Artists around the local Albuquerque-area, including several UNM alumni, will gather to present, "Zimmer," an invitational art exhibition by Vida Art Connections featuring several award-winning artists. The exhibition will be held at Rio Grande Estates Garden located at 930 Camino del Rio, N.W. on Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of the works from the exhibition will also be available for viewing by appointment after those dates.

A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the New Mexico Cancer Center in honor of Lis Zimmer, a former Albuquerque resident and community activist who died last spring of breast cancer. A strong-willed and capable woman, Zimmer was an advocate for babies and pregnant teenagers. She spent several years volunteering at Marie Amadea, a home for pregnant teens in Albuquerque.

That experience inspired Zimmer to start Life Options Academy for teen moms with the intent of not only preventing abortion, but also with the idea of breaking the cycle of poverty by supporting eachother while completing high school and securing employment. Zimmer won the New Mexico Woman of the Year Award for her efforts.

"Warm thoughts of Lis Zimmer were in my mind and of the wonderful things she did for the community," said artist and event curator Janie Perry Gonzales. "Lis was one of my close neighbors. The idea for "Zimmer" came together only last Tuesday. I, and another artist Andrea Ponzini, had been looking for a gallery spot, but I realized I didn't want to staff a gallery on a daily basis. I would rather be creating art."

Gonzales' husband, Art, has done some beautiful things with their one-acre property off of Rio Grande and Alameda in northwest Albuquerque and "all of a sudden, it all connected," said Gonzales who decided to host the exhibition at her house.

Vida's first project began in 2005, when Gonzales was studying art at UNM. "I began to notice that lots of my fellow students had fantastic artwork stored in their closets and under their beds. It's extremely difficult for emerging artists to get exposure for their work."

Gonzales also noticed bare walls at medical facilities. Realizing that art helps people heal, Gonzales took action.

"With help from the Place Program at UNM, I received two grants for proposed projects," said Gonzales. "I learned to align my missions with other artists, the viewers, the hosting organizations and a charitable organization."

"Zimmer" is Vida Art Connection's ninth community-based project. More than half of the 19 artists participating are either alumni or have ties to the University of New Mexico including Marian Berg, Travis Bruce Black, Susan Brown, Magda Rea Burger, Tina Garcia, Sydney Johnson, Linda Laitner, Holly Roberts, Todd Tibbals, Bob Wilson and Gonzales.

"I am very interested in promoting local artists and Albuquerque as a leader in the arts community," said Gonzales. "I have several artists who are interested in creating off-the-wall and custom paintings, mosaics, ceramics and murals.

Between exhibitions, the artists will be working together through Vida Art Connections to offer design services to the public. For more information about "Zimmer" and or Vida Art Connections, contact Gonzales at (505) 306-1491 or e-mail,