Art (and green chiles) Saves Lives

I had a rubber stamp I often used on mail art: ART SAVES LIVES. My artist friend, Ken Campbell, asked me to give it to him when he came from England. "Art saved my life," she said undramatically. Coming from a fractured family situation, working my way through the university, my entire career path could be summed up in a single plan of action: Keep making art for one more year. 

The time I spent in New Mexico in grad school started strangely. I found myself on a bus from El Paso to Las Cruces, a place I had never been. Most of my fellow passengers didn't speak English. I had signed up for an adventure, and was very unsure of where it would take me. 

So here I am in New Mexico all these decades later. My year here was one with more than usual unknowns, but it turned out to be one of the best of my life. I felt a certain freedom in the desert. I spent most of my time working on art. I sat up late at night, waiting for the salt kiln to reach temperature. I read Anais Nin's diary. I started searching for material on the history of women's art, eventually teaching a class with Christie Kruse on what we were finding. I learned to love green chiles, avocado and ham sandwiches at the Kentucky Club in Juarez, Mexico. For that year, I was unfettered. The feeling lingers, disappears, returns to me at odd times.