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Pearl of the Pecos arts projects take shape in downtown Carlsbad

Carlsbad Current-Argus logo Carlsbad Current-Argus 7/30/2021 Mike Smith, Carlsbad Current-Argus
a sign on the side of the street: The "Greetings from Carlsbad" mural needs final touches before its done. © Mike Smith Current-Argus The "Greetings from Carlsbad" mural needs final touches before its done.

Transformation continued on a former blank wall hiding trashcans from Carlsbad commuters near the north parking lot of the Eddy County Courthouse.

Kat Davis, executive director for the Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Cultural District, said the wall at the corner of Canyon Street and Stevens Street was a “landmark point” for the District.

“So, it does kind of stick out and it also blends in. Once I just saw it in the light, I wanted to do a mural. I want it in the District. I want it to signify where we are and once the mural on that wall was in my mind that was it. That’s where it needed to go,” she said.

Davis donations from the Carlsbad community made the “Greetings from Carlsbad” mural possible. The total cost of the project is around $7,000.

“Individuals are going to be the ones that got it done and get it finished. We did receive City of Carlsbad Lodger’s Tax for advertising purposes after the fact. So that’s going to be really great to get some nice pictures done, promote it and advertise to different areas of the state,” she said.

Capitan artist Michael Fish placed artistic touches on the front of the mural. Davis said he is well known in Lincoln County. He painted a similar mural in Ruidoso.

“Once I got into this more, I knew for a piece like that here I wanted somebody who had done it previously and done it very successfully as the Ruidoso one is pretty well known,” she said.

Davis said the mural’s purpose was attracting more people to downtown Carlsbad and work should be complete near the end of August.

"I know that Kat and Pearl of the Pecos have worked really hard on that mural. It's been something they've been wanting to do for quite some time and it's an amazing addition to the Arts and Culture District and downtown Carlsbad," said Ward 3 Carlsbad City Councilor Jason Shirley. 

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the mural showcases multiple facets of Carlsbad and Eddy County.

 "We support all ongoing efforts to beautify Carlsbad," he said.

Work continued on downtown heritage property  

Just around the block from the new mural is a downtown Carlsbad landmark under renovation. 

Nearly eight decades ago the Cavern Theater opened its doors and for nearly seven years the City of Carlsbad led restoration work to turn the former movie theater into a performing arts center, according to the City of Carlsbad website.

Davis said phase three completions of modernizing essentials like air conditioning were complete.

“I know the plans for phase four are still in the works and that’s going to take a lot of community support to hopefully see that through,” she said.

Davis said public tours of the former theater were conducted during the Carlsbad Farmers’ Market Third Thursday events.

“The (Carlsbad) MainStreet District got some windowpanes a couple of weeks ago that kind of shows the history and some pictures of what it looked like and that gives you history on the theater,” she said.

Davis said movies, musicals, plays, and poetry presentations are part of the future plans for the Cavern Theater.

“It’s going to be an economic driver in general. It’s going to be great for the restaurants in the District. Because everybody wants a bite to eat before a show. All around I thinks it’s going to be a huge benefit,” she said.

a green tiled wall and a brick wall: The ticket booth at the Cavern Theater. © Jessica Onsurez Current-Argus The ticket booth at the Cavern Theater.

Shirley said city leaders expressed excitement at the theater's refurbishment. 

"We can't wait until we have events in there," he said.

Shirley said the City of Carlsbad did not have a time frame on when work might be completed.

More: Renovation work continues at historic Carlsbad Cavern Theater

Mary Garwood, Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Cultural District board member, said progress on both projects came together.

"It’s showing that arts and culture does play a significant role here in our community. We don’t always think of these aspects of the community," she said.

Garwood said the Arts and Culture District rounds out the Carlsbad experience along with major industries like oil and gas and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. 

HeritageFest goes "live" in September 

After going virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19 safety precautions enacted by the State of New Mexico. HertitageFest returned this year, according to Davis.

“On Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the theme is going to be about preserving Carlsbad’s rich history,” she said. “We have a rich history and if this year has kind of thought of anything it’s really to preserve that and acknowledge it and appreciate it.”

The Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Cultural District website indicated, HeritageFest had past demonstrations of blacksmithing, quilting, roping and Native American jewelry making.

“We celebrate Carlsbad's dynamic traditions and celebrate our heritage. Festgoers indulge in a wide variety of food trucks, and local craft vendors," read the website. 

Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter. 

This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Pearl of the Pecos arts projects take shape in downtown Carlsbad

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