Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

La Catrina String Quartet

Placitas Artists Series presents Latin American and European classical music

The Placitas Artists Series is pleased to welcome back La Catrina String Quartet for a concert of Latin American and European classical music on March 19, at 3:00 p.m. In residence at New Mexico State University since 2006, the quartet’s most recent previous appearance at PAS was in September 2014.

The first half of the concert features works for string quartet by Manuel Ponce, Astor Piazzolla, Julián Plaza and Mariano Mores—all arranged by the group’s cellist, Jorge Espinoza. He is joined by Daniel Vega-Albela and Simón Gollo on violins and Jorge Martínez-Ríos on viola.

Violist Willy Sucre, organizer of the “Willy Sucre and Friends” concert series, will join the group after intermission for Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 87.

La Catrina String Quartet is internationally recognized for promoting contemporary Latin American works for quartet and, in 2012, won a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Recording, with Brasilero.

The concert is generously sponsored by BJ and Alan Firestone and the Firestone Family Foundation.

Prior to the concert, at 2:00 p.m., visual artists reception will feature works by Dorothy Bunny Bowen, wax resist and dye on silk; Jerri Frantzve, mixed media; Preston Photography; and Dianna Shomaker, oil, acrylic and encaustic. Their works, all of which are for sale, will be on display through March 31.

The concert and visual artist reception take place at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). The facility is completely accessible.

For tickets and further information, see page 2, this Signpost, or visit

Placitas Artists Series projects are made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“A Walk on the Wild” shows in Madrid

Cowgirl Red presents “A Walk on the Wild,” paintings by Kathryn Nun and mixed media by Melinda Bon’ewell. Join them for an opening featuring both artists on March 4, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Artwork will show through June 31.

Kathryn Nun strong use of color results in bold and vivacious pieces, always full of passion and highly influenced by New Mexico's wildlife and brilliant sunsets.

Mixed media will be presented by Melinda Bon’ewell. She combines her passion of the wild west and found objects with mixed media—bringing historical characters to life with assemblage, acrylic paint, and up-cycled objects.

Cowgirl Red is located at 2865 Turquoise Trail in Madrid, New Mexico and is always open on weekends and most weekdays. Call for appointment or to verify hours at 474-0344

Fine art photographer Michael Edminster
Photo credit: —Oli Robbins

Homeward Bound, photograph, by Michael Edminster

Garrapata Beach, photograph, by Michael Edminster

Signpost featured artist
Gaining perspective: the photographs of Michael Edminster

~Oli Robbins

Not everyone experiences visual sublimity upon exiting the front door. But in these parts, it’s not uncommon to witness an awe-inspiring view around each corner. Our skies, our vistas—they’re what have beckoned artists to New Mexico for the past two-hundred-plus years.

Placitas photographer Michael Edminster captures that grandeur and was recently recognized for it. Just last month, New Mexico Magazine awarded Michael the grand prize in their 16th Annual New Mexico Magazine Photo Contest. His winning photograph, Fall Storm in the Sandia Mountains, depicts the Sandias in all their radiant glory, haloed by raging, rounded, and rain-filled clouds. [See cover photograph, this Signpost.] The contest attracted over 1,500 entries, which, as the magazine puts it, “adds luster to the accomplishment of winning.”

Writes New Mexico Magazine, “several participants echoed Edminster’s sensitivity to our local atmospheres, the skies in particular, and the modus operandi of seeking and always being prepared to take advantage of extraordinary conditions and opportunities.” Michael's esteemed image, which was taken outside of his own home, wasn’t one of his favorites at the time of entry. He often prefers shots that demand substantial struggle and fearlessness, but viewing friends consistently responded strongly to Fall Storm, so he ran with their reactions and submitted it.

Michael and his wife, Georgia, have been living in Placitas for only two-and-a-half years. They relocated from Santa Cruz, where they were settled for twenty years, following time in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Says Michael of his current home, “the location was just unbelievable."

Indeed it is—just look at his now-famed front-yard scenery! “We’d first heard about Taos or Santa Fe,” says Michael, “So we came out here to see those places. And I don’t know; we just immediately fell in love with NM. It was love at first sight... I think it was a combination of the culture, the environment, and the art.”

They’d wanted to move out here since that initial trip almost a decade ago, but put it off until 2014, in the meantime renting a different Placitas home and visiting twice yearly. Currently, photography is Michael’s only vocation, but for decades he enjoyed a career as an Agronomist (plant doctor), specializing in avocado, citrus, tropical, and flower crops in the Salinas Valley down to Santa Barbara.

Photography has enticed Michael since his pre-teen years. Growing up in the Bay Area, he exposed himself to the masterful art housed in the San Francisco MoMA and nearby galleries. He was immediately drawn to the black-and-white landscape photography of Ansel Adams and later began to see the genius embedded in the imagery of Edward Weston and Paul Strand. Says Michael, “The light and the look that those guys were able to do with their technical abilities… the art that came out of that period was just amazing. They were game changers.”

Michael embraced photography after finding that he couldn’t paint, lightheartedly explaining that he “tried to make up for that fact.”

Michael’s subject matter runs the gamut from landscape to people to infrared and wildlife. He’s presently interested in night photography, experimenting with LED lights to illuminate the foreground, and also invested in photographically memorializing people. He tends to approach potential subjects and ask for their blessing to be photographed, a method that generates entirely disparate results based upon his location. “I spent a lot of time in Mexico, and the US is different. Only during a festivity would people let down, like at Day of the Dead. In Mexico, they lend themselves to being more open. They will release control of themselves.”

Michael isn't scared to, quite literally, go out on a limb to achieve the perfect shot. He’s studied with extreme nature photographer Galen Rowell, who encouraged him to find vantage points that others won’t. One day, Michael was determined to shoot Big Sur from a fresh angle and reveal another side of the oft-photographed lookout. Michael recalls, “I destroyed my camera that day right after I took that picture. I decided to climb down the cliffs, and this is shot after I climbed down. I almost killed myself. But I got the picture I wanted. If you lose a camera but get that kind of shot, then it’s worth it… If you can’t get to a perspective that people haven’t seen, you can’t draw them in. It could still be a beautiful picture, but won’t pull them in.”

Asked how he sets himself apart in our current age of photographic ubiquity, Michael assured me that making a good image today is the same as it ever was. “It’s visualizing something. Truth. Art is about truth. It really is. Strand, Adams, Westin, Cunningham—their images are all showing you something through their eyes that they felt was beautiful, truthful, or impactful in some way.” So while Michael uses Photoshop to work with saturation and enhancements, he’s committed to remaining faithful to the actual moment. “Photography,” says Michael, “is a search for one’s vision of truth and the joy that comes from sharing that vision with others.”

Michael can be reached via email at His work will be on display at the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show at the Fine Arts Pavilion at the NM State Fairgrounds, running from April 2 to April 23 with an opening reception on April 1, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

"Aviary," by Jo Anne Fredrikson

"Owl & Pussycat,” by Judith Roderick

"Pedro," by Maris Mason

On March 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., there will be an opening reception at Placitas Community Library for the exhibit "Nine Placitas Quilters."—Jim Carnevale, Rod Daniel, Ginny Davis, Jo Anne Frederikson, Linda Hardin, Maris Mason, Lana Muraskin, Judith Roderick, Kathryn Weil

Like other artists, quilters find inspiration in nature, photographs, everyday life, the art of others, and, of course, traditional quilt designs.

The exhibit is open from March 4 through March 30 at the Placitas Community Library. The free public reception is on Friday, March 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. “Arte de Mask” will be on display until March 10.

The Other, fine art photography, by Marie Maher

Artist Marie Maher invites viewers into a surreal world

Do you ever feel that you are living in a surreal, even frightening world? If so, you will want to see this fine art photography exhibition by award-winning photographer Marie Maher. The artist reception will be held on March 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and the show will hang from March 3 to April 16 at Gallery St. Michael, 601 Montano Rd NW, in Albuquerque.

Maher tends toward darker subject matter—crumbling, deserted buildings, prisons, frightening mythological figures. Through her work she expresses emotions, memories, dreams, and other intangibles.

Placitas History Project talks movies

~Bob Gajkowski

The Placitas Community Library will again play host to “the guy who knows all about the crazy, awful, wonderful movies made in New Mexico.”

On March 5, film historian and author Jeff Berg will return to the Library to highlight some of the motion pictures that you may not have known were filmed in the Land of Enchantment. What surprises will Mr. Berg bring this time? Westerns, dramas, sci-fi, comedy?

In 2014, Mr. Berg presented "Movies Made in Placitas"—actually in and around Placitas (the Kris Kristofferson-Ali MacGraw "Convoy" as it flew off the NM 165 S-curves; John Corbett's "Dreamland" which temporarily inhabited the Mini-Mart; the bloody "Breaking Bad" cartel pool party at the Hacienda de Placitas). In 2015 "Movies Made Along New Mexico's Route 66" flicked by (Henry Fonda's "Grapes of Wrath" and Tom Hanks' "Forrest Gump").  In another film marathon we learned of the Westerns that have taken full advantage of our state's amazing locations and landscapes

This year’s free event will be held in the library's "Collin Theater" on March 5, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited so come early to enjoy "the previews." Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Popcorn will be served.

Placitas Holiday Sale Board members present a check from raffle proceeds to Placitas Elementary School for its Art In The Schools program.

Placitas Holiday Sale gives back to community

~Placitas Holiday Sale Committee

For more than a decade, students at Placitas Elementary School have benefited from the generous donations to the Arts in the Schools program by artists of the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale. Each year they have donated artwork to the raffle that funds the program. Last year’s Placitas Holiday Sale raised $1,675 due to the fine efforts of volunteer’s Dee and Charlie Christmann.

On February 8, a check for that amount was presented to Principal James Telles for the Art In The Schools program. This money will buy all kinds of art supplies for the students and enhance the school's art program. This marks the fourteenth year that the Placitas Holiday Sale has given to the elementary school, and it has donated over $16,000 specifically earmarked for the arts program in Placitas.

The kids at the Placitas Elementary School have enjoyed a unique and stimulating learning experience from AIS, which has exposed them to many artists and volunteers. Because of this, the halls are bursting with colorful artwork done by the students

"We live in a very special community where people really support the arts," says Placitas Holiday Sale Director Nancy Couch, "This innovative art program at Placitas Elementary School is made possible by the donations from the artists and the people who care about exposing children to the fun side of being creative.”

If you would like to donate to this program, drop by the school's office or contact someone from the Holiday Sale. Mark your calendar for this year’s Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale to be held November 18–19. To preview the artists, artwork, map to the sites, or to apply to the 2017 show as an artist, visit

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is organized by a small committee of local artists and sponsored by the Placitas Mountain Crafts and Soiree Society, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving the community, the arts, and artists.

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