Community History Project

May 25, 2012



(LAS CRUCES) -- A group of educators are capturing old memories of a historic building, while finding the true character of the neighborhood it sits on. “I love cositas, I love artifacts,” said Irene Oliver-Lewis who is on a mission to collect items she says tell the story of her community. “Artifacts, they say something of us as a culture and say something of us as a people,” she said. Oliver-Lewis is the artistic producer and founder of Court Youth Center and Alama D'Arte.  She is keeping memories alive with the 402 West Court Living History Project. “The coach that brought us this said you know I’ve kept this forever, the kids made this for us because we were a winning season,” she said. The project aims at documenting the 129 year old property from when it was an actual court house to a junior high and to what it is today. “In order to really understand the area, you have to understand the people and their history and the culture and being in Las Cruces and finding out the history of the Alameda history, the Mesquite neighborhood, it has been so fascinating and you get to find the character of a community doing this kind of research,” said Lauren Light who is with the project. The New Mexico Humanities Council is funding the project.  So far, educators have received year books from the 1940's, a few trophies and some old sport jerseys to help tell the building's history. “Most people are like, ‘it was sitting in my garage for the past you know, couple of decades and so it was time for it to go and they are happy to see it have a new life,” she said. Items are still being collected and anyone interested in donating old artifacts can do so at Alma D'Arte.