A group of Las Cruces citizens who love art have turned this part of the original Camino Real into a cultural area where people can come enjoy museums, shops and galleries featuring local artists and photographers as well as showings from guest artists from other areas. Some of the galleries we visited were The Mandrake Fine Art & Botanica, Unsettled Art Gallery, Mesquite Art Gallery and The Electric Sun Tattoo Shop. There are at least another dozen galleries and shops along the historical Camino Real area that you can enjoy and find that perfect painting, sculpture or piece of jewelry.
Michael Ponce a local artist and owner of The Mandrake says the revitalization of the Mesquite Street area is important as it gives the community and visitors a place to visit, shop and learn about art and local culture. The Mandrake is currently featuring works from Mark Milroy a well-known artist from New York. We also spoke to Catherine Brenner who owns the Unsettled Gallery which is housed in a historic adobe building right on the original Camino Real. The gallery features an eclectic collection which Catherine claims can be a bit “unsettling” to some people.
Mel Stone professional photographer who specializes in beautiful photos of the southwest owns the Mesquite Art Gallery which is also in an adobe house that was built in 1898. Mel said he would like to see the local community help local artists to establish the downtown Las Cruces galleries including the Mesquite Street galleries into a real visitors destination spot like the Canyon Road area of Santa Fe.
You can visit and browse these wonderful galleries anytime on your own or you can have fun exploring the downtown and Mesquite area in the evening by joining the Downtown Art Ramble which is held the first Friday of every month. As a self-guided tour, visitors get to explore the galleries, shops, businesses, and restaurants of Downtown Las Cruces. With refreshments and entertainment along the way, this event is a great Friday night out.
The tour starts at Downtown Main St. from 5 – 8. There is a shuttle service available and the Art Ramble is fun for all ages. To see a map of the various galleries and tour and get more information visit downtownlascruces.org or call 575-525-1955.