RioBravoFineArt

Sierra County’s art scene is thriving, as evidenced by the monthly 2nd Saturday Art Hop featuring the many art galleries in Truth or Consequences, including RioBravoFineArt®, the city’s largest gallery.

RioBravoFineArt

Located in the Historic Hot Springs District of Truth or Consequences, RioBravoFineArt® boasts 6,000 square feet of display space featuring everything from paintings and drawings to fiber arts, book arts, digital art, sculptures, ceramics and photography, all beautifully displayed on two floors. These amazing works showcase the talents of a number of New Mexican artists as well as notable U.S. artists and artisans. 

The gallery is also home to Don Pepe’s Gift Shop, a colorful and imaginative destination for gifts that include jewelry, photos, paintings, pottery, fabrics, sculptures, and intriguing one-of-a-kind gifts.

The Gallery’s History:  A Fascinating Story

RioBravoFineArt

Acclaimed nationally and internationally for its focus on contemporary and fine art, RioBravoFineArt’s®  history, particularly that of its founder, H. Joe Waldrum, reads like a riveting novel. A few intriguing details are below but it’s well worth taking time to read A Biographical Chronology of Harold Joe Waldrum, 1934–2003, by Susan A. Christie on the RioBravoFineArt® website.

Meet the Not-So-Ordinary H. Joe Waldrum

RioBravoFineArt

Born in 1936 in Texas, H. Joe Waldrum’s first love was music, which he studied at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, graduating in 1956 with a B.S. in music.  Four years later, he returned to college life in Hays, Kansas, where he studied art and eventually graduated summa cum laude with a master of fine arts degree. His early career included serving as a band teacher, music arranger and art teacher, but it’s the way he put both music and art together in his life that’s a bit out of the ordinary. Joe insisted on painting in the nude while listening to music, and when he needed a break, he would raise his baton and pretend to be the orchestra conductor!

Joe’s Moment of Truth

RioBravoFineArt

As he worked to develop his painting skills and style, Joe was dubbed an abstract expressionist, a title he rejected in favor of, simply, “artist.”  He did, however, at one point, come to realize that he was imitating other people’s art, a concept so revolting to him that he stopped painting for a few months.

Life-Altering and Life Threatening Events

RioBravoFineArt

Joe moved to Texas where he resumed painting, and then on to Tesuque, New Mexico, followed by Gusano, New Mexico, moves that altered both his style and the course of his life. The works he was producing in these communities were inspired by New Mexico’s amazing light and shadows and by its historic buildings, particularly old, adobe churches and the windows in thick-walled old adobe buildings. But when criminals broke into his studio, Joe killed one of them in the gunfight that ensued, causing him to be a marked man by relatives of the deceased. With his life in jeopardy, Joe pulled up stakes and fled to New York.

From New York to New Mexico

RioBravoFineArt

In spite of his move to New York, Joe kept his ties to New Mexico, returning each summer to paint and take photos. In 1990, he relocated to an area near Bernardo, New Mexico, where he raised mules and produced some of his finest works. And finally, in 1997, Joe moved to Truth or Consequences, where he eventually opened RioBravoFineArt®, which he ran until his death in 2003. 

The Gallery Today

RioBravoFineArt

Today, the gallery is owned by Eduardo Alicea, under whose attentive care the works of H. Joe Waldrum, including linocuts, aquatints, sketches, paintings and studies, have been preserved and well cared for.  Eduardo has also expanded the gallery, displaying the works of a number of notable artists, including Delmas Howe, Dave Barnett, Nolan Winkler, Leo Neufeld, Noël Hudson, Julia Masaoka, Martye Allen and Susan Noreen among many others. 

Joe’s Studio – Repurposed

RioBravoFineArt

Don Pepe’s Gift Shop at RioBravoFineArt® was Joe’s  painting studio. Naming the studio Don Pepe’s Gift Shop was a natural as “Don Pepe” (“Joe” in Spanish) was what Joe was called by his friends

Conclusion

H. Joe Waldrum’s indomitable spirit, his dance between melodies and hues, continues to resonate through RioBravoFineArt®‘s walls.  So why remain a mere reader? Witness the magic!  

Visiting the gallery is a memorable experience, enhanced by Eduardo Alicea’s passion for art and his patience in sharing as much or as little as you would like to know. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00pm and by appointment. For more details, visit RioBravoFineArtGallery.com or call Eduardo at 575.894.0572.

FAQs

  • What sets RioBravoFineArt® apart?
    • Its deep-rooted history, vast collections, and its embodiment of H. Joe Waldrum’s spirit truly set RioBravoFineArt® apart.
  • Did H. Joe exclusively focus exclusively on art?
    • No, he embraced both art and music, allowing them to enrich his life in a most unusual way!
  • How did Don Pepe’s Gift Shop get its name?
    • Don Pepe is the Spanish equivalent of “Joe” and was a fond nickname for H. Joe Waldrum.
  • How has Eduardo Alicea enhanced the gallery’s legacy?
    • Eduardo has nurtured Joe’s works and introduced a plethora of celebrated artists, broadening the gallery’s offerings.
  • Is there a signature style or theme in the gallery?
    • The gallery echoes H. Joe’s love for New Mexico’s landscapes, but it also celebrates diverse artistic expressions from various artists.

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