MPL: Life Along The Rio Grande Exhibit Opens July 1

On the Rio Grande by Nicole Dunn. Courtesy/LAC

Life Blood II by Char. Courtesy/LAC


Life Along the Rio Grande is the title of an exhibit of art quilts by members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates. It will be shown at Mesa Public Library during the month of July.

Life Along the Rio Grande was conceived as an opportunity for artists living in states where the Rio Grande flows to express their thoughts and feelings about the river- its place in their lives and in the grander scheme of life in the land along its banks.

The resulting showcase of contemporary art quilts reflects the artists’ diverse creative approaches to the theme. Some chose to focus on the landscape, others the animals and people who inhabit the area, still others referenced science and geography. There are both representational and abstract images. The artists were challenged to work within specified size parameters.

Shannon Conley, who designed the catalog that accompanies the exhibit, noted: “The Rio Grande supports a vast diversity of life as it travels through the American Southwest from its headwaters in the mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. As I went through the quilts in preparation for designing the catalog, thematic groups began to emerge. Some artists focused on the river itself, while others depicted aspects of the varied ecosystems surrounding the Rio Grande, and still others seemed to draw inspiration from the people and their connections to the river.”

Methods and materials vary greatly. Hand-dyed and commercially printed cottons, silk, various synthetic fabrics, even non-woven materials and found objects appear in the 30+ art quilts on view. Some quilts feature applique, others are pieced, and many showcase surface design techniques such as painting, printing and image transfers.

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art quilts and the artists who create them. It is an information resource for all things art-quilt related. Founded in 1989 by a group of 50 artists, SAQA members now number more than 3,500 artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors. More information is available at

To learn more about SAQA New Mexico, contact Mary Jo Stipe,

The catalog for Life Along the Rio Grande is currently available from

Mesa Public Library’s Upstairs Art Gallery is at 2400 Central Ave., in Los Alamos. For more information about library events, call 505.662.8250 or visit the “events” tab on the library website at

Living in Lamy by Mary Jo Stipe. Courtesy/LAC

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