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Rio Costilla Studio Tour: 21 Years And Still Going

Saturday: September 18
10:00 am – 5:00 pm


The Rio Costilla Studio Tour will present the work of six dedicated artists for a scaled-down version of their annual event. Yes, six artists from the longstanding Rio Costilla Studio Tour have the optimism and passion to continue making the tour happen, and you can meet them and see their artwork, on Saturday, September 18, from 10 am to 5 pm.

Since the last tour, several artists have moved from the area due to health reasons or for warmer climes after being here for 30 years. Others have a partner fighting cancer, another has many commissions lined up through the fall. And in April, when planning for the tour needed to go into high gear, the pandemic still seemed formidable. It seemed it was not going to happen, but then in early June, Karen Ahlgren was contacted by one of the participants intimating that should “someone” organize a smaller tour this year, they would enjoy participating.

She picked up that baton, contacted past participants, and came up with six willing artists. These six artists are committed to their work/craft and all enjoy doing the tour. Says Karen, “This smaller mini-tour takes us back to the basics of our studio tour, where we get to meet with the people who appreciate art and telling of stories. There’s always lots of laughter and connection, and it’s a boon on the financial end of things, too. You can’t get that in a gallery setting: artists often don’t get feedback on their work, and don’t get to show off their personal working spaces with interested visitors.”

Studio location maps are available at all the artists’ studios, the Questa Visitor Center, the Phillips 66 Gas & Grocery in Costilla, the 101 Bar & Grill (aka Crazy Beaver) in Garcia, CO, and at Garcia Liquor in Garcia. If you need more information, contact Karen at ahlgrengallery@gmail.com or text her at (575) 779-2943.

Karen Ahlgren – wildlife watercolors

Karen Ahlgren grew up in northern California with a lifelong passion for animals. She finally realized her dream of living near the wilds of the woods in moving to northern New Mexico. Here her passion and connection with wild beings was nurtured by them passing through her land. Ahlgren paints in undiluted watercolor, giving her work a vividness that brings to mind the brilliant colors and magical surrealism of South American artforms. “My focus on animals represents my love, respect, and concern for them. The combination of portraying these wild beings in a vivid non-local palette and with tenderness allows the viewer to approach their soulfulness with greater ease. My intent is to give them a voice and a presence in today’s political dialogues and decision-making.” (575) 779-2943; ahlgrengallery@gmail.com; www.karenahlgren.com

Nancy DeHerrera Crochet – photography

My business name is Sangre De Cristo Photos, named after our glorious, majestic mountain range, full of color and life all year round. I’ve been taking pictures for most of my life. I love the great outdoors and specialize in landscape photos, but have a special eye for portraits. I’m a proud norteña woman, born in Embudo, and raised in Costilla on a large farm, along with my seven siblings. My awesome parents, Valdemar and Consuelo DeHerrera, are both native New Mexicans. Being raised in northern New Mexico in itself carries lots of meaning, knowing about our traditions and values, and living by them. (575) 586-2434; nancsteve@yahoo.com; https://northernnewmexicoartists.com/nancy-deherrera-crochet/

Jane Kircher – glass

Jane transfers strong design skills and a lifelong interest in light into original, evocative, and often humorous glass sculptures and developed her original “light chimes,” creations that play with sunlight as wind plays with metal chimes. For Jane, light and life are synergistic. Each object she creates, whether intended as a window sculpture or as a three-dimensional piece, reflects and transfers light and color in ever changing ways. Jane and her husband Lynn founded Kircher & Associates, Inc. in 2020, located in Jaroso, Colorado. They have placed hundreds of sculptures in churches and places of devotion in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Vatican Collection in Rome. From 2015 to 2018 they formed and led a team of top figurative sculptors to install 90 monumental sculptures at Cloisters on the Platte in Omaha, Nebraska. They welcome visitors to their studio during the Studio Tour and by appointment during the year. (719) 672-3063; Kircherstudios.com

Lynn Kircher – bronzes/painting

Long past the time when the child’s artwork is relegated to the closet, Lynn dreamed of making beautiful creations in color and clay. At the age of nine, he studied the masters Michelangelo, Bridgeman, and Shephard. Under the tutelage of John Jellico, founder of the Colorado Institute of Art, his studies continued. He maintained ties with this institution for the next 27 years, eventually, as a teacher. With his wife, glass artist Jane, they purchased property in the southern end of the San Luis Valley where Lynn turned to building his studio and focused on the crafting of sculptures for churches. Why work for churches? Because churches are filled with stories and an artist is after all, a storyteller, too. Since 1990, he has placed bronze sculptures in churches throughout the United States. In 2002, his work was accepted into the Vatican collection in a private audience with His Holiness John Paul II. He has continued to fulfill numerous commissions. Jane and Lynn founded Kircher & Associates, Inc. in 2020, located in Jaroso, Colorado. (719) 672-3063; Kircherstudios.com

David Satrun – woodworking

David Satrun is a master woodworker who moved to Costilla from Colorado. His studio is on the Costilla Plaza in a restored 1850s adobe. He specializes in large pieces like kitchen hutches and chests of drawers and does mostly custom work and antique restoration. The material for the most part is from the local mountains or is high quality salvaged wood. David works with the client to develop a design and budget for special pieces to fit the home. dman@taosnet.com (575) 224-9893; DavidSatrunWoodworker.com

Sarah Welch – ceramics

Sarah was first introduced to ceramics through a year-long apprenticeship with a traditional master potter in Vienna, Austria. After studying art in Austria and California, she earned her BFA in ceramic/sculpture at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since graduating, she has shown her sculptural and functional work both nationally and internationally. She enjoys making pottery, where she finds the fusing of beauty with function an inspiring challenge. The long tradition of pottery and its intimate place in daily life inform the artistic choices she makes for her pieces. Her goal is to have the pieces used not only for the way they look, but also the way they feel. www.etsy.com/shop/sarahwelchpottery