MESA Project

Pata Viva Farm / Bryce Richard

Funding Received: 2016
Las Cruces, NM
Funding Period: 2 years and 5 months
November 27, 2020

Alongside the MESA Meals, the MESA Project coordinated several visual arts projects to raise public awareness about the connections between agriculture and the environment.

“Tierra Sagrada” Paint-by-Numbers Participatory Public Mural

Las Cruces community members painting the "Tierra Sagrada" mural at the Branigan Memorial Public Library

With funding from both the initial ArtPlace America grant and a $5,000 follow-up grant from the Rumphius Foundation, we were able to involve over 300 community members in painting a participatory public mural, “Tierra Sagrada” (“Sacred Earth”) at the amphitheatre of our public library, with agriculture and the environment as its theme. Thanks to a paint-by-numbers approach, people of all ages and artistic abilities were able to participate. If you’d like to learn more about paint-by-numbers, participatory public murals and how you could organize one for your community, check out a short manual we put together for you: 


MESA Art Show

Painting the MESA Art Show break room mural

The MESA Art Show was a multi-phase, participatory art exhibit highlighting the connections between art, agriculture, and the environment. Held at Cruces Creatives, a non-profit makerspace that MESA team members Lea Wise-Surguy and Pat DeSimio were able to start during (and partially thanks to) the MESA Project, the MESA Art Show featured

  • Gallery exhibits in multiple media

  • A participatory, paint-by-numbers mural in the makerspace break room

  • Music performances and an open mic around the theme of sustainability

  • Gourmet food and drink prepared by local chefs, breweries, and vineyards 


“By the Dam” Mural

Mural of a person assisting endangered local fish over an acequia dam

One of the designs submitted for the participatory mural at Las Cruces’ public library was a little too small for the amphitheatre site, but thanks to ArtPlace funding for the MESA Art Show, we were able to pay the artists, Raquel Madrigal and Henry Hartig, to paint the mural at Cruces Creatives and include it as one of the pieces in the exhibit. The mural was also included in a binational art exhibit, “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande,” and officially recognized by the City of Las Cruces in a mayoral proclamation declaring November 2019 “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande Awareness Month.”

Las Cruces Mayoral Proclamation Declaring November 2019 “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande Awareness Month”