Arts festival keeps growing

Sandia Elementary third-grader Gabby Saiz waves to the crowd as she marches in the Children’s and Ethnic Fair Parade of Flags and People during the Clovis Cultural Arts Fest. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

Five years ago Lonzo Lassiter signed up for a pottery class at Clovis Community College to fulfill his art credit and get an easy “A.” He never thought he would earn a second and third place finish in a hand-made pottery competition at Saturday’s Pintores 28th Annual Fine Arts Show at this year’s Clovis Cultural Arts Fest.

“It’s frustrating when you first try to learn the (pottery) wheel,” said Lassiter, who is now “addicted” to the wheel. “I love it, it’s so calming you get hooked.”

The Clovis resident now has a wheel at his house and is a full-time student at Eastern New Mexico University majoring in communications and minoring in art.

His pottery entries in this year’s competition were different than his previous work.

“I chose ones that were different from what I’ve done in the past, something that’s new to me, that people haven’t seen me do,” Lassiter said.

Hundreds were on hand Saturday for this year’s festival, and the art-adorned Main Street was filled with the sound of African drums and the smell of roasting corn.Clovis resident and Assistant City Clerk Claire Burroughes helped plan the event, and thought attendance was good.

“I’m really pleased with the number of people who came to join in the fun,” she said.

Julie Charters, director of Clovis Downtown Revitalization, said she thought the event achieved its purpose “to raise awareness in Clovis of both arts and downtown.”

“That’s why we have it here on Main Street,” Charters said.
Lassiter said the arts festival provides a great opportunity to talk to other artists.

“It’s a chance to get to see what other people are doing and talk to other people and learn new things. Artists are really good about sharing things they’ve learned over the year. It’s not a profession where people try to keep secrets from each other,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter thinks it’s good for the community as well, not just the artists.

“I think this festival is great because people in Clovis don’t get a chance to see that much art. Clovis, for a town this size, has some wonderful art. It gives people a chance to see what wonderful artists we have here,” Lassiter said.

After a week of rain and dark skies event planners were nervous it might rain, but the sun came out for the entire day.
“We were really blessed with the weather today,” Burroughes said.

Burroughes said the highlight of her day was the Nata-Raja Dance Troupe’s performance in which performers dance to varying ethnic songs.

“It is something you definitely don’t expect to see in Clovis, New Mexico, and it typifies the spirit of the day, what the event is all about — color, diversity, spirit and fun.”

Lassiter added: “I’m really happy that the town supports this arts festival like they do. It keeps getting better each year.”