Tag Archives: Virgin Mary

More Art in Truth or Consequences


Walk around Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and you’ll see not only galleries full of art, but art covering the walls of buildings and decorating the alleys.

I’ll get this party started by sharing my least favorite piece of public art in Truth or Consequences. This is a tile SDC10039mosaic on the front of the Bank of the Southwest at 509 N Broadway Street. It’s a nice enough (although somewhat bland to my eye) mosaic, except for the caption, “Our Heritage.” Sure, it’s supposed to be inclusive, with the Spanish Catholic guy on the left, the Native American fellow in the middle, and the white cowboy/rancher man on the right, but what about women? Did only men play a role in the heritage of Truth or Consequences/Southern New Mexico/the Southwest? I think not. I roll my eyes every time I see this piece of work that renders invisible the women who played a role in the town’s history.

(After doing some basic Google searching, I was not able to find the name of the artist who did this mosaic, nor when it was completed. If you know the name of the artist and the history of this mosaic, please leave a comment with the info.)

A piece I like more is this one, located in the alley behind the storefront on Broadway that once housed the CHF thrift store.


Notice the mural around the windows of the white house in the background. Mural and mixed-media piece by Mary Kinninger Walker.


Detail of the above piece. I like the smaller objects attached to the metal lids.

It’s a mixed media, found object, three-dimensional collage. For a long time, I didn’t know who’d done this piece, but two readers wrote in and told me the work is by Mary Kinninger Walker.

There are so many murals in T or C, I didn’t have a chance to get photos of them all, even though I was in town for about three weeks during my last visit. (In my defense, it was cold out, and I didn’t walk around a lot.)

Another mural I like is this one of a IMG_3948black bird (crow? raven? I can never tell the difference) on a building on Main Street, near the Passion Pie Cafe. I like those puffy little clouds against the light blue sky too. According to the Spring 2015 Sierra County Artist Directory (volume 13), the bird and the sky were painted by Bonita Barlow in 1999.

IMG_3999I also like this painting of the Virgin Mary. (Love those spirals on her cheeks!) She’s painted on a building that’s behind a hurricane fence, so was difficult for me to get a good shot of her, but she is surrounded by color and intricate patterns. The Virgin was also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.


Perhaps this manifestation of the Virgin was painted by one of the artists mentioned on the Sierra County, New Mexico website (http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/).

Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.

I wish that website had shown some of those murals and shared the name of the artists.

I took the next three photos during my first visit to Truth or Consequences in March of 2014. This mural is painted on the back of a building and can be seen from the alley. I was attracted by the bright colors, the turtles, and the skeleton with wings. I found a photo of the skeleton in the above-mentioned Sierra County Artist Directory, and the piece was attributed to Mary Kinninger Walker and Donna Monroe.SDC10033SDC10032










The next three pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.  All of these are located on the back of buildings and can be seen from alleys.


When Pigs Fly is a shop in T or C. I think this mural must be on what was the back exit to the store when it was located on Broadway.





I like art that pretties up plain or ugly things.


Love these super bright colors!



These brightly colored pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.

IMG_4003The photo to the left is a detail of a jungle-scene mural that covers the entire back wall of a building. (If I remember correctly, the front of this building is on Broadway.) I love the way the building’s actual window becomes the window of the jungle hut. I love the alert black cat on the roof of the hut. I love the way the swing fits right into the scene. Anyone know who painted this one?





Information about this mural from http://www.ohwy.com/nm/w/wattanmu.htm

Just about anywhere downtown, one can see this big water tank on the hill and the mural by Anthony Penrock that wraps around it. According to the Online Highways website,

Artist Tony Pennock of Las Cruses, New Mexico painted three water tank murals in Truth or Consequences in the early 1990s. [This] One shows Apache horsemen traveling to rest at the hot springs.




These tags are on a (retaining?) wall on Main Street, near the old post office and the Geronimo Springs Museum. I think graffiti is as legitimate as any other art form.

IMG_3978Sometimes art is functional, like this blue door on Main Street. I really like the intricate design highlighted in that soft yellow.

I hope to go back to T or C someday and take more photos of public art to share here.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Gallery in the Sun (Part 2)



I visited the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun in Tucson in December 2015. To read about my visit to the Mission in the Sun, the grounds, and DeGrazia’s original home, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/01/17/gallery-in-the-sun-part-1/.

This is the Gallery in the Sun with the Santa Catalina Mountains behind it.

This is the Gallery in the Sun with the Santa Catalina Mountains behind it.

According to the informational brochure I picked up in there, the gallery

was designed and built from the ground up by Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, who achieved worldwide acclaim for his colorful paintings of native cultures of the Sonoran desert. Using traditional adobe bricks crafted on-site, DeGrazia built the gallery so his paintings “would feel good inside.”

Ted DeGrazia said,

The gallery was designed by me, I wanted to have the feeling of the southwest. I wanted to build it so that my paintings would feel good inside.


This is the entrance to the Gallery in the Sun.

The gallery opened in 1965 and houses over

15,00 DeGrazia originals including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics, and sculptures. There are six permanent collections on display and several rotating exhibitions each year.

As I visited the many rooms in the gallery, I was impressed by the huge amount of art DeGrazia produced during his life. Rooms with walls hung with art opened onto more rooms with walls hung with art. How did GeGrazia find the time to build a gallery made from adobe bricks and build a chapel and create over 15,000 works of art? I think he must have slept very little and had a wife willing do to all the cooking and cleaning. Of course, he must have also been absolutely driven to create.

Flash photography is not allowed in the gallery, but I was able to get some shots using just the light in the room.

One subject DeGrazia revisited many times during his life was the Virgin Mary, particularly Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here are four examples of images of the Virgin DeGrazia painted: IMG_4317IMG_4290


















DeGrazia was friends with Native Americans and often painted scenes from the ceremonies and every day life of these people. Here are some paintings he did of the things he saw when he visited his Native American friends:



When I saw the next two paintings, I thought, that man was seriously on some LSD. But maybe DeGrazia had the vision that some folks hope to gain when they take hallucinogens.



The gallery opens into a courtyard where there are many cacti, several sculptures  and lots of cool found-object art pieces.

This mask is big enough to fit a giant, but I don't know who made it or why or how.

This mask is big enough to fit a giant, but I don’t know who made it or why or how.

I loved looking at all the different kinds of cactus in the courtyard.IMG_4283





IMG_4297  In the center of the courtyard is a fountain. In the middle of it is a sculpture of a Native American man wearing a deer headdress. DeGrazia created the sculpture.

This self-portrait is one of my favorites from Gallery in the Sun. IMG_4327

I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent (at least a couple of hours) at the Gallery in the Sun. I recommend it to anyone who likes art, Arizona, cacti, Native Americans and/or the Southwest.


This is what the door to the outside world looked like.

I took all of the photos in this post.

The Temple of Goddess Spirituality


When I decided to visit my friends The Poet and The Activist in Las Vegas, NV, they offered a list of places I might like to visit. The most intriguing place on the list was the Goddess Temple, more accurately known as The Temple of Goddess Spirituality.

The Temple of Goddess Spirituality is dedicated to Sekhmet and is located about 45 miles north of Las Vegas.


This photo shows the exterior of the Goddess Temple and a bit of the interior too.

I didn’t know much about Sekhmet before I visited the temple. According to the temple’s website,

Sekhmet…is a very ancient goddess; with her lion’s head and woman’s body, she is the opposite of the Sphinx who has a man’s head and a lion’s body. Sekhmet is the goddess of four thousand names, of which only a few hundred are known to normal humans.


This photo shows the statue of the goddess Sekhmet inside the temple.

One story about her is that she was outraged at the evil of men and wanted to destroy them but was tricked into submission by drinking a gift of beer which had been colored to look like blood.

Sekhmet is “Mother Fury” and the goddess of fertility.  She is the great Being in us all, the liberated planetary human animal who will not allow the destruction of a Mother Earth.

There is an essay on the temple’s website written by Genevieve Vaughn, the woman who provided the land on which the temple is built. In addition to providing the land, Vaughn financed the construction of actual temple as well.

The temple was built in 1993. Several months of construction were necessary to lay the foundation in the shifting sand, to arrange the straw bales and cover them with stucco. I tried to employ women whenever possible. Architect Molly Neiman took my Taj Mahal idea and designed a small and environmentally appropriate structure with simple lines. Yole Reyes, Pamela Overeynder and Jody Dodd managed the site, while a group (called CHAOS) of young peace activists, mostly women, did the actual construction. Later a dome made of seven interlocking copper hoops was made by Richard Cottrell,


Here is the dome made of seven interlocking copper hoops. I took this photo from inside the temple.

and four turrets were constructed by ceramist Sharon Dryflower. The temple houses a statue of Sekhmet made by Marsha Gomez, and facing her is the Madre del Mundo…



This is Madre del Mundo.



This is the dedication plaque for Madre del Mundo.


Smaller statues of goddesses of many cultures adorn the walls.


The Virgin of Guadalupe.


There were two statues of this image in the Goddess Temple. My friends and I didn’t know what was going on here, so I did a Google search on “Virgin Mary three men in a boat” and found that this is Our Lady of Charity also known as Our Lady of El Cobre or Nuestra Senora de la Virgen de la Caridad. According to Wikipedia, she was “pontifically designated by Pope Benedict XV as the Patroness of Cuba.”



Various other goddesses in the temple. Unfortunately, the photo I took of the Kwan Yin statue didn’t turn out well enough to reproduce, which made me sad. I really appreciate Kwan Yin and was glad to see a statue of her in this temple.


Mermaid art (ceramic?) in the Goddess Temple.



I was standing just outside the temple, in one of the doorways, when I took this photo of the temple’s interior. The fire pit shown in the lower right corner of the photo is actually in the middle of the temple. The statue of the goddess Sekhmet is just beyond the orange flowers on the lower left edge of the photo.

My friends and I left Las Vegas before daybreak on the Friday morning we’d set aside to visit the Goddess Temple. We drove north through the dark. I’d expected the morning to be hot once the sun rose, but there were clouds in the sky at dawn. When we got out of the car in the temple’s parking area, the air was surprisingly chilly. I’d brought a long sleeve shirt to protect me from the sun, but I ended up using it to protect me from the cool morning air.

One of the cats that lives on the grounds of the temple met us as we approached the area where the guest house and the priestess’ house are. (Yes, the temple has a live-in priestess. Unfortunately she was away at a conference on religion when we visited, so I didn’t get to meet her over a cup of tea.) The cat was black and white and fluffy and accompanied us all the way to the actual temple. Although my friends had never seen the cat that far out on the grounds, it entered the temple with us and stayed in the area until we left, leading us back through a light, cold rain to where the car was parked. I felt we were very well protected.


To the left of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the cat which accompanied us into the temple.

We were the only folks on the grounds and the only folks visiting the temple that morning. Our visit was very peaceful.

My friends did some chanting/singing from The Poet’s spiritual tradition while I wandered around looking at every little thing in the temple and taking photos.

I absolutely enjoyed my visit to the Goddess Temple, and would love to visit again, especially if there were some event happening and other people to meet and talk with.


(I took all photos in this post.)





Ave Maria Shrine

I took this photo of the Ave Maria Shrine in Trinidad, CO.

I took this photo of the Ave Maria Shrine in Trinidad, CO. The chapel is in the building in the background. Notice the giant blue rosary under the words “Ave Maria.”

I visited the Ave Maria Shrine in Trinidad, Colorado twice in September 2014 when I was in town to see friends. I’d seen the shrine listed as one of the town’s attractions but hadn’t sought it out yet when my friend and I stumbled upon it. We were heading east on Benedicta Avenue, going to the senior living center so my friend could drop off a job application, when we saw the shrine rising out of the trees. We had no pressing obligations after dropping off the job application, so we decided to take some time to explore.

There are lots of statues of the Virgin Mary at the Ave Maria shrine. I took this photo of one of them.

There are lots of statues of the Virgin Mary at the Ave Maria shrine. I took this photo of one of them.

From the street, visitors climb a series of steps up to the chapel at the very top. There are several statues of the Virgin Mary between the steps at the bottom and the chapel at the top, giving pilgrims many opportunities to stop and pray or reflect quietly. Apparently the chapel itself is not open at any set times.The Holy Trinity Parish website (http://trinidadcatholic.org/gpage5.html) says

To visit the inside of the chapel, please call our Trinidad Area Catholic Pastoral Center at (719) 846-3369, extension 14, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except holidays. We will try to get someone to open up for you. It is best to make arrangements some days in advance.

My friend and I went all the way to the top and were able to peek into the chapel through the metal screen over the windows. The chapel is small, but very beautiful, and we both wanted to go inside and look at it more closely.

Some of the statues at the shrine have been damaged, perhaps due to age, or perhaps from vandalism. I took this photo of a statue of Mary missing her hands and nose.

Some of the statues at the shrine are damaged, perhaps due to being aged by the elements, or perhaps from vandalism. I took this photo of a statue of Mary missing her hands and nose.

Like just about everything of interest I encountered in Trinidad, the Ave Maria Shrine has a legend to go with it. According the the aforementioned Holy Trinity Parish website,

     In 1908 a Trinidad physician, was leaving Mount San Rafael Hospital, after all night duty. It was already dawn, and although a snowstorm was in progress, he was persistent to make it home.  As he was leaving the hospital he noticed a glimmer of light flickering on the hill directly behind the hospital.  At first, he gave it little attention, believing the spray of snow flurries were creating an illusion.  Then the possibility of someone hurt or stranded captured his attention.  Even at the early morning hour and in the middle of a snowstorm, the good doctor ascended the hill where the light originated.  The frozen ground and steep slope made the climb very hazardous in his pursuit to reach the small clearing.
Upon reaching the clearing, he was spellbound at the sight of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a lit candle flickering at its base.  Awed by the vision of such a beautiful statue, he reached out and touched its outstretched hand while calling out to see if anyone was nearby. After calling out for several minutes and no one answered, he decided to stay by the statue until daybreak.
When word of the doctors discovery spread throughout the community, reactions were varied.  some believed that some person had to have been on the hill, while others were skeptical as to how a 250 pound statue could have been left on the hill, kept a candle lit during a blizzard and then disappear into thin air.  But the more faithful residents accepted this as a divine sign from God that a shrine should be built in Her honor on this mountain.
The early settlers erected a small lava rock shrine, where Our Lady was placed, and the faithful made daily pilgrimages and offered prayers to God through here intersession.

The information offered  is a little confusing, perhaps mostly due to the poor writing skills of whoever wrote down the legend. Who was the doctor? Didn’t he have a name? If it was “already dawn” when he left the hospital, why does the story say “he decided to stay by the statue until daybreak”? And what exactly disappeared into thin air? The 250 pound statue? The person who hauled the statue up the hill then left it there? Ah, mysteries.

The website also gives factual information about the chapel.

Plans for the present chapel were begun in 1934. The chapel was built through the efforts of a group of local Catholics much devoted to Mary. They were known as the Circolo Mariano. They worked under the leadership of Rosaria Vecchio. In 1962, vandals destroyed the statue., breaking it into 279 pieces.  It was almost a total loss, but thanks to the patience and skilled hands of Sam Arguello and his son Anthony, it was restored and placed inside the Shrine, above the altar, where it remains today.  Over the years many such faithful persons have helped develop and maintain the shrine and its surroundings. Many of them are commemorated by name both inside and outside the chapel. This shrine continues to be developed and maintained through the generosity of many persons both in this area and visitors from many states and other countries.

I took this photo of a plaque at the shrine.

I took this photo of a plaque at the shrine.

After seeing peeking at the chapel through the windows, my friend and I and my friend’s girlfriend wanted to go inside the chapel. I called the phone number on the Shrine’s website and made an appointment to see the chapel. We were supposed to be met by one or more of the parish’s maintenance workers who would unlock the door to the chapel, but no one ever showed up to let us in. We were really disappointed. I wish the man I talked to in the parish office had just told me no instead of saying someone would let us in but not making it happen. No one ever called to apologize, and I didn’t call back to ask any questions.

I took this photo of another of the many statues of Mary at the Ave Maria shrine.

I took this photo of another of the many statues of Mary at the Ave Maria shrine. I think this one was behind glass.

The shrine is very tranquil, and I enjoyed my visits very much. I recommend it as a stop for anyone visiting Trinidad, but especially for folks who are big fans of the Virgin Mary.

Ave Maria Shrine, Trinidad, CO. Photo by me.

This photo I took of the Ave Maria shrine in Trinidad, CO really shows the giant rosary.