BELEN—An all-day celebration of the brightly-colored banners, including one designating the city of Belen’s Arts District, begins at noon on Saturday, April 13.
The original artwork submitted in the Belen Blooms contest also will be on display all afternoon at the Belen Art League and, across the street at the newly-opened Studio 508.
Open to artists throughout Valencia County, Belen Blooms attracted 41 artists and 62 pieces of art. A panel of five judges selected 20 to become banners. The top three winners are Amanda Luna, of Bosque, first place for “Mother’s Poppies,” Thomas E. Weis, of Los Lunas, second place for “Desert Roses” and Julie Pelletier, of Belen, third place for “Joy.”
The three winners will receive cash prizes of $200, $150 and $100 at a reception open to the public from 4-6 p.m., Saturday, April 13, at Studio 508, 508 Becker Ave. Three other artists will receive special recognition for their work.
Belen Blooms is the first public art installation of its kind in Belen. It grew out of a collaboration between Belen newcomer Janis Marston, who wanted to dress up downtown, and her friend, artist Mike Moreno, a Belen native and community activist/organizer.
Marston wanted to hang flowers but Moreno worried that they could not be maintained. He suggested banners featuring local art. The idea seemed perfect, Marston thought, especially if the art could be of flowers.
She donated money to fund the entire project to Belen MainStreet Partnership, which along with the city of Belen, sponsors Belen Blooms. Also supporting the project are the Belen Art League, the Valencia Art Center, Tomé Art Gallery, Camino Real 8 and RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteers Program).
Plans called for 20 banners but more were added because of the large response by artists and the high quality of their art. The original artwork of those chosen to be banners will be on display at Studio 508; the Belen Art League’s exhibit will display the other entries. Many will be for sale.
City workers will hang 25 banners along Becker Avenue in the Belen Arts District a few days before Saturday’s celebration. They will remain through late October and, like hardy perennials, will be back on display next spring.
Other banner artists are Cecilia “Cece” Aragon, Joseph H. Aragon, Linda Marie Carroll, Tracee Coiner, Priscilla Day, Linda L. Dugger, Sandra Griego, Cecilia M. Gutierrez, Quanta Hinson, Jane Hocking, Joyce Johns, Elizabeth Lambson, Norma Grey Law, Jo’l Moore, Eddie L. Ramirez, Ava Reeves, and Kimberly J. Ross.