I’m not sure if I’m carrying out a sneaky act of self-promotion or a last-ditch effort to fulfill my commitment. Maybe I knew that if I did one, I could do the other.

In September, the Belen Public Library is sponsoring the Freedom to Read Week Celebration and has dedicated the week of Sept. 22-28 to focusing on Women’s Art, Women’s Bodies and Censorship.

The keynote speaker at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, is Dr. Paula Castillo, an acclaimed contemporary artist, art historian and Belen native. Joining her is the experimental artist and musician, Amanda Romero. There will be a special art exhibit with art by and about women presented by the Belen Art League.

So, let’s talk about this art exhibit by the Belen Art League. As the president of this amazing group, my job was to get a collection of art together from our members. At the time of this writing, my efforts have kind of fallen flat.

However, I am determined to not let our library director, Kathleen Pickering, down. So, you are all invited to my almost (very small) one-woman show. However, I may surprise you as I’ve been known to pick up speed at the last moment. I believe that the pieces being presented will speak to all women at a core level.

On the same day of as the above presentation, Belen will be celebrating with the annual Rio Abajo Becker Street Festival. All along Becker Avenue, there will be art booths and a lineup of classic cars. The Belen Art League is holding a classic car art contest and display.

So come in and vote for your favorite piece of car art before heading to the library. Please vote for mine. Oops, that sneaky self-promotion again! (It’s the yellow truck).

While you’re at the gallery casting your car art vote, take some time to look around. Our Fall Art Show is on display and it’s amazing. The metal work sculptures include vehicles made from old Singer sewing machines, a James Dean pig complete with shades and a cigarette and giant blooming flowers.

Our glass work display is mind blowing with hanging stained glass pieces and 6-foot tall multi-colored wall sconce. The sculptures and 3-D displays include fountains, art made from sun bleached bones, alabaster and so much more. One of my favorites is the lamp made from vintage cameras; of course it was created by one of our photographers.

As we move into October, I am throwing out a challenge to the Mayor Jerah Cordova and the editor of the Valencia County News-Bulletin, Clara Garcia. Who can create the best scarecrow?

On Oct. 26, the Belen MainStreet Partnership will be holding its first ever Scarecrow Festival right outside of our gallery on Becker Avenue. There will be vendors, food, lots of art and a scarecrow contest with cash prizes. So the challenge is on — are you up to it?

Heading into winter, Belen will start out the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 30, with Belen’s annual Parade of Lights and the Art League’s open house. On that same night, the Bugg Light Museum will open its doors for nightly tours for all of December. Lots of lights and holiday spirit!

Thank you to everyone who loves and supports Belen’s efforts to make this town a great place to live.

(Jo’l Moore is the president of the Belen Art League Gallery and Gifts. Contact her at belenartleague@yahoo.com or call 861-0217.)

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