The 45th annual Las Artistas Art & Fine Craft Show on Nov. 21 and 22 has an epic new location—the EPIC Railyard in Downtown El Paso. This historic warehouse—recently renovated and given a new creative life as an event space—is the perfect setting for showcasing local art and fine craft. “The Railyard has allowed us to feature a larger number of artists and craftspeople and expand our educational offerings,” said Las Artistas vice president Jorge Calleja. “It is an artistic space that reflects the environment of our show.”
This hip new venue gives art lovers another reason to attend the weekend-long showcase of art and craft made by more than 90 creatives from El Paso and beyond. Visitors can see and shop for paintings, prints, ceramics, jewelry, home decor, wearable art and more. The event serves as a well-known beacon among locals seeking out distinctive and fun holiday gifts. Admission is $6 per day, free for children under 18, and there is free valet parking. Creative cuisine will be provided by Food Truck Circus.
A popular feature of the Las Artistas Art & Fine Craft show is that you can meet and speak with the artists and learn the story behind the piece of art and the technique that was used to create it. There will also be demonstrations, such as painting and woodturning, so you can watch the creative process in action. As part of Las Artistas’ commitment to promote arts education in El Paso, the show will feature a juried exhibition of children’s artwork made by students from Polk Elementary School.
The more than 90 artists and craftspeople participating in the show have met Las Artistas’ strict standards for originality, creative vision, technique and craftsmanship. Many have exhibited in the show in past years, including metal artist Helen Dorion, whose contemporary jewelry is sold in galleries across the U.S., and nationally renowned painters Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets (painters of former first lady Laura Bush’s portrait).
Meeting the community’s growing interest in discovering new and emerging artists, for the first time the show will feature up-and-coming artisans in a dedicated section this year. Metals artist and jewelry maker Laura Caballero, who came to El Paso from Juarez to attend school at UTEP, will display her playful, colorful jewelry made of metal, gemstones, resins and glass. Another first-time participant is Patricia Black from Las Cruces, N.M., who grows and paints gourds and transforms them into contemporary art pieces with a Southwest flair. Roman Martinez is another emerging artist who creates paintings and murals influenced by iconic western themes and his Mexican heritage. Pam Schuster is a self-taught jewelry artist who enjoys experimenting with silver, copper and gemstones to create her work. She has taken classes in UTEP’s Metals program and participated last year in the Las Artistas show in the UTEP student booth; this year she will exhibit her work in her own booth.
For more than 20 years, Las Artistas has provided students from UTEP’s Metals and Ceramics programs with a unique opportunity to show and sell their work. 40 students, selected by their professors, participate in this “learning classroom,” where they interact with customers, get feedback about their work, and gain marketing experience. They are also able to meet and network with the other established artists and craftspeople in the show.
A portion of the proceeds from the Las Artistas Art & Fine Craft show is used to support UTEP’s Metals and Ceramics students. The UTEP program uses these stipends to provide educational opportunities, such as bringing in visiting artists and sending students to workshops and conferences.
The first show was held in 1970, in the back yard of an artist’s home in El Paso, and was organized by a handful of women artists (thus the name, Las Artistas). Over the years, the show has grown in popularity, moving to various locations in El Paso, and has expanded to become a two-day, juried event.