Art show and conversation about community on Saturday

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Many Valencia County residents face challenges when it comes to obtaining affordable health care, earning a living wage and putting enough food on the table.

Those interested in exploring solutions to these and other community problems can join the discussion this weekend with author and artist Dominic Cappello.
Cappello, co-founder of Valencia County Resiliency Corps, will host “Evolutionary Yet Still Enchanting New Mexico as Envisioned by a Gov. Dom,” an art show and conversation at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Belen Public Library.
The art show will consist of a series of illustrations, accompanied by policy suggestions, that support the artist’s vision of a “Can Do New Mexico.”
“I just wanted to do some artwork that gets people thinking about the issues and it was very successful,” Cappello said. “This conversation we are having on Saturday is an opportunity to talk about big issues around jobs, economic development and healthy communities, which lead to healthy families and healthy kids.”
The show, first displayed at El Zaguán Gallery in Santa Fe, will present Valencia County residents with a glimpse of what life could be like with leaders, such as the fictitious art show character, Gov. Dom and his New Mex-ican Party.
Under a Gov. Dom administration, residents would enjoy the benefits of several policies designed to promote healthy family outcomes, ranging from access to home visitation and parent support for families with children under 3 years old to luxury taxes on things we don’t need, such as $35,000 purses, Cappello said.
The message he delivers through his art is important, he said, to help engage the public as the state prepares for next year’s general elections, where New Mexicans will head to the polls and elect key state officials.
“We will be electing a new governor and there will be new people coming in and these people are absolutely critical to the health and safety of the kids in Valencia County,” he said. “We have to have people who understand the issues, who appreciate the issues.”
For the better part of the past four years, Cappello has served on the advisory board for the Valencia County Resiliency Corps. The corps is a youth-serving program that aims to curb the unnecessary death and injury of young people because of at-risk behavior. Like the program, the art focuses on using evidenced-based strategies to reduce risk and strengthen the Valencia County community’s ability to deal with those risk.
Cappello, a public health expert and best-selling author, has received national attention for his Ten Talks book series that aims to help parents and children tackle serious issues that affect young people’s lives like sex, drugs and violence.