The ORIGINAL Las Vegas has joined the three-day 2019 New Mexico Fiber Crawl, Friday, May 17, through Sunday, May 19, to help celebrate New Mexico’s rich fiber arts heritage and the people who make wonderful fiber creations. In their first year participating, Las Vegas has six separate official sites on their community thread. Their prime location on I-25 positions them as a perfect place to begin the crawl and experience this lovely town of historic buildings built on both sides of the meandering, walkable Gallinas River. Each site will warmly welcome visitors from 10 AM to 5 PM each of the three days.

On Grand Avenue, the  City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Riders Memorial Collection (727 Grand Avenue) is showcasing an exhibition 100 Years of Fashion in Las Vegas. Visitors will learn how and why the attire of our citizens differed. There are two sites on beautiful Bridge Street. The Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation Culture and Heritage Center (116 Bridge Street) will feature several display cases of Spanish Colonial Colcha embroidery, most by local expert Beatrice Maestas Sandoval.  A few doors west, the Las Vegas Arts Council’s Gallery 140 (140 Bridge Street) will celebrate local fiber artists and their original work. Expect to see woven wraps–ruanas and shawls; felted, crocheted, and knitted hats;  hand spun pet fur knitted scarves; wall hangings and art quilts and more. Continuing west to the historic Old Town District’s shady green Plaza step into 2Ten: A Galeria of Arts and Treasures (210 Plaza), nestled cozily in one of the 1836 Maese House. Fifteen fiber artists are featured along with a special exhibit of the whimsical embroideries of New Mexico folk artist Ann Spiess Mills. Further west, the iconic Plaza Hotel (230 Plaza) will be filled with native Southwestern weaver’s rugs offered at auction on May 18, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the famous Hubbell Navajo rug completed in the late 1930s by the Joe Family.  This weaving is the world’s largest single loom rug. Just northeast of the hotel is ThreadBear (1813 Plaza)showing an Egyptian embroidery collection and work by local needle artist Gail Malley. The retail fabric and yarn shop offers a wide array of contemporary and colorful fabrics for quilting and sewing, as well as a generous selection of fine knitting yarns dyed in New Mexico and around the world.  All venues will provide supplemental maps that will direct visitors to food, drink, galleries, and antique stores in every direction.

We have eight supporting businesses, small ones that have chosen to invest in the Fiber Crawl anh help us build for the future.

Susie Tsyitee, executive director of the Las Vegas Arts Council, explained that the first New Mexico Fiber Arts Crawl, launched in 2017, drew locals and visitors to studios, galleries, sheep ranches, and cultural centers in Taos, Espanola, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, honoring New Mexico’s rich Fiber Arts heritage and contemporary culture.

In 2018, Mora joined the Crawl Map, and the Arts Council began to consider the natural connection to Las Vegas, either returning home via I-25, or following the tour in reverse.  After all, Las Vegas was the Wool Capital of the United States at one time, maybe even the World!

Board director Linda Anderle caught the vision, and they reached out to local businesses and non-profits, explaining the opportunity to participate.  They needed only three sites to become a “thread” on the crawl, which meant Las Vegas would have its own map in the advertising campaign. Six sites is impressive and an excellent turnout will surely benefit the economy.

Tsyitee emphasized the opportunity for everyone to celebrate the arts and culture of the community.  “I have always been amazed at the talents and the commitment of both the natives and the first settlers here, decorating and beautifying the necessities of life, investing precious time and energy to add color and texture and beauty.”

She added, “In homes and churches, art was an act of love and worship long before it became a way to supplement income or encourage tourism.  It deserves to be recognized and appreciated, as do the artists and artisans involved in the process.”

“Honoring and the respecting the culture must always come first, and good things will follow.”

For more information, contact the Las Vegas Arts Council at 505-425-1085.