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c. Marji Bassler

c. Marji Bassler

Animals, art, and a cafÉ

During the months of March and April, diners at the Flying Star Café in Bernalillo can enjoy the brightly colored, whimsical animal art of Albuquerque artist Marjie Bassler. In addition to providing joyful art to be viewed, the exhibit will benefit Animal Humane|New Mexico, which provides everything from sheltering unwanted animals and sponsoring mobile adoption events to an on-site veterinary clinic and an animal behavior hotline to help people deal with their pets’ problems.

“I was inspired to mount this exhibit of animal art originals and prints to benefit Animal Humane|New Mexico when I heard that donations to charities are down,” says Bassler. “Flying Star seemed like a perfect place for the exhibit—they do much to support AH|NM, plus Flying Star is an upbeat, contemporary gathering spot.” A percentage of the price of artwork sold from the exhibit will be donated to AH|NM.

“My ultimate goal is to add fun and lightheartedness to people’s lives by creating art that makes them laugh, relax, and feel uplifted. I’ve always loved animals and find them the perfect subject for paintings that are happy and fun and that invite the viewers to imagine their own stories to accompany the paintings. Right now we could all use a good laugh and an amusing story. But isn’t that always the case?”

Using vibrant colors, Bassler creates both watermedia paintings on paper and acrylics on canvas, most often depicting dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits. Her watermedia paintings tend to be more detailed, with the acrylics on canvas being done with larger brushes and blocks of color, foregoing the tiny details.

Several images from Bassler’s Chair Series are included in the Flying Star exhibit. “My Chair Series began when I woke up in the middle of the night and had the sudden urge to do some sketching,” states Bassler. “The resulting drawings showed cats and dogs in various poses on overstuffed armchairs. This provided me with the beginning point for endless inspiration as I continue this series.”

Bassler’s work can also be viewed just north of the Flying Star at Art Gallery 66, 373 North Camino del Pueblo,; at Sumner & Dene, 516 Central NE in Albuquerque,; and at Houshang’s Gallery, 713 Canyon Road in Santa Fe,

Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful earns state’s top award

The city’s Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful (KRRB) Division has been awarded the Truett Gill Award of Excellence by New Mexico Clean & Beautiful, a program of the New Mexico Tourism Department.

This is the highest honor that New Mexico Clean & Beautiful bestows upon community programs in the state. The award was formally presented to the city on February 11 at the Governing Body meeting in the Governing Body Chambers of Rio Rancho City Hall. This is the second consecutive year KRRB has won this award.

“Earning this award and being acknowledged as the state’s top program is a tremendous honor for our city,” said Tom Swisstack, Mayor of Rio Rancho. “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of KRRB staff members Jennifer Scacco, Barry Conant, and Lauren Dykes, as well as the countless volunteers who donate their time to help better our community.”

Each year, KRRB conducts numerous recycling and beautification programs, including household hazardous waste collections, appliance and electronic recycling, telephone book recycling, Christmas tree recycling, educational programs, mesa monitoring, and illegal dumping removal and prevention.

In addition to the Truett Gill Award, KRRB was honored by the New Mexico Tourism Department with a Gold Affiliate Award for their anti-litter and beautification efforts and by their national affiliate, Keep America Beautiful, with the President’s Circle Award. This honor recognized KRRB for having good standing as a community organization.

For information about KRRB, call 896-8729 or visit the city’s website at and click on the KRRB Kerby Coyote mascot link

Helping Our Communities— a spring equinox event

Celebrating the earth with music and song

—John Orne Green 

How can we celebrate the earth and help our communities in challenging times? One way to start is to rediscover the simple joy music and song bring us. We will do just that at the eleventh annual Spring Equinox Celebration on Saturday, March 21 at 6:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church (LPCC).

Spring Equinox is the pivot when the days again become as long as the nights and then longer—the return of the light, the sun, warmer days, and the beginning of the growing season.

The Equinox event will feature singers and musicians performing in a variety of American folk traditions, including Irish, Scottish, Celtic, Hispanic, and Native American—all in words and music that celebrate the earth and everything that comes of it—the beauty and the bounty.

After the program, attendees can enjoy refreshments in the fellowship hall and also visit with people who have come together to answer basic needs of the community in challenging times with a variety of creative projects.

The brave and spry can expect an opportunity to try their feet at a bit of traditional folk dancing led by local callers and accompanied by some of the evening’s musicians.

The Spring Equinox celebration is a regular joint offering of The Earth Care Fellowship of LPPC and The Partnership for Earth Spirituality of Albuquerque as part of the Earth Vespers series. While the event is free to the public, donations are welcomed. All are invited.

If you have questions about this year’s event, please contact John Green at 867-0240, email, or visit the LPPC website at






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