Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy


Doug Quarles of Benson, Ariz., created the Santa Clara mural on Village Hall, with help from Youth Conservation Corps members Abigail Egge-Ogas, Jasmine Rivas, Aimee Ryan and Ysabel A., as signed on the bottom of the mural.

Village Clerk Sheila Hudman said the tree that stands in front of it was donated two years ago by Hope Myrick to cover the blank wall.

"We will carefully move it when it is dormant," Hudman said.

She told the Beat that Quarles did 50 murals in Tucumcari. He was referred to the village by William Powell, the head architect for the New Mexico MainStreet Program.

Quarles began the mural on July 16 and, with the help of the YCC students completed it on July 24. He also gave them guidance on mural painting.

The YCC also painted a cat and a dog on the front of the Animal Shelter next to the fire station.

Hudman said the mural and two buildings that were painted, were paid for through a MainStreet grant of $5,000, applied for through Silver City.

"The village has done six façades this year," Hudman said. "Because the Frontier Communities and Emerging Community programs in New Mexico MainStreet have been discontinued, the village does quality for anything else."

Hudman said the village is working on becoming a certified local government.

Next year will the 150th anniversary of the founding of Santa Clara, which for a time was the county seat of Grant County. Hudman said the Historic Committee is working on an event to take place Oct. 12-13, 2018, with a parade and a street celebration.

She talked about some of the historic buildings in town, including the Smokehouse, which was built in 1873. All the wood on the building burned in 1905, but the adobe walls remained standing and it was rebuilt in 1910.

"I do my job because I care about the village, its residents, and because I live here," Hudman said.

About the mural, she said the council and Mayor Richard Bauch wanted something that projected not only the past and the present, but also the future. On the left, for the past, are depicted the soldiers of Fort Bayard, the Native Americans, the miners, cowboys and ranchers and a Mexican buying copper and gold, because most of the production in the area was sold to Mexico.

The present has mining equipment, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, the officers' quarters at Fort Bayard, the City of Rocks and the Splash Park tower in Santa Clara. The future depicts a brother and sister in the middle of the main street, with the façades of the town.

She asked people to look closely at the mural, because three tiny skunks are hidden in the painting.

She also showed the Beat the two buildings at the corner of North Bayard and Oak streets, which were painted as part of the grant. "My husband, Bill, and I did three of the buildings in town, including the Smokehouse façade."

Hudman said the Little Free Library in front of the Village Hall has been popular and another is planned at Viola Stone Park.

Another project YCC students worked on this summer were to plant 25 fruit trees at the Santa Clara Senior Center, and to create a walking path among them. The village will donate three computers to the senior center.

Live from Silver City

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