National monument inspiration for art show

An art show inspired by the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument and the nearby ranches and farmland opens at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces on April 23.

“Monumental Territory” will be displayed in the Museum’s Arts Corridor through the end of July 2021. The show features 22 creative works by Las Cruces artist Kayla Blundell.

Her artist-in-residence selection for the Friends of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument program in 2016 inspired the art in this show.  The exhibit displays abstract paintings, including acrylic spray paint,  and photographs. Her work relates to the culture of New Mexico as it captures the beauty of the national monument and the farm life and ranch communities near it. In some of her mixed media work, she uses paper mache to make a 3-D effect to help the viewer experience the sensation of the mountains and the maar volcanic arc known as Kilbourne Hole in southern Doña Ana County.

“One of the first things all the farmers, ranchers, and New Mexicans in the surrounding area see each new day (are the mountains), and it is one great historic landmark that connects all people who live here and continues to be a landmark in our lives,” said Blundell. “We get so used to the areas we live in and tend to be trapped in complacency, forgetting to look around at the gorgeous surroundings.

“If you drive down Baylor Canyon Road, you will see three things: ranchlands with roaming cattle, the river and farmlands in the distance, and the beautiful national monument,” she said “Also, if you drive in the valley, you will see three things: the farmland, the ranching livestock, and of course the beautiful national monument.”

In her photography, Blundell captures the scenes and farm life that she enjoys in hopes to encourage those around her to love the farm and ranch life within the monumental territory.  Painting is a passion she carries and uses to express herself through the surrounding nature and culture.

Blundell was born and raised in West Texas. She moved to Las Cruces in 2011 when she married her husband, Josh Blundell, who assisted her with this show. He made all the frames for her work.


About the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is a sprawling, 47-acre facility in Las Cruces that shares and preserves the region’s 4,000-year history of growing food. The campus features barns, corrals, livestock, art galleries, indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a gift shop and snack bar. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and is supported by the Friends of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

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