Congress in 2006. Extensive planning and outreach began in 2007. Founding member and former Heritage Area Director José Villa stated, “It’s important to the Hispano and Indio character that our kids get re-acquainted with our heritage so they understand and take pride in who they are.”     


Current Executive Director Tomás Romero said, “There are 49 heritage areas throughout the country, most of them in the East. This approval enables New Mexico and its multicultural heritage to take a prominent place in America’s history and story.” Board President and Taos Pueblo tribal member Vernon Lujan said, “This plan sets the course for the NRGNHA for implementing cultural preservation, educational outreach and fundraising that will benefit our communities.”


For more information, call 505.753.0937 or 505.660.5882 or e-mail



Grant Funding for Rural Business and Economic Development

April 1 Application Deadline


USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program. The funds can be used to finance and facilitate the development of small, private, business enterprises—any private business that employs 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in projected gross revenues. The funds can also be used to pay for technical assistance for such things as feasibility studies, business plans, business development training, or to establish revolving loan funds. 


This financial assistance cannot be granted directly to a private business. The funding is available to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education and Indian tribes to facilitate and finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural communities and cities up to 50,000 in population. Priority will be given to requests of $50,000 or less and will receive points for projects that support local food systems and value-added agriculture, minority- and women-owned businesses, access to capital markets, bio-based products or bio-fuels.


Information can be obtained from the State Office in Albuquerque at 505.761.4953 or at:



International Conference on Progress and the Indigenous Experience—March 13-15 in ABQ


The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) will host the first “Indigenous Intervention,” an international Indigenous conference on the concept of progress, at the Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque. The interdisciplinary conference will explore progress as it applies to art, business, culture, economics, education, health, history, land, literature, music, philosophy, politics and social theory. In the Indigenous world, progress has also meant assimilation, economic development, educational reform, cultural change, artistic expression, evolution/devolution, language revitalization or preservation, according to Stephen Wall (White Earth), conference organizer and chair of IAIA’s Indigenous Liberal Studies Department.


The idea is simply to bring people together to talk about ideas on issues that affect Indigenous people,” Wall said. “Both in our individual communities and worldwide the dominant society has had mass influence. It’s really important to create a forum to share information and learn from each other that there is a real need for intervention.”


Presenters include staff members, instructors and faculty from the Denver American Indian Commission, IAIA, University of Arizona, Sustainable Nations, Syracuse University, University of Coimbra, UNM, and University of Saskatchewan, among others. The keynote speaker is multimedia artist and IAIA alumna Rose B. Simpson.


One-day and full, three-day registration fees are available. A special undergraduate rate for students for the entire conference is $50. For more information or to register: 505.424.2376, or visit



Climate Hub’ Will Help New Mexico’s Farmers and Ranchers Adapt to Climate Change


President Obama has named the Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, NM, the US Dept. of Agriculture Southwest “climate hub.” As one of seven climate hubs across the US, it will provide information to rural communities in New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona to help them prepare for and try to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The climate hub will be a clearinghouse for resources and technology to help farmers and ranchers manage risks such as drought and wildfire and find the tools they need to adapt to the increasingly shifting climate. More than three dozen universities, as well as state and federal agencies, are partnering to share information through the hub.


Climate change in the Southwest is a threat to the economy, to jobs and the way of life of families—especially those whose livelihoods depend on the land and a limited water supply. It has meant earlier and harsher fire seasons, warmer temperatures and less snow. More than 50 percent of the flow in the Río Grande is from snowmelt.



Soil Solutions Lecture and Workshop


Imagine you could grow almost anything you wanted with the soil in your yard, using less water and producing biomass that is virtually immune to pests and requires few costly inputs. Dr. Elaine Ingham, Ph.D., soil biologist, will be in northern New Mexico March 12-13 to explain how to do it. Here in New Mexico, shelter from wind and cold would be a part of the equation. It also involves understanding things like the ratio of bacteria to fungi. Ingham will discuss the microbiology of soil, the needs of crops and how to make composts and extracts to strengthen the soil food web. Knowing these sorts of things we can become soil managers and tweak these relationships with biological solutions instead of chemical solutions to create the ideal soil composition based on what we want to grow.


Dr. Ingham will speak from 7-9 pm on March 12 at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion. Admission is $10. On March 13 she will teach a workshop from 8:30 am to 5 pm at Northern NM College’s main administration building in Española. The workshop is $99. For more information, call 505.819.3828 or visit



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles