Skip to content

Dia de los Muertos in Questa

October 22, 2016



Tuesday, November 1, 4 – 7 pm

OCHO Art + Event Space, #8 Hwy. 38, Questa, NM (parking across street)
Free – Donations welcome
More Info or to volunteer: Gaea McGahee,, (575­)224­-2102

All are invited to join in Questa’s second annual collaborative Dia de los Muertos celebration, featuring artwork by Questa Junior and Senior High School students. Enjoy art and activities, Aztec dancers at 5pm, followed by a feast, then mariachi music. Community members will contribute posole, prune pies, hot chocolate, atole, apples, local cider, and the Questa Junior-Senior High School culinary arts students will make “pan de muerto.” At 6:30, Questa Mariachi students will perform in a candlelit gallery to close our festive evening with La Llorona.

1_aztecDia de los Muertos is a time to honor our loved ones and ancestors with ritual and celebration and gather the living in these observances. With intertwining cultural roots it combines Spanish, Aztec, and even earlier indigenous traditions. It is a time to remember the dead with celebration, bright colors, and food with strong flavors; this may explain why Day of the Dead has spread across the world. This ritual offers a container for our feelings of sorrow at the death of our beloveds. And by treating the eventuality with humor, we recognize we are all sojourners; some are simply further ahead.

Dia de Los Muertos in Questa explores traditional activities and innovative elements centered around community and art. Supplies and instructions will be provided for decorating sugar skulls, writing calaveras or “memory poems,” making paper marigolds, and colorful prints with traditional imagery. These items can adorn altars or be taken home. Guests on the evening of Nov 1st may bring photos of loved ones or objects to add to a community altar. A pet altar will be created to honor animal friends. Items can be brought ahead of time to the OCHO gallery, which will be open on Oct 29th and 30th.

The event will also feature calavera face painting for all ages with Peggy Trigg, printmaking with Joan Long, and writing letters to the dead at “The Dead Letter Office” with author and teacher, Annie Mattingley. (The Saturday prior to the event (Oct. 29th) Mattingley will lead the “Writing Letters to the Dead” workshop, 2 – 4 pm at OCHO. Suggested donation to OCHO $5. For more information or to sign up for the workshop, contact author and teacher, Annie Mattingley at (575) 586-1792.)

Dia de los Muertos in Questa Schedule, Tuesday, November 1, 4-7 pm:
4 – 6:30 pm Activities and Constructing Altars/Ofrendas
5 pm Aztec Dancers
5:30 pm Feasting
6:30-7pm Music / Candle Lighting

Coordinated by Gaea McGahee, the collaborative event is the collective effort of LEAP (, OCHO (, Questa Junior-Senior High School students and teachers as well as community volunteers. The event is made possible by funding from the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Fund, Chevron Questa Mine Community Fund, Questa Economic Development Fund as well as individual donations and many in-kind contributions and volunteers.






Thank you for a wonderful ¡Pollinate! Art Show!

October 22, 2016

img_3083Thank you for exploring this important and beautiful topic with us this year. A huge thank you to our twenty-four ¡Pollinate! Art Show artists who brought such wonderful vision and diversity of approach and medium to the show and theme. We got lots of great feedback on the show and compliments on the quality and diversity of the artwork.

Local and regional artists featured were:

Abby Salsbury
Barrie  Andrews
Cella Costanza
Claire Coté
Diane de Fremery
Geneviève de Vellis
Jean Frey
Joan Long
Joan Young
Julia Ruth Claus
Katie Woodall
Lee Lee and Susanna Mitchell
Mandy Stapleford
Martha Shepp
Mary Barnes
Michael Coleman
Mike Ridder
Peggy Trigg
Phil Gruis
Robert Perez Jr.
Scott Randolph
Sybille Palmer
Tulsi Shaw

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks also to our volunteers, visitors and patrons, everyone who came out for the opening reception and stopped by during the show’s two-months in the gallery. Special thanks to Deuce Jazz Duo is Mary Rose (flute and alto flute) and Joseph Salack, (piano and bass) who played at the reception and to all of you that purchased artwork! Many volunteer hours went into making this show possible, and we appreciate every person that contributed in their own way during set-up, reception, gallery-sitting and take-down!

20160802_164344Special thanks to Jean Frey and Katie Woodall and Martha Shepp, who showed up just in the nick of time, for helping to curate and install the show and to Dawn Provencher and Ella Maloy for their great help with the Pollination Sensorium. Without these creative, capable women, the show would not have come together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kids of all ages enjoyed exploring the Pollination Sensorium: information, games, the “pollinator water fountain activity” and  the magnification table were all a great hit! We look forward to expanding this hands-on pollination curriculum and offering it to more kids and in more forms in the future through LEAP/SEED programming.

Thanks to financial support for the ¡Pollinate! Art Show by Taos County, Questa Economic Development Fund, Chevron Questa Mine Community Fund as well as by other local business, individual donations and in-kind support.

Take note: LEAP will be taking a break from curating a themed art show at OCHO in 2017, but you all will be the first to know when our next local/regional call to artists is out for any future shows. Thank you for your continued support!




Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange – first season, it’s a wrap!

October 16, 2016


The Northern NM Growers and Makers Exchange (G&ME) took place nearly every Sunday from June 12th to October 2nd on the corner of hwy 522 and 38 in Questa’s village center. We offered a variety of food and craft to enjoy and take home. Community members were served by the G&ME and visitors came, too. We met folks traveling north to Denver and other Colorado cities after a weekend in Taos, and others coming north from the southern NM. If you joined us as a visitor, patron or vendor, we thank you for you participation!

(click on above images to view in slideshow mode)

Offerings included:
Traditional and gluten free baked goods
Vegetarian Lunch options and Frito Pies
Good coffee
Jams, jellies, honey
Bread and tortillas
Plants and starts and birdhouses
Handmade belts to fit
Home sewn items
Pottery and photographs
Fresh flowers and garden produce

And many Sundays of live music shared by local musicians – our thanks to:
Dean Gitter
Johnathan Hutchinson*
Mary Rose
Michael Rael
Bill Scott
Wyman Edwards

*Special thanks to Jonathan Hutchison not only for his own wonderful musical performance but also for helping to organize and facilitate music at G&ME Sundays!


We also send out our thanks to Cristina (on puppets) and Nat (on accordion) who brought Puppet Theatre los Titiriteros to the G&ME at the end of July!

The G&ME gave community members a place to gather and exchange goods, as well as spend time with one another, often around a table, sharing good food. It demonstrated that, while structural economic barriers exist, our community members are motivated to take on challenges and help themselves.

Our market gave those of us selling a chance to visit, too, and talk about our hopes for overcoming these barriers. One much-discussed need is for a commercial kitchen that supports local makers so they are able to scale-up production and enter larger regional marketplaces.

The Growers and Makers Exchange members want to explore what to do next. One thing we’d like to see is more vendors and a wider variety of offerings.

We’re interested in your feedback. We want to know if we ought to try again next season, what you thought worked, and what we could change to make it better. Again, we met on Sundays and our hours where about 10am to 2pm. Feedback on the hours and day would be great.

Share what you thought with organizer, Gaea McGahee,, or at our G&ME Facebook page.



NeoRio 2016: Cross-Pollination, Community + Gratitude!

October 1, 2016

dscn9864What a beautiful day it was on September 17th at Wild Rivers in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument; a perfect day to enjoy our 8th annual NeoRio!

NeoRio this year was “abuzz” with a diversity of art installations and cross-pollination between our three featured artists, community members and visitors from near and far. The setting and majesty of the landscape also afforded moments of solitude and contemplation.

dscn9870Visitors followed the NeoRio map to discover Lee Lee’s colorful and poignant paintings and interactive, educational installations; Viviane Le Courtois’ five site-specific, sculptural installations attracted both pollinators and people with their hand-crafted, beauty and natural elements; and Jenny Lynn McNutt’s pop-up gallery  displayed her “cabinet of curiosities” on the honey bee.

, by Lee Lee

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Reconciliation: Sculptures for Humans and Pollinators, by Viviane Le Courtois

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Precise Breathing or Why I Call My Baby Honey, by Jenny Lynn McNutt

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Members of the Northern NM Growers and Makers Exchange and other volunteer cooks made an incredible fall feast enjoyed by all, accompanied by music from Justin Dean and Mark Dudrow (High Desert Acoustic Duo). The menu consisted of a mostly local, organic and homemade assortment of dishes: torta de juevos (spanish quiche), calabacitas (summer squash, corn and green chiles), frijoles (beans), two kinds of homemade salsa, local green salad and two kinds of homemade dressing, homemade tortillas, dinner rolls, butter and homemade/local jams, and a special chutney made by Lee Lee from her family’s apple orchard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sipping hot cider and crunching Falvio’s “melt-in your mouth” biscochitos, audience members were given a tour of our three featured artists’ works and practice. The breadth and depth of their work, international scope and professionalism wowed and educated us. Music around the campfire concluded the evening.

(All photos used in this post are courtesy of Carrie Leven)

A deep thank you to the many dedicated individuals for their time and labor given to make the event a success!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Huge thanks go specifically to:

  • Lee Lee, Viviane Le Courtois and Jenny Lynn McNutt, our featured artists, for sharing their work at the event and for offering their artist talks. Although we offer NeoRio artists a stipend to help cover supplies and travel, their time and expertise are donated. With out this generosity the past eight NeoRio events would not have been possible.
  • Chris Coté for endless moral and logistical support, providing fire wood for the campfire and shlepping equipment to and from Wild Rivers.
  • Gaea McGahee, NeoRio Food Maven, for graceful and delicious food coordination and preparation.
  • Martha Shepp and Dawn Provencher for their invaluable help with set-up and site beautification.
  • Growers & Makers Exchange cooks, Kathy Morsell and Chris, Wendy and Alex Medina as well as food volunteers, Jeannie Masters, Kate Cisneros and Flavio Cisneros for their delicious food!
  • Timothy and Connie Long for providing the tents for the event, childcare and helping with set-up and clean-up, down to the last details.
  • Joan Long for helping with lunch for our NeoRio volunteers as well as hours spent on set-up.
  • Bill an Joan McDonald for great help at the event.
  • Alberta Bouyer, for parking coordination and help with PR.
  • Kathy and Chris, Kostecki-Shaw Family, Dawn, Cerro Vista Farm and Lee Lee for providing beautiful flowers and foliage to decorate the event!
  • All BLM staff and volunteers – most especially to Wild Rivers Manager, Teddy Lucero, and Rangers, Tim Long and Jamie for many onsite details; John Bailey for coordination and administration and all the helpful BLM volunteers for on-the-ground support.
  • PPC Solar for generously providing solar electricity to power the event.
  • Siena Sanderson and Mark Goldman for hosting featured artist Jenny Lynn McNutt and her husband for the duration of their stay in NM for NeoRio.
  • Carrie Leven for photographing the event.
  • Musicians, Justin Dean, Mark Dudrow and Jonathan Hutchison for providing wonderful tunes for the evening.
  • Morning after clean-up crew  including Barrie Andrews, Mark White and others.

Our sincere thanks also go to the Questa Economic Development Fund (QEDF), Questa Mine Community Fund, Taos County, Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Fund and the many individual donors as well as local businesses and collaborators (especially OCHO and our parent organization, Localogy) for supporting the event. With out the support of grants and donations this annual event would not be possible.

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. Let’s do it again next year!

We would love to hear what you thought of the event and we are always interested in suggestions and feedback: or call Claire 575-224-9066.

Every NeoRio event is a unique collaboration of artists, area nonprofits, organizations, businesses and our host, the Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office. This growing 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 came to the event or contributed in some way!












Save the Date! Saturday, Sept. 17 – NeoRio 2016

August 28, 2016


Saturday, September 17,  4 pm

Montoso Campground, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Wild Rivers

Enjoy thought-provoking art installations on the rim of Rio Grande river gorge. In its 8th year, NeoRio is a truly unique event for the Taos area.  This year features three projects by three artists; “ADRIFT – MIGRATION – HOME” by Lee Lee, “Reconciliation: Sculptures for Humans and Pollinators” by Viviane Le Courtois, and “Precise Breathing or Why I Call My Baby Honey” by Jenny Lynn McNutt.  Each artist approaches the theme of pollination in a unique way. Come enjoy art, scenery, local fall feast, campfire, poetry & music. Organized by LEAP in collaboration with BLM as a Public Lands Day Event, FREE. More info…

(click on above images for enlarged view + details)

Saturday, August 13: ¡Pollinate! Art Show Reception, 5 – 8 pm

August 8, 2016

AdPollinateArtShowWebOPENING RECEPTION Saturday Aug. 13, 5-8 pm
Come celebrate pollination with works by 24 local artists, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and music by Deuce Jazz Duo (Mary Rose and Joseph Salack). People’s Choice Awards will be announced at the end of the evening. Don’t miss the hands-on “Pollination Sensorium” room. Read press release HERE.

What: Art Show from LEAP’s summer theme: Pollination – it happens all around us, impacts much of our lives and yet remains a mystery. Local artists take on the theme and share their interpretations and inspirations.

When: August 6 – September 25, open Friday through Sunday, 11-5 pm
Park: Across the street, unless handicapped
Bring: Your checkbook! Works are for sale. Proceeds benefit OCHO and the artists
Contact: LEAP director Claire Coté at; (575) 224-9066

REMINDER: Artists submit your Pollination Artwork today!

August 1, 2016

Submission info/form HERE!

Pollinate Call to Artists Poster