Arts in the Park returned to La Entrada Park July 8 for the first time in three years, and a new artistic feature was unveiled nearby in the Children's Garden at the Corrales Community Library.
"When COVID hit we stopped, so this is the first time in several years," said Jen Noel, who helped organize both the art show and the unveiling of a mural outside the library. "I thought we'd put the two events together."
About 70 people attended the mural unveiling alone. No telling how many strolled through the park to wander among the booths and mingle with neighbors.
When the pandemic broke out in the spring of 2020, attendance at Arts in the Park dwindled and so did the artists. Noel said the last event they had was made up of just four vendors.
For its return, 26 artists were on hand, including painters, woodworkers, photographers and plenty of potters.
"I'm a ceramics artist and a lot of my friends are in it, so this one's pretty pottery heavy," said Noel, who is president of the Corrales Society of Artists.
The return of Arts in the Park was supplemented by three food trucks and music by Truth Be Told.
Noel also pointed out the children's tent sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, where kids could make their own art under the guidance of adults.
This was the only Arts in the Park event this year. Next year, they plan to go back to the traditional four, one each month during the summer, she said.
Noel also had a hand in the mural that was unveiled during a morning ceremony at the Children's Garden. But it was truly a community collaboration.
Noel said the idea came from Maggie Robinson, a CSA artist while planning a signature event for Viva Corrales student art show, "and the mural is what ended up happening. "
While anyone in the community could contribute, children did a lot of the work. The project was introduced to students in Jackie Freeman's fifth-grade class at Corrales Elementary. Under the guidance of potters at Hanselmann Pottery in Corrales, the kids each made their own tile to the mural.
Noel said the children cut out a tile from a piece of mud and drew out a design in color. The drew their design in colors, so the artists could paint them in before they are glazed and fired a second time.
The tiles were of things found outdoors in nature, so images including rabbits, fish, wolves and sometimes just people.
Noel and others who spoke at the unveiling ceremony emphasized how the mural project became a such a collaborative effort. The students at the school, Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners, Corrales MainStreet, the Corrales Community Library to name a very few were mentioned.
Noel said it was amazing how everyone pitched in to add a new ornament to the library's Children's Garden.
"Once we had the idea, everybody jumped in and it became a big thing," she said. "That's why it's so very special. The Children of Corrales, the community members of Corrales -- everybody came together to make this piece for Corrales."
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