The Harwood Museum of Art of UNM opens a group exhibition, "New Mexorado: Artists Living and Working in the Albuquerque-Denver Corridor," Saturday, March 5-June 19. The exhibit celebrates technical excellence, personal vision and the bonds connecting the community of artists living and working in this unique part of the world.

Concurrent with the "New Mexorado" opening is the Taos Shortz Film Fest Friday, March 4-Sunday, March 6, featuring the screening of more than 50 juried short films from around the world, panel discussions, question and answer sessions with filmmakers and networking parties. Tickets are available at the door or at taosshortz.com.

"Taos Shortz Fim Fest is rapidly gaining placement with the highest-rated short film festivals in the United States," said festival founder Anna Cosentine. "This year we're very excited to be working in conjunction with the Harwood Museum and using the spectacular new Arthur Bell Auditorium as our sole venue."

"‘New Mexorado' and Taos Shortz Film Fest allow the Harwood to reach out and engage artists and audiences alike," said Harwood Curatorial Manager Jina Brenneman. "These events are creating a new buzz in the region's art circles and a welcoming environment for the museum's new expansion. ‘New Mexorado' will actually be the first show to open after the inaugural Mandelman-Ribak exhibition."

"New Mexorado" features 124 pieces by 80 artists, selected from 1,300 works of art submitted by 370 artists. Media include painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and more.

Libby Lumpkin, art historian, curator and professor of contemporary art history and art theory at UNM-Albuquerque, served as the primary juror. "Although most of the submissions were relatively traditional in terms of media, the intentions and sensibilities of the artists ranged widely, from sophisticated and urbane to really out there quirky," she said. "Some of the quirkiest were just too good to pass up. So, the exhibition will be a kind of broad-based showcase."

Even the poster art for the show was created by a New Mexorado artist, Chipper Thompson, and Brenneman thinks he perfectly captured the exhibition's feel. "Chipper is an original and his poster has this funky, lonely, Gothic Western feel: the big sky and mountains, a little house with the smoke coming out of the chimney, and the road running through it like an umbilical cord. You can almost smell it."

"This kind of juried exhibition provides the opportunity to better know some of your scattered neighbors – to learn more about all those loners, hippies, socialites, cowpokes, scientists and retired generals living at the end of some dirt road, some of whom are developing as artists and a couple of whom might actually be waiting for that space ship. Think of the Harwood as the big rock butte that draws all those disparate types of people to one spot. There's no resisting it," Lumpkin said.

Call the Harwood Museum at (575) 758-9826 ext. 110 or visit harwoodmuseum.org.

Media Ccontact: Andrew Flack (303) 960-3773; e-mail flack@buzzinc.net