Los Alamos Arts Council Assistant Director Ken Nebel and Executive Director Chris Monteith discuss the merger between Fuller Lodge Art Center and Los Alamos Arts Council. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos Arts Council and Fuller Lodge Art Center have joined forces and merged to form one organization.
The merger was announced earlier this month.
To the public, the meshing of these two organizations is nearly unperceivable; the Fuller Lodge Art Center’s gallery shop and exhibit space are still open and operating and the Los Alamos Arts Council’s programs such as the Kite Festival and Pumpkin Glow are still on the schedule. It’s behind the scenes where the merger and its benefits are visible.
The newly merged organization is overseen by Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Chris Monteith and Assistant Director Ken Nebel.
“We have such similar missions to start with,” Monteith said. “It allows the Arts Council to focus more on education … and it allows the Arts Center to have a wider reach.”
Although work on combining the two organizations started long before COVID-19, Nebel said the timing was good because the two organizations are stronger together.
He added while he has many contacts with the visual arts, Monteith has a lot of contacts with other genres such as performance arts.
Additionally, Nebel said the Arts Center and Arts Council have always had a close relationship.
“We’ve been partnering pretty closely so it seems like a natural progression,” he said.
Now that the two organizations have joined forces, work has begun on rebranding, marketing and developing membership benefits, Monteith said.
She added they are also working to navigate through the pandemic while still offering programs and services to the public.
The Art Center’s shop and gallery are open to the public but Monteith said both have an online presence. The public can access both spaces at https://fullerlodgeartcenter.com/.
She added while in-person art classes are not being held, work is underway to offer virtual classes.
The center’s ceramic studio also is open on a one-person-at-a-time basis, Nebel said.
The Arts Council adjusted its programs, too. For instance, its annual Sec Sandoval Chalk Walk had participants create their art at their homes and share their work through pictures. Also, for the Arts Council’s Kite Festival, kite kits were distributed so people could assemble, decorate, and fly their kites while sharing their experience on the Arts Council’s various social media sites.
Monteith said the public participation in these programs was strong. She noted that 21 people participated in the Chalk Walk and the arts council had 270 kite kits and by the end of the Kite Festival, only 15 kits were left.
“We do this to be able to generate joy in the community,” she said.
Furthermore, in two weeks in the Art Center will introduce a new exhibit in its gallery. Nebel said the show will feature artists throughout the state. He added the pandemic’s effects on artists’ livelihoods is significant so the new show is an opportunity to support artists.
If people are interested in supporting the two organizations, there are several ways they can do that, Monteith said. They can be a volunteer, donate to the organizations or become a member. Visit https://losalamosartscouncil.org for more information.
Despite the uncertainties with COVID, Nebel said the newly merged organization is excited to serve the community.
“We are here and we are open and we’re excited about that,” he said.