Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

12th Annual Placitas Studio Tour

-Riha Rothberg, Tour Coordinator

Artists and artisans living or maintaining their studio in Placitas are eligible to participate in the 12th Annual Placitas Studio Tour. The popular event is always held on Mother’s Day weekend May 9 and 10, 2009. Those interested should visit for guidelines and to view examples of last year’s artists’ work.

Applications for the 2009 tour will be posted on the website February 1, and the deadline for receipt is two weeks later, on February 14. Now is the time to prepare professional quality images of your work. Deadline for images is also February 14, due to other publishing commitments. Images should be submitted digitally, details will appear in the application.

If you are new to the area, you are welcome to contact me through the website to introduce yourself and ask questions. If you are not an artist, visit the website and mark your calendars for a great opportunity to meet your talented neighbors. We look forward to another successful tour this spring.


Presidio Saxophone Quartet to perform in Placitas

On Sunday, February 8, The Placitas Artists Series will present the Presidio Saxophone Quartet. Hailing from the beautiful Sonoran Desert surrounding Tucson, Arizona, the Presidio Quartet is comprised of Michael Keepe, Daniel Bell, Michael Kuhn, and Ryan McCormick. Presidio draws from a very unique and imaginative saxophone quartet repertoire.

Invariably, a Presidio concert will include dazzling French masterworks, more adventurous contemporary American fare, and numerous fun and familiar works. The music of this remarkable combination of soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones is sure to resonate with audiences of diverse tastes and backgrounds.

Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for February exhibiting visual artists Karl and Mary Hofmann, Rachel Nelson, Dianna Shomaker, and Vicki Van Vynckt.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on February 8 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 1:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas; Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible, and free childcare is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080.



Prairie Chicken Festival organizers announce poster contest

The High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival is looking for a few good artists to help celebrate the eighth annual event, which will be April 17-19, 2009, in Milnesand, New Mexico.

Artists of all ages are invited to enter their original works in the festival poster contest. The grand-prize-winning entry will be reproduced on the annual festival poster, and the artist will receive $300. Top winners in three age categories: adult, grades 7-12, and grades K-6, will receive $50.

The deadline for artwork submissions to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for the contest is March 1. Any two-dimensional media, including but not limited to prints, oils, pastels, acrylics, water media, pen and ink, graphite, photography, digital, and mixed media will be considered. Images should represent the lesser prairie chicken and its habitat.

Entries must be received by March 1 in the Public Information and Outreach Division, Department of Game and Fish, 1 Wildlife Way, PO Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504. Entries will be returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or may be picked up from the Department after March 30. Artists should submit 35mm slides, prints, high-resolution digital photos, or original work. Artwork must include the artist’s name, address, phone or email, and entry category. For more information about the contest, call (505) 476-8004.

The High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival celebrates the lesser prairie chicken and the Llano Estacado (staked plains) of eastern New Mexico. Festival participants see prairie chickens perform their remarkable early morning courtship dances, learn about the cultural and natural history of the southern Great Plains, take daily birding tours, and enjoy good food and western hospitality.

The 2009 festival will be April 17-19 in Milnesand, located in southeastern New Mexico. Attendance is limited to the first one hundred participants who register and pay an entry fee of $90 per person. Participants are encouraged to register early. Registration is limited because of the sensitivity of the lesser prairie chicken during the breeding season. The fee covers all field trips, five meals, and a commemorative poster.

The festival is made possible through a cooperative effort of the Department of Game and Fish, the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, the Grasslands Charitable Foundation, and the community of Milnesand.

Registration forms and more information about the festival are available on the Department’s website, For more information, please contact Tish McDaniel, (505) 762-6997 or


Mariana Roumell-Gasteyer

Artist Mariana Roumell-Gasteyer in her home studio.


“A Stack of Three,” stoneware

Signpost featured artist of the month: Mariana Roumell-Gasteyer  

Famously funny in her own right

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

Everyone knows Mariana—and if they don’t, they soon will. Married to the mayor of Corrales and mother of a television and Broadway star, Mariana Roumell-Gasteyer personifies the eccentric Village of Corrales so well that when Phil Gasteyer was running for mayor, his supporters printed a bumper sticker that read, “I’m voting for Mariana’s husband.”

She has been everywhere and knows everyone; she can trump your insider scoop with one doubly juicy, and a trenchant observation to boot. But no one knows Mariana, really, who has not stepped into the cool cave of her ceramic studio, where she hordes the precious hours not stolen by “wife of” and “mother of” performances.

Here, in the cheerfully disordered workshop that is nearly as large as her house itself, you might spy the ever-animated potter in a moment of silent concentration, breezily conjuring rabbits, horses, radishes, and carrots across the sides of her bowls and plates with a few deft strokes of the brush.

Other days, she is hard at work turning out teapots, a dozen at a time, that sprout fanciful pig heads and tails but still manage to pour tea—or life-size jackrabbits that frighten and thrill with their impossibly sexy musculature. She looks up and shakes her head, mocking her own consuming drive to work, work, work at clay. “I’m back at it,” she says with a dismissive wave of the hand.

It’s always been a question of consuming passions for Roumell-Gasteyer, the daughter of Romanian and Greek immigrants who grew up in the cultured enclave of New Buffalo, Michigan, where her mother ran the town newspaper and her father was justice of the peace. The four Roumell daughters studied ballet and painting with Russian émigré friends of the family; Mariana showed a special talent for art, and would simply “draw and draw and draw.”

Now she thinks it might have set her back, that early ability. “Often the things that come easily, you don’t think much of them—you think things that are worth doing should be hard,” she muses. It wasn’t until she had switched majors several times that she finally left Kalamazoo College in her third year for the venerable Art Institute of Chicago.

By then, Mariana Roumell had gotten married and was about to embark on the consuming journey of her husband’s legal career. She still wishes she had finished more than one year of art school before then—a regret that continues to motivate her to work harder and longer to train herself in different media. How else to explain the plucky way she transformed herself into a potter by sheer force of will?

For much of her career, Roumell-Gasteyer taught art to schoolchildren in Washington, DC, and satisfied her artistic longings through summer workshops at the Penland School of Crafts. This led her from watercolor painting to fiber arts to sewing one-of-a-kind cloth dolls that she sold at the National Museum of American Craft—arts that she would practice with a vengeance in the hours free from teaching and raising a family.

“I never loved teaching, and envied those who did,” she says frankly. By 1991, she was done. Her last summer at Penland, Roumell-Gasteyer studied clay, and when she packed up to move out west, she determined to start a new life as a potter.

Her plan was to scout out a place to retire, though Philip would not be ready for several more years. They had rejected Phoenix and Monterey Bay as being dreadfully manicured and tidy. It wouldn’t do for the woman whose exquisite hand-sewn dolls turn out to be, on closer inspection, sinister or bizarre dictators and blonde hussies.

Basing her search in Albuquerque, “I drove all over the state, and kept coming back to Corrales,” Roumell-Gasteyer recalls. She bought an adobe fixer-upper, rented a studio, then built her own to hold the kiln and potter’s wheel purchased from the sale of a floor loom she had hauled out from DC.

In the sun-bleached desert where she could not identify a single plant, the weaver and doll-maker vanished with the schoolteacher and political wife. “I made this huge quantum leap, and announced to Philip, ‘Clay—this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.’”

Roumell-Gasteyer ended up spending six years alone in Corrales, a time she still talks about with nostalgic longing. “I’d wanted to be an artist, but I was not emboldened,” she says of her younger self. Marrying young to a “workaholic,” she dove instantly into teaching, raising kids, fixing the dishwasher. At the age of fifty, she was suddenly free to make art.

“I loved it,” she says with the deadpan look that usually precedes a wicked laugh. In fact, “when the moving guy arrived with the furniture, he took one look at the house and said, ‘You like living by yourself, don’t you?’” It was no easy transition back to being a wife, and Roumell-Gasteyer notes with a comedic sigh that Phillip thankfully found himself something to do… as the mayor.

She, meanwhile, threw herself into the potter’s art, formulating glazes, building a gas-fired kiln, learning techniques from anagama to salt and soda firing, and doing much of the renovation on their adobe home. She more than doubled the size of her studio, and began selling in half a dozen galleries.

Not long after arriving in Corrales, Roumell-Gasteyer had met longtime artists Tommy Findley and Patricia Smith; together they founded the Corrales Bosque Gallery, now marking fifteen years as an artist cooperative. Moving out west, it appears, had realized the artistic commitment she had always regretted not making.

“When Ana was in L.A. trying to make it, she said the single most enabling thing I ever did for her was to pick up and move out west without knowing a soul,” Roumell-Gasteyer says of her daughter, the comedienne Ana Gasteyer.

The actress clearly owes also something of her ironic wit, arched eyebrows, and plucky style to the kind, diminutive lady who swears like a trucker and rolls up a sleeve to show off a birthday gift from the mayor: a yin-yang tattoo that she evilly unveils at stuffy political functions.

Wearied by the factionalism of Corrales politics, Roumell-Gasteyer knows how to have her fun. “You talk to anyone!” she mocks a councilman’s wife saying to her at one event, to which she snorts, “Me! I would talk to a cow! And plus, it’s a way of sniffing people out.”

At her feet, the Bassett-Dalmatian mix who is never far from her side sniffs in her direction, seemingly aware of being the comic model for a ceramic hound whose rippling musculature serves only to point toward the title, “It’s All About the Nose.”

Mariana would rather be in her studio with him anyway, coaxing pigs and horses from blocks of clay, or layering translucent colors across fanciful vegetables while listening to her books on tape, than pressing the flesh at a social venue.

But she’ll wave warmly when she sees you nonetheless, and probably come right over, flashing that wicked smile. And you’ll remember her.



Local artists display their work

Throughout the month of February, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Karl and Mary Hofmann, Rachel Nelson, Dianna Shomaker, and Vicki Van Vynckt at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

Karl and Mary Hofmann work together in pottery. Karl’s influences range from the Meissen porcelain and folk pottery that decorated Karl’s childhood home in Germany to the wedging and throwing techniques he observed in Japan. Mary’s background is in painting. They have lived in Placitas for thirty years.

Rachel Nelson works in watercolor, but unlike most, she paints on a non-absorbent medium. This makes for a more fluid technique that she dubs “adult finger-painting.”

After years of pursuing traditional painting, Dianna Shomaker has more recently begun with extensive use of collage, charcoal, and palette knife. The excitement of seeing the unexpected form by experimental application of color through these media oftentimes creates a stronger statement for her than the more traditional methods. The new technique imparts tremendous depth and relief to each piece.

Vicki Van Vynckt has been painting in oils for over twenty-five years, with her favorite subjects being skyscapes and landscapes. She uses fresh, impressionistic color to draw the viewer into her paintings. Living in New Mexico since 2004, she likes to work both outdoors and indoors.

A reception for the artists will be held at 1:30 p.m. on February 8, prior to a concert by The Presidio Saxophone Quartet. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas; Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080 or visit



Nominations sought for annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

The New Mexico Arts Commission and New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, are now accepting nominations for the 2009 Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Nominations can be submitted by individual New Mexico residents or representatives of businesses or organizations in New Mexico.

Nominations for the Governor’s Arts Awards may include individual living artists working in any discipline who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the arts, individual non-artists who have made significant or distinguished contributions to the arts in New Mexico, and businesses, nonprofits, or foundations with sustained involvement in and support for the arts.

Nominations must be postmarked by March 6, 2009. Nominations may also be hand-delivered no later than March 6. Nomination forms are available online or contact New Mexico Arts, PO Box 1450, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1450, 505/827-6490, 800/879-4278 (instate), or email A committee of the New Mexico Arts Commission reviews all 2009 nominations and forwards its recommendations to the Governor and First Lady. Winners of this prestigious award will be honored September 25, 2009, at a special public awards ceremony hosted by Governor Bill Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson.

The awards, established in 1974 by Governor Bruce King and First Lady Alice King, honor outstanding New Mexicans for lifetime achievement in and support of the arts. Last year’s recipients include Harry Benjamin of Silver City for Painting; Tammy Garcia of Santa Clara Pueblo for Visual Arts – Pottery, Sculpture and Glass; Jack Loeffler of Santa Fe for Ethnomusicology and Writing; Noel Marquez of Artesia for Painting and Mural Artistry; Eugene Newmann of Ribera for Painting; Ali MacGraw of Tesuque – Major Contributor to the Arts; Eileen A. Wells of Santa Fe – Major Contributor to the Arts; and KHFM Radio 95.5 of Albuquerque – Major Contributor to the Arts.


NM Rose Parade Float

New Mexico's float 'Hats Off To New Mexico - Beep Beep' wins coveted Bob Hope Humor Award in 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade

—New Mexico Tourism Department

More than one million spectators lining Colorado Blvd. and millions more watching around the world were treated to the New Mexico Tourism Department's "Hats off to new Mexico - Beep Beep" float, winner of the coveted Bob Hope Humor Award in the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Bob Hope Humor Award, in honor of the one of the world's greatest entertainers, the late Bob Hope, is given to the float that is considered by the judges to be the "most comical and amusing."

Among the float's riders were Jim Garcia of El Patio Restaurant, Linda Clough Jones and Craig Kausen. Jones and Kausen are the daughter and grandson, respectively, of Chuck Jones, the animation genius behind Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, the featured performers on New Mexico's award-winning float. This is the second straight year that the Land of Enchantment's float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade has won a major award.

The float was designed by award-winning float designer Raul Rodriguez and built by Fiesta Parade Floats of Pasadena, Calif. under contract with the Tourism Department. Fiesta Parade-built floats won four of the top five trophies given in today's parade.

"This was a fabulous experience and an incredible honor for the citizens of New Mexico," Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the Tourism Department, said of the award. "We are grateful to Raul, Tim (Estes) and all the folks at Fiesta Parade Floats. We also thank the nearly 65 New Mexico volunteers who traveled by plane and automobile to California to work on the float and take part in the festivities; our volunteer float riders who are wonderful ambassadors for the State of New Mexico; and we particularly want to thank our sponsors - Isleta Casino & Resort, New Mexico State Parks, Albuquerque Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Santa Fe Convention & Visitor's Bureau, the Town of Taos, the Town of Red River, Santa Fe Brewing Company, ESPN, Vivac Winery and El Pinto Restaurant for helping us in this unique marketing effort."

The national and international exposure offered New Mexico through television coverage of the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade is valued at more than $1 million, according to industry experts. Nearly 40 million Americans in 16.5 million households tuned in to watch the 2008 parade on nine national and international television networks, including NBC, ABC, HGTV and the Travel Channel. The Parade was also broadcast live in 150 countries and territories.

"The national and international exposure offered New Mexico through our appearance in the Parade and the media events held in conjunction is immeasurable," Secretary Cerletti said. "Our purpose in participating in this event ? like all our advertising efforts - is to pique the interest of our potential visitors and to create in them a curiosity to find out more about the Land of Enchantment. It is important that the New Mexico tourism industry does everything it can to take advantage of unique marketing opportunities, like the Tournament of Roses Parade."


El Rinconcito Español

Algo es algo; menos es nada.
Half a loaf is better than no bread.

De casi no se muere nadie.
A miss is as good as a mile.

Haz el bien sin mirar a quién.
Do what is right, come what may.

Submitted by, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills.






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