‘O Fair New Mexico’ art show features Las Cruces couple

Throughout 50 years of marriage, a shared love for art and for New Mexico has patterned the life and work of Ken and Betty Krebbs.

Thirty-six of their paintings make up the show, “O Fair New Mexico: Land of Enchantment,” which opens in the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s Arts Corridor on Aug. 20. A free meet-and-greet with the artists is set for 2-4 p.m. on Aug. 21.

Ken, from Texas, and Betty, a New Yorker, made the “Land of Enchantment” their home and are deeply connected to its history, culture, and natural beauty. 

The paintings – Ken’s in oil, and Betty’s in watercolor and pastels– cover a wide variety of scenes that capture the beauty and texture of New Mexico. There are farm scenes that feature crops and farmworkers, ranching and cowboy scenes, rural life, and landscapes. The show displays the state’s agricultural diversity.

“Living our busy lives, we found little time to paint before retirement,” said Betty. “Now we share our home studio, comfortable with painting in our different styles. What joy it brings me when painting at my easel, and I look over to see Ken painting at his easel! Our favorite theme is New Mexico, loving its beauty, people, and culture. So, in this exhibit “O Fair New Mexico” we share our love and appreciation for both art and our dear state.”

The couple named their show after the song, “O Fair New Mexico, written by Elizabeth Garrett, the daughter of Sheriff Pat Garrett. Elizabeth, blind from birth, was an accomplished musician.  In 1917, Governor Lindsey signed legislation making it the official state song. In 1928, it was set to the music of John Philip Sousa.

“We are thankful that the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum so successfully integrates history and local artists’ reaction to history through their artistic endeavors,” she said. “It’s a favorite destination for us when a new exhibit is created and often take visitors there during their stay. We especially appreciate the featured art display, enjoying the varied perspectives of farm and ranch life in New Mexico. Multiple visits often fill us with great appreciation for the creative talent in our community.”

Ken and Betty met when they both worked at the Popular Dry Good’s display department in El Paso. After marrying and starting a family, they established “The Ink Well,” a silk-screening business. Later, Ken became ”The Village Cabinetmaker” in Cloudcroft, N.M. Betty began teaching and integrated art into her curriculum. Now retired, they devote much of their time to creating art.

The show will be exhibited through Dec. 5, 2021.

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