El Rito Library, Santa Fe Library Shirts, and Nick Herrera

There are lots of ways to begin a fabulous 3-day Memorial Day weekend. One of the best ways is to go and support an organization that is at the heart of a community — the library! In this case the Library at El Rito and two of its most well-known residents artist Nicholas Herrera and photographer David Michael Kennedy. We all need to get out there and support those groups and organizations that bind our communities together!

El Rito is the land that time forgot! We took part in the El Rito Library Fundraiser & Pancake Breakfast Saturday. It was fun and so much more.

Library outside-squashed

A few notes about the El Rito Library. They are a 501C3 and are independent as opposed to many libraries that are an arm of the city or county government. That means they have to raise money to stay afloat. Sure they might get help from Rio Arriba County and grants but they have to do it themselves. We visited the El Rito Library, I hate to say it, about 15 years ago when Christine Trujillo was in charge. Now, Lynett Gillette is in charge – both capable. In fact, Christine visited and we were so hoping she would come.

The Library looks great. It has over 30,000 titles including music, movies, TV shows, kids books, computers, archives, and so much more. It is a community hub. And the folks love their El Rito Library! What struck me as surprising, was they had a great auction with an altar by El Rito celebrity Nick Herrera, and a photo by another well-known El Rito artist David Michael Kennedy, but people were just GIVING donation checks to the auction folks. And the checks were not small.


The Pancake Breakfast was a crowd pleaser too! They ran out of food early because so many people came. Nice. People came to little El Rito from Santa Fe, Espanola, Taos, Abiquiu, and even Denver and Albuquerque (us!). They come because a drive to El Rito is beautiful.

Our friend, Pat Hodapp, the Director of the Santa Fe Library, made a visit with her painting friend from Denver. Pat wanted to show off her new Support Libraries T-shirt with art from Ricardo Caté. It was an outgrowth of the 10
th Anniversary event at the Santa Fe Southside Library. But the shirt can be so much more!


I need to say a few things about Ricardo and his art. He is the cartoonist for the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper and has the popular
Without Reservations book on his art. I have never met Ricardo but I know I would like him a lot. He took time out from his life to go to Standing Rock and help protest the oil pipeline. The experience gave him a lot of ideas for his cartoons. I like a person who is willing to fight for a cause.

Ricardo’s art is funny and spare in a good way. The drawings don’t have a lot of extraneous stuff and the text is to the point. They are funny and maybe not politically correct but are what we are all thinking and reluctant to say. Ricardo is a Santo Domingo Pueblo Native American and he has a great view of ugly Americans. And let’s face it, we can be. I have a few of Ricardo’s paintings, courtesy of Pat Hodapp, and
Without Reservations is available at Treasure House in Old Town, Albuquerque and at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Of course, any bookstore has it or can order it. The Without Reservations exhibit is at Acoma Pueblo Sky City Casino and I plan to see it in a few weeks.


Our good friend Nick Herrera was a very bad man. But he is a really good man now. His art is raw, built on the New Mexico santero tradition, and says a lot. There is a theme – artists who say things in their art. We did the book on Nick –
Nicholas Herrera: Visions of My Heart – and he has been in other books and has his own kids’ book. He is photographed by friend John T. Denne who we also love. We haven’t seen Nick in a while in person but he calls us about once a month to just say hi. Who does that? We were blessed that he came to the El Rito Library event. Look for another art show of his great stuff usually in the summer in Santa Fe or drop into his studio in El Rito. He has graciously volunteered to give a retablo to be raffled off at the Collected Works benefit for Charlie & Debbie Carrillo on July 16, at 4pm in Santa Fe. Nick is very good!

Remember, great libraries make great communities. Some people understand that!

Barbe Awalt

Today's Random Thought!
Albuquerque Journal editorial this morning calls for the ouster of Athletic Director Paul Krebs — hope that they will do that without any buy-out or parachute. He does not deserve it.

Rio Grande Books
May 27: El Rito Public Library Fundraiser with Nicholas Herrera, 10a-1pm
June 16-18: Sacred Art Market, Gallup Cathedral
July 15: Lavender in the Village, Los Ranchos Agri Center
Nov 4, 2017: Tempe Book Festival, Tempe AZ Public Library

Henrietta Christmas & Paul Rhetts
June 24: Los Alamos Genealogy Society, 7pm "Genealogy Tips"
June 24: Treasure House Books, Albuquerque Old Town 1-3pm "Basic Genealogy Checklist: 101 Tips & Tactics to Finding Your Family History"

Loretta Hall
June 10: Bookworks, 11am. 4022 Rio Grande Blvd ABQ
July 13: OASIS, 1:00-2:30, "What Sex Differences Mean for Space Travel"

Ross Van Dusen
June 4: Treasure House Books, 1pm "Lyle Got Stuck in a Tree" and "What Makes Lightning?"
Treasure House flyer June $ 2017-squashed