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Exploring Universal Elements at NeoRio 2019 – Belated Gratitude and Video!

July 10, 2020

It was a beautiful Fall day on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Wild Rivers Montoso Campground as attendees explored the theme “Universal Elements” for LEAP’s 11th annual outdoor contemporary art celebration. The deep blue autumn sky overhead, sounds of the flowing Rio drifting up through the gorge, and comfortably cooler temperatures made it extra special. Performances and participatory installations included Cynthia Moku’s contemplative “One Continuous Gesture” community brushstroke performance; Laurianne Fiorentino’s concert exploring elements of the Periodic Table through music; and Sarah Parker’s fun collaborative, illustrated Periodic Table of Elements fabric installation. A bountiful locally sourced feast was prepared and served on site for all by Questa Farmers Market team led by Gaea McGahee and many volunteers, accompanied by soulful tunes from Justin Dean and Mark Dudrow. The evening culminated with artist talks at dusk with hot chocolate and Flavio’s famous biscochitos. We had a more intimate crowd this year with approximately one third of folks joining us from within a 20-mile radius, and the other two-thirds from the Taos area and further afield New Mexico towns, cities, and surrounding states.

Thank you to all who helped make NeoRio possible this year – artists, musicians, collaborators, volunteers, donors and sponsors. A deep thank you to the many dedicated individuals for their time and labor given to make the event a success!

Huge thanks to the NeoRio Team:

  • Sarah Dzieweczynski for event logistics expertise and MCing!
  • Martha Shepp and Emily Wilde for graphic design!
  • Chris Coté for endless moral and logistical support, set-up and take down and providing fire wood for the campfire and shlepping equipment to and from Wild Rivers.
  • Timothy and Connie Long for providing tents for the event, childcare and helping with set-up and clean-up, down to the last details and beyond!
  • Gaea McGahee, NeoRio Food Maven, and her fleet of dedicated volunteers for graceful and delicious food coordination, preparation and service!
  • Questa Farmers Market Cooks Wendy and Alex Medina as well as community cooks, Jeannie Masters, Kate Cisneros, Flavio Cisneros, and Dawn Provencher for their delicious food contributions!
  • Joan Eilers and Aimee Deans for setup, childcare, event support and clean-up!
  • Judy Cuddihy for representing Questa Stories at the event!
  • Mike Powers for facilitating the Universal Elements education activities tables!
  • Joan Long for cooking delicious lunches for our NeoRio volunteers!
  • Lynn Galusky, Raffle Table Maven!
  • Steve Bishop, Francis Donald, Martha Shepp and Tim and Connie Long for much help with tents!
  • Joan and Bill McDonald for welcoming visitors and providing information and general event help.
  • Sherri and Daniel at Cerro Vista Farm for providing beautiful and unique flowers and foliage to decorate the event and much of the food for the feast.
  • NeoRio Shuttle Service and driver, Sandra, Sandra provided by Los Rios River Runners, with special thanks to owner, Cisco Geuvara.
  • All BLM staff and volunteers – most especially to Wild Rivers Manager, Teddy Lucero, and Ranger, Tim Long for delivering the introduction to “Leave No Trace” and many onsite details and generous support.
  • PPC Solar for generously providing solar electricity to power the event.
  • Emily Wilde, Loralee Mattison, Carrie Leven, Hae Won Kwon and Billy Sims for photographing and videoing the event.
  • Musicians Justin Dean and Mark Dudrow for providing wonderful tunes for the evening.
  • Many thanks to the Sunday Morning clean-up crew including Joan Eilers, Aimee Deans, Chris Cote, Tim and Connie Long and others!

Special thanks to our supporters: NeoRio is made possible by individual donations, local business and media sponsorships as well as generous grant support, inkind donations and volunteers. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional thanks also to grants from Taos County, Chevron Questa Mine Grants for Good, and Questa Economic Development Fund and sponsorships from PPC Solar, Zia Event Design, North Star Toys, Los Rios River Runners, Questa Credit Union, Centinel Bank, Taos News, Questa Farmers Market, Common Fire, Cerro Vista Farm, Cid’s Market, 203 Fine Art, Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, Angie Coleman Studio, Paseo Pottery, Envision Gallery, and from generous donations from individuals. 

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone who came to experience and participate in the the event! Your presence and participation provided the alchemy that made it a success. Without this kind of generosity and participation, the past eleven NeoRio events would not have been possible.

We would love to hear what you thought of the event! We are always interested in suggestions, photos and feedback: emailforleap@gmail.com or call Claire 575-224-9066.

Every NeoRio event is a unique collaboration of artists, collaborators, organizations, businesses and our host, the Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office. This circle of collaboration, connections and relationships are an important part of NeoRio and LEAP’s work and we hope to continue to enrich and strengthen these relationships through each project and event! Thank you to all who attended or contributed in some way!

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