News Column

Lasting success

June 20, 2014

By Kathaleen Roberts, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

June 20--Tucked inside Patio Market near an historic well, Old Town's venerable Yucca Gallery is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The co-op gallery began in a space near the San Felipe de Neri Church, launched as a project of the local branch of the Washington, D.C.-based National League of American Pen Women. The organization's mission was to enhance arts experiences in local communities.

From there, the gallery hopscotched around the plaza three more times before finding its current home in the old gatehouse of the Hacienda del Rio Restaurant, complete with adobe walls and historic vigas.

"It was very much a seat-of-the-pants operation initially," gallery artist Rod Groves said. "They struggled to get established."

About 10 years after opening, the group made the then-controversial decision to admit men.

"It seemed unduly restrictive," Groves said.

But the real motive for the inclusion may have been more practical than political.

"They needed handymen," he said with a laugh.

Today the co-op boasts 40 members. Artwork for sale includes clay, glass, encaustic, gourds, handmade books, jewelry, metal, collage, painting, pastel, textiles, watercolor and wood.

Paintings, crafts and jewelry reign as its top-sellers, Groves said.

"I think the strength of the gallery lies in the focus on local art and artists and on reasonable prices and a good return to the artists," he said.

A majority of the sales price returns to the artist, he explained.

"Everyone is juried in," he said. Each new artist spends six months in a probationary period before finally gaining a voted admittance.

"We never lack for applicants."

Yucca Gallery 50th Anniversary

WHEN: 5-8 tonight

WHERE: Yucca Art Gallery, 206 1/2 San Felipe NW

CONTACT: 247-8931 or visit


(c)2014 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)

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