Once upon a time–
Once upon a time in Texas, I fell into conversation with a couple of strangers while waiting for our table in a crowded restaurant. The man started our exchange by kindly asking where our family was from. I instantly fell into my elevator pitch… “A small town nobody knows about in Southeast New Mexico… between the Roswell UFOs and Carlsbad Caverns.” To my surprise, the man replied, “You’re from Artesia then, right?” He went on to explain how he and his wife have traveled through on Highway 285 countless times and that Artesia is one of their favorite stops. They must have noticed the confusion on my face. “Artesia has culture.” his wife explained. “Just when driving through you can see the appreciation for art. The murals, sculptures, beautiful buildings make your hometown very charming.” It isn’t often that you meet someone outside the state that knows about little ole’ Artesia much less comment on our culture.
So why did it take a stranger in Texas to remind me of the splendor of my hometown? The answer came to me when I was taking an evening stroll down Main Street at the beginning of the stay at home orders due to COVID-19. The buildings and streets were completely empty, so as I walked down the quiet street there was little distraction. That’s when I realized…we are too busy, too preoccupied with work, school, taking care of our families that we often overlook the beauty right in front of us.
Of course, I knew the murals existed but I never stopped to appreciate or understand the inspiration behind them. I’ve driven past the sculptures so many times now that I was no longer valuing the creative culture and aesthetic value right here in Artesia. Yes, we’re big oil and football, agriculture and rodeo, but we are also art and music, literature and architecture. We must recognize and appreciate each of the facets that make our little town so unique.
In this issue of Focus on Artesia, we are highlighting the local creatives, artists, and musicians that add a special kind of charm to our community. As I gathered content for this edition, I received numerous wonderful references for local artists. I wish we were able to highlight every single one of those talented people. Writers, painters, photographers, graphic designers, dance and drama, there is no limitation on art. It was very difficult to convey the full scope of our creative community in 32 pages.
What we’ve tried to express throughout this issue is the theme that creativity brings people together. Art has the power to tell a community’s shared story and form connections despite our differences. This collection of stories leads to a greater understanding of our cultural values, tradition, and history. As you read through this issue I hope you take some time to appreciate the beauty of our community and that you are inspired to write, design, or create something of your own.
Jessica Addington, Editorial Director
About the Editor
Jessica Addington is the editorial director of Focus on Carlsbad.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article originally published in Focus on Artesia 2020 Summer edition.