Thursday, February 16, 2006

Welcome to another Mountainair spot on the web.

I got a bit ahead of myself - warming up to grouse about event planning and organization politics and games and forgot about welcoming visitors. Take a look around.

I complain about foibles and frustrations and crave venting from time to time, but the place and the people have become very dear to me. Why else would I build Mountainair web pages and put myself in the line of fire by volunteering? So I bite my tongue - maybe not as often as I should - and put a moderately nice public face on official exchanges and site, the public persona. A blog does not exactly hide the persona - it's public but as my private self.

Here's the main drag - Broadway, US 60, coming into town on US West from points north and east (Albuquerque, Belen, Los Lunas, I-25).


The Post Office, neutral ground, is the brick building on the left. Cibola Arts Cooperative is two doors down, and the Mountainar Grocery is across the street from the Post Office. The grocery, along with Uncle Walter's and Gustin's Hardware are the heart and pulse of traditional Mountainair. Cibola represents the art community incursion - here to stay, however tenuously. Although somewhat accepted it remains more apart than part of Mountainair. Abo Trading - further down the street is even more apart, despite - or because of - its contrived "local" atmosphere. It is a manicured simulacum plopped down in the midst of gritty authenticity.

Overall, the grocery, Uncle Walter's, Gustin's, the Weaver Hotel, and any number of crumbling, ill-maintained buildings are more interesting and authentic than either Abo Trading or Cibola.

Mountainair Snapshot gleaned from the 2000 Census

Mountainair is less prosperous than it was during its years as "Pinto Bean Capital of the World" but essentially the same town. The gas is source is different these days... urban refugees nurturing the fantasy that Mountainair will become another neat, tidy New Mexico art-kitsch burg.

Old Mountainair Postcard

And, finally, a brief history of Mountainair by Biddie McMath before you leave town, retracing Geronimo's raiding route through the Abo Pass.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Perils and Pitfalls of Small Town Event Planning

February may be a winter month. Summer seems far away. Yet event organizers in Mountainair – and small towns all across the state – are stirring. The careful observer can see signs of life in meetings, phone calls, e-mails, casual conversations, event calendars. For some, visions of daytrippers dance through their heads. Others are moved to recreate and maintain remembered spring and summer holidays. All face similar obstacles in the sometimes trajectory from planning to execution: effective (if not always equitable) distribution of limited resources; too few people wearing too many hats; a natural human loathing of meetings; organization politics; a shortage of untapped, willing volunteers; and its corollary, volunteer burnout. The perils and pitfalls of putting on events in Mountainair is undoubtedly representative.

Firecracker Jubilee Parade, 2000

Mountainair’s event menu has changed in recent years. Several years ago, long-time Ranchers Day bit the dust. Firecracker Jubilee survived Chamber of Commerce dumping by the skin its teeth when Rotary took it over. The Sunflower Festival in August may seem robust by small town event standards but now faces Jubilee’s fate. The Chamber, determined to limit event organizing involvement, handed Sunflower over to the Manzano Mountain Art Council, not unlike downsizing or even passing unwanted orphans onto another family member - and without mention appearing in the minutes of either group. Will the Manzano Art Council, hemoraging burnt out members after the massive but exhausting effort of last year’s Studio and Gallery Tour, be up to the task of an Arts Tour in late May and the Sunflower Festival in late August? How many events can a small town reasonably support? What other questions does this pattern raise?

Sunflower Festival Emblem:
Sunflowers in Art Alley (R.I.P.)
(gone the way of Ranchers Day)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...