BELEN — A new art studio and gallery in Belen opened as a place to create and showcase locally-made art.

Lorie Ranker opened the doors to Hub City Art Collective, 210 Becker Avenue in Belen, in August to help expand and cultivate the local art community.

“The intention of this is to create a co-working space for creatives to come and work on their crafts,” Ranker said. “You can be a writer, you can bring your sewing machine, you can do wood-burning. You can bring any kind of craft that you want to work on and it can be done here.”

Lori Ranker, owner and operator of the Hub City Art Collective in Belen, has created a space for local artists to collaborate and create. (Clara Garcia | News-Bulletin photo)

Ranker not only invites artists to work on their craft in the space, she also encourages to take ownership of exhibiting at the Hub City Art Collective.

“If you’re a member, you’ll have a space to hang on the wall — we don’t take any kind of commission,” she said. “We want all the artists to take ownership of selling.”

With different events happening throughout each month, Ranker says local artists have several opportunities to show and sell their work.

The Hub City Art Collective will host a Community Gallery Night from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7. Ranker says this event will include art from at least seven local artists.

“You can be an emerging artist or you can be an experienced artist,” Ranker said. “We just want this to be for everybody. I feel we all need that kind of support, and I don’t want it to be a place where the art has to be juried.”

All kinds of art is welcomed, from painting and photography to mixed-media and fiber and more. Ranker says she is working on creating shelves for the space to exhibit sculptures.

Members, who pay $25 a month, are allowed to attend open-studio days, which are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Wednesdays and Fridays; 2-6 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12:30-5 p.m. on Saturdays. These are times when artists can come in and use the space.

Ranker says those who are nonmembers pay a $5 drop-in fee.

The membership fee also includes a free gallery space and a discounted Sunday Market space. Currently, there are seven members at the Hub City Art Collective.

“We have people coming in, looking at the art, wanting to see what we’re all about,” she said. “I talk to everybody, and give them a tour. I invite them back to support the artists.”

Ranker, a self-taught abstract artist, recently moved to New Mexico after running the Pilsen Art House in Chicago for 10 years.

“I started traveling after my youngest son went off to college last August, and I ended up buying land in Veguita — an off-grid homestead,” she said. “I then just met the right people to connect me with Jay Peters, who is renting me this space.”

Not only does Ranker do abstract artwork, she is a wood-burner, a jewelry maker and designer.

Ranker said she enjoys being able to do her work in the space, making noise if she wants and have a place where people can collaborate and help each other.

In an effort to collaborate with other like-minded artists, Ranker has developed art-specific events, such as a Writer’s Circle, a Poetry Night and the Community Gallery Night. The Sunday Makers Market is held from 12-4 p.m. on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

“We just want to make sure people feel welcomed when they come in,” Ranker said. “I want to be able to grow on our own, but still being able to collaborate with other artists. We need to get our traction and momentum going as a stand-alone space as we continue to grow.”

For more information on the Hub City Art Collective, email Ranker at [email protected].

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.