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With assistance from the Roswell Interarts Organization (RIO), art and nature will soon complement each other at Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, nine miles east of Roswell. Bitter Lakes is one of New Mexico's most important wildlife sanctuaries with annual visitation averaging 50,000 people and countless numbers of wild birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

Martie Zelt, nationally recognized graphic/mural artist, has developed plans for a six by nine foot, handmade tile mural to be installed on the south wall of the main office building at the entrance to the refuge. Ms. Zelt recently unveiled a ten by thirty-two foot mosaic at the Roswell Civic Center which was funded by the State of New Mexico 1% for Art program. Ms. Zelt's purpose for the mural is threefold: to educate and promote stewardship of the Bitter Lake refuge, to educate and involve young people from the community, and to enhance the entrance to a unique and inspiring place.

Ten students from Goddard High School, under the direction of teacher Robyn Einhorn, will assist in the research, development, and installation of the mural. Their work on the mural will be an integral part of their arts curriculum as well as incorporating their scientific skills. Other collaborators are Marina Brownlow and Mona Slayton, who will assist with construction of the tiles, and Aria Finch of the Roswell Museum and Art Center who will fire the tiles in the museum's kilns.

The mural will capture the rich array of plant and animal life which thrives at Bitter Lakes. Handmade clay tiles will depict refuge inhabitants in a symbolic though recognizable style. Ms. Zelt hopes clay deposits found near the site can be used to form the tiles. More detailed information about the plants and wildlife depicted will be available in the refuge office. Design drawings for the mural will also be exhibited inside the office. Installation of the mural is scheduled for June.

Although the proposal has been approved and the artists have begun their work, the mural is far from complete. RIO has agreed to assist with the funding of the program. So, if you want to express your concern for the environment, interest in your community's young people, support for the arts, or just want to enhance the facilities at Bitter Lakes, send a donation to RIO, P.O. Box 2271, Roswell, New Mexico 88202-2271. Only with your support can RIO work to fulfill its mission to make art part of daily life in Roswell

Newsletter Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 1996

August 1997

Buses and Dance: New York and New Mexico

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