Friday, November 20, 2009

Alamo Mercantile Opens Doors Again

By John Larson
SOCORRO –The Alamo Mercantile building on California St. is open again, this time under new management, with a full complement of local artists and artisans.
After an agreement between the building’s owner, Alamo Navajo School, Inc., and the City of Socorro, the Socorro County Arts Group took over the operation. A grand opening was held Saturday to introduce the store to the public.
Manager Joy Miler told the Mountain Mail all of the artists are either from the Socorro and Magdalena areas, and that Alamo artists are to be showcased.
“Alamo people will not get charged a booth fee or commission, and they will have a permanent spot in the store,” she said. “This is a good time for stopping by, with Christmas not far off.”
Joy said monthly workshops in a wide variety of arts and crafts are planned.
Workshops in Halloween pumpkin carving and origami box making have already been held.
“We will be having a wire jewelry workshop next,” she said. “We want to have one a month in the evening. Most of our workshops will be adult-oriented, depending on what kind it is.”
The location – near to hotels and Socorro Springs – makes it easy for tourists and visitors to see what Socorro artists have to offer, she said.
Joy’s husband, artist Leon Miler, said all booths are filled with a wide variety of art.
“It’s laid out like a Mercado,” Miler said. “Customers will be able to browse from booth to booth. Each one is like a small specialty store.”
“All of the arts and crafts must be made by the artist. There will be no re-sellers,” he said. “The only exception will be rare, vintage collectibles.”
The one booth dedicated exclusively to collectibles is that of Deborah Dean, Socorro’s Tourism Director. Her passion is hats, she said.
“Anything a little older, actually. Things that have character, like old luggage, jewelry, interesting looking things from another era,” Dean said.
One other deviation is the booth in the northeastern corner of the store, in which customers can buy gift baskets.
Of the 26 artists in the Mercantile, many are familiar with Socorroans.
Some of the artists include jewelry maker Willie Bond, painter Karen Debont, watercolorist Janice Eaton, painter Bob Enders, glass artist Denise Elvrum, photographer Colleen Gino, painter Beverly Hansen, woodworker Olaf Heintz, Arlene Krigstad, Shawn LaBrier, potter Loretta Lohman, stained glass artist Dona Nowicki, Santos maker Maryrose Pino, fiber artist Bobbie Stendahl, Susanne Von Schroder, potter Emma Wann, and digital artist Maureen Wilks.
Alamo Mercantile is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.

Pictured above: Local band Roon performed during Alamo Mercantile’s grand opening Saturday as jewelry artist and photographer Shawn LaBrier (behind counter) talks with patrons. Band members are (from left): Johnny Dean, Ronna Kalish, and Jim Ruff.

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