Photos and article by Shirin McArthur


The Mimbres Region Arts Council (MRAC) celebrated an outstanding year of successful programming at its annual meeting at The Commons on Tuesday evening, August 26, 2014.

Ashleigh Garcia, MRAC Board President, opened the brief annual meeting; and Anna Howell, Board Secretary, read the 2013 annual meeting minutes, which were approved. Volunteer and former MRAC Treasurer Jane Janson then gave the financial report.


Janson stated that the program year’s net income of $13,150 is very positive. Over the past ten years, MRAC has broken even three times, sustained losses twice, and has achieved positive net income in five of those ten years. MRAC’s percentage of net assets is very good, and there is $15,000 in reserves. MRAC also has a strong mix of revenue sources, which is unusual for many nonprofits.

With the business meeting concluded, Garcia thanked the outgoing board members, introduced the current board members and staff, honored volunteers, and recognized two local sponsors who were present: Cissy McAndrew of Mimbres Realty, Inc., which sponsors the Indie/Folk Series, and Jill Olson of Holiday Inn Express, which provides hotel rooms for all visiting performers.

Garcia then shared two highlights from the past year. The first was MRAC's receiving one of seven Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in 2013. MRAC was the only organization and the only recipient in southwestern New Mexico to receive an award. Established in 1974, these awards are given to arts supporters and living artists who demonstrate a lifetime of achievement in their art form or otherwise contribute to the arts in New Mexico.

The establishment of an MRAC endowment was the second highlighted achievement. With $5,000 in seed funds and a match of $1,500, Garcia stated that the endowment will “push us where we need to go.” She was especially pleased that all board members also made pledges in support of the endowment. She noted that, while most grants fund specific programming, the endowment will support the business operations of the organization.

Outgoing board member Blake Farley then presented some additional highlights from the past year, noting that a great number of events had been sold out or exceeded participation goals. Examples shared were Chocolate Fantasia, which sold out at 450 tickets, and the Chinese acrobats, which sold out its 1,000-seat venue. The Black Tie Benefit Ball had its most successful year ever, and the Comcast Cares Day tile-making event raised $11,000. New efforts to reach out to young adults were also a great success with summer concerts at Old James Stadium in partnership with WNMU.

MRAC staff member Alexandra Tager then provided some glimpses at the program year ahead. The annual Silver City Blues Festival turns twenty years old in 2015, and the upcoming Pickamania! bluegrass festival will feature Sarah Jarosz. The Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra will return to Silver City and will include a performance for students during their stay. The Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of A Christmas Carol will be a December highlight, and Nelson Illusions will perform its magic show in March.

Themes were also announced for two of MRAC’s annual signature events. The Black Tie Benefit Ball theme will be Victorian Steampunk, while Chocolate Fantasia has a Hollywood theme: "Lights, Camera, Chocolate!" MRAC hopes to sell 500 Chocolate Fantasia tickets in 2015.

Board member Linda Smith spoke about two programs that honor MRAC’s commitment to the audience of the future: students in area schools. Fine Arts Fridays, sponsored by PNM, consists of lectures and/or demonstrations in the performing and visual arts. The second program connects students with artists who have come to Silver City to perform in MRAC events. In the year ahead there will be four artists holding special student performances, and some of the Nebraska Theatre Caravan actors will give a drama workshop at Light Hall.

In conclusion, Garcia expressed MRAC’s appreciation for the use of The Commons for the meeting and to the MRAC staff for their hard work. MRAC members and volunteers were encouraged to spread the word about all the upcoming events.


Live from Silver City

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