Las Cruces, NM – The statues include eleven bronze works that comprise a work known as the "Royal Road." A Native American woman and child, a burro with heavy packs, a quail on a log and a small dog are just a few of the pieces.
The project is called "Cultural Corridors: Public Art on Scenic Highways." The artwork is part of a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Las Cruces and New Mexico Arts. The sculptures are by Eastern Washington University professor of art Tom Askman.
Originally, the statues were designed to be presented on the mall in small vignettes that tell the story of the beginning of the Camino Real to the present day.
With the revitalization reconstruction of the downtown mall the statues were removed from the area and placed into city storage.
City Public Service Director Lori Grumet says the pieces of public art cost around one hundred thousand dollars and it has become a priority of the city to display them elsewhere.
Grumet-"The things that staff will be discussing and seeking input from council on will be where to out the art when it goes back, whether or not we need to allocate money from our budget, find money somehow reprioritize internally or perhaps pursue some grant money to refurbish these pieces. We will have to do design and reinstall it and be committed to ongoing maintenance."
City officials are identifying tentative locations for reinstallation of the statues. So far, some ideas include re-incorporating them with Main Street, a walking path near Picacho alongside the Centennial Wall adjacent to City Hall, The Children's Reading Garden at Branigan Library and a stretch of land in the Central Business District.
Grumet estimates that the cost to repair and refurbish the statues will be around two thousand dollars each.