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NeoRio 2011: Water Mark

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On Saturday, September 10, 2011, join in the third annual NeoRio Festival, celebrating art, nature, culture and community. All are invited to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area, to experience and celebrate the place through arts and community events on this year’s theme “Water Mark.” NeoRio 2011 will feature artwork by sculptor and environmental artist, Daniel Richmond and an evening of innovative short films projected outdoors with solar power and created on-site at Wild Rivers by John Wenger, UNM professor Emeritus, Andrew Rising and the Wild Earth Studio team. The footage for these films was shot on site at Wild Rivers during the Artist Rendezvous in May 2011. Among these films will be a film called, “What’s in the Water”, made with puppet-like props, created and operated by Questa Junior High art students. The film is the result of a week-long, arts-based “study” of local aquatic species with Jennifer Vialpando’s Junior High Art Class in Questa, funded by a small grant from the Public Lands Interpretive Association. The project culminated in a fieldtrip to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area, where the students  brought their puppets to life in an experimental set on the rim of gorge. On September 10th, this film will be premiered alongside other Wild Earth Studio film creations. BLM Park Ranger and Assistant Manager of the Upper Rio Grande Gorge, Aron Rael says about this film project, “This was a great opportunity for young artists to be exposed to seasoned artists like John Wenger and the other artists involved in NeoRio. And it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Hosted by the BLM Taos Field Office, NeoRio is organized by LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place), in collaboration with John Wenger of Wild Earth Studio, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the Village of Questa, Localogy and others. According to Aron Rael, “Wild Rivers is one of the best recreation areas in Northern New Mexico. And we’re proud to host this synergy with artists, local community members, schools and scientists through this event.”

NeoRio is a themed and curated event propagating creativity and cross-pollination between artists, conservationists, scientists and others interested in protecting and celebrating our local communities and wild lands. The ancient relationship between humans, our fellow creatures and our environment is a complex story of interdependence. NeoRio explores this story through innovative artworks and happenings. It asks: what is the role of art in experiencing and protecting wild lands and what is the role of wild lands in art? This year NeoRio asks these questions through the theme, “Water Mark” in the artwork of Daniel Richmond and Films by the Wild Earth Studio Team. Daniel describes his sculptural installations as “ephemeral, participatory and often involve language that references the endangered nature of many global species and cultures.” The Wild Earth Studio Films were shot during the “artists rendezvous” on site at Wild Rivers in May 2011 and edited by John Wenger and Andrew Rising.

On Saturday, September 10th, at 2pm the public is invited to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area Visitor Center, for brief presentations from event host and sponsors and an artist talk by NeoRio Featured Artist, Daniel Richmond introducing his work, followed by the opportunity to participate in creating his unique, earth pigment, ground stencils drawn from conversations with locals about water. The event continues with an evening celebration of food, a campfire, live music provided by Michael Rael and Tim Long and outdoor short film screenings on the rim of the gorge. Participants are requested to bring chairs for the evening as well as a drink and a dessert to share. According to NeoRio coordinator, Claire Coté, “In the last two years, NeoRio has been a great event that creatively and intelligently celebrates our rivers and the Wild Lands surrounding them. We plan to keep the momentum going with another great event this year! And we are especially pleased this year to be featuring a Wild Earth Studio film collaboration with Questa Junior High Students!”

Celebrate art and nature and explore the Wild Rivers Recreation Area on September 10th. NeoRio events are free and open to all. Camping is available at Wild Rivers for $7 per night.  Artists and interested public are encouraged to come and camp out on Thursday and Friday nights before NeoRio and join the Wild Earth Studio NeoRio suppoert Team at the Montoso Camp Ground. Interested? Contact Claire at or call 575-586-2362

Hosted by the BLM Taos Field Office, NeoRio is organized by us, LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place), in collaboration with New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, John Wenger of Wild Earth Studio, the Village of Questa, HEREKEKE and others.

To learn more or become a NeoRio sponsor or volunteer email Claire at or call 575-586-2362.

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