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 Family creates mosaic medallions
to honor September 11 victims

—Ben Forgey

In the days since the September 11 tragedy, Placitas artist Mark Anthony and his family have been busily conceiving and creating large mosaics to honor the people and agencies involved in the rescue and cleanup. Mark and his wife, Delilah, homeschool their children Krishelle (fifteen) and Donovan (thirteen). The family was at home together watching the news when the planes crashed. Krishelle and Donovan were moved to do something instead of remaining helpless. "We felt the need to do something that would open doors rather than close them," Delilah said.

The family began talking about what to do. Mark suggested using his tile mosaics. A plan began to emerge: they would make their artwork a gift from themselves and also a gesture of support from all the people of New Mexico.

The family will be inaugurating the project in their home studio during the upcoming Placitas Artists Studio Tour in May. In all there will be five large medallions and three crosses shaped to resemble the silhouette of an angel. They plan to show the finished works at various firehouses in New Mexico before making the long road trip to present the sculptures to President Bush, people at the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center, as well as other agencies affected by the tragedy. In order to help fund this trip, they will be raffling a smaller mosaic angel during the studio tour and at the the New Mexico firehouses.The medallions, roughly five feet in diameter, depict in soft desert tones groups of firefighters and policemen in front of a still-standing World Trade Center. Mark estimates that the family has put over 175 hours into each mosaic.

"Even though we're over two thousand miles away, we want the people there to know our hearts were hurting too," Mark explains.During its progress, the project provided various lessons in the children's schooling: in addition to art, Krishelle and Donovan have learned aspects of geography, world politics, and community service. The two will finish the requirements for matriculation next year and they both intend to go to Harvard.

Historical society dedicates new extension

On May 17 the Sandoval County Historical Society held a dedication ceremony for the new addition to their facilities at the Edmond DeLavy home. Society volunteers assembled a lavish buffet and refreshments for the large crowd that filled the beautiful new thirty-by-sevent y-foot meeting room that includes two toilet facilities and is connected to the original Delavy house by a spacious hall. The meeting room opens to an expanded parking lot that was put to full use.

Senator Steve Komadina, Sheriff Ray Rivera, and Commissioner Bill Sapien attended the festive event, along with a number of candidates for local office. Former Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca was also there, taking the opportunity to video tape some of the exhibits.

Traditional Hispanic music was provided by Willie Arriola on accordion and his grandson Gilbert playing guitar and singing. The two have played together since Gilbert (now twenty-one) was eight years old. They were joined on one rousing number by Dave Pacheco, which began the ceremony on a happy note.

Martha Liebert said in her opening remarks, ”This spring day is an appropriate time for this dedication because it is a time of rejuvenation for the historical society. Our expanded facilities will house an outstanding program in the coming year. We would like to hear ideas and suggestions on how to use the building to better serve the community in the years to come.” Liebert thanked the Delavy family for the donation of the land and building, and thanked the people who have donated funds, information, and historic photographs. She said that the SCHS hopes to have volunteer docents enough to keep the building open nearly every day of the week, and that exhibits will eventually be available on-line, in keeping with the SCHSÕs mission to ”collect, preserve, and disseminate information to the public.”

Credit was given to the many volunteers who put together a generous team effort to complete the project. Bob Keegan, Ruben Montoya, Mickey Archibeque, and Roy Skeens shouldered the responsibilities of the building committee. David Pacheco volunteered long hours of plumbing expertise and labor. Ray Rivera contributed backhoe work. Karen Vallo and her sons Daniel and Marcus installed the new septic tanks and leach fields. Many more people contributed in many ways, including painting, cleaning and waxing the tile floors, installing fixtures, and hanging DeLavy paintings throughout.

$80,000 has already been invested in the project and $5,000 is still owed. There is still landscaping to be done, and there are plans to complete a south-facing ramada. The SCHS hopes to eventually add more space for the museum and research center. To inquire about making donations, membership, or volunteering, call Rita Last at 867-5857

 

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