Being a part of the Belen Art District reminds me of a group exercise I once did. Everyone was in a line massaging the next person’s back. After a few minutes, the person at the rear would go to the front of the line. Each participant paid it forward and received it back at the same time.

Here’s how it works for me on Becker Avenue. I love wine. Jaramillo Winery serves Fly Boy, a super, sexy dark red. Barbara Jaramillo, winery owner, allowed the Belen Art League to hold its annual paint ’n sip on their premises.

End results? The winery is happy; the participants are happy; and the art league is happy; and of course, me, too.

Another example: The BAL is housed in a city-owned building and must pay its rent with in-kind services for the city. The BAL created a mural for the veterans visitor’s center under the direction of a city councilor.

All the city leaders were ecstatic with the art work created by the BAL. The art director for the project opened an art gallery in town and the city leaders were there to cut the red ribbon and celebrate the opening. Give and receive, back and forth. Everyone is working together to make the community better.

And that’s what happened on Saturday, July 20. All along Becker Avenue, businesses and individuals opened their doors, their properties and their hearts to give others a space of color, laughter and lots of oohs and aahs.

In the middle of the mix was the Belen Art Gallery and Gifts, both giving and receiving from others. One Belen Art League member permitted his private garden to be used for vendors and as a wine and beer garden. At the same time he was hosting an art show in his gallery space.

Another member held her gallery’s grand opening the same weekend so as to add to the weekend’s festivities. Still another member, who is the originator of the Bugg Lights Museum, made sure his doors were open to the visitors.

More members of the art league came out to fill the streets with displays of their art to add to the draw for visitors and locals.

So many in our town worked to make this event a success — The Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce, Belen Mainstreet Partnership, Valencia County News-Bulletin, the wine and beer makers, local artists and the city’s leaders all stepped up to make the opening of Judy Chicago’s Through the Flower Art Space huge success.

The Belen Art League truly feels the support coming from our city government, local businesses and citizens. We happily return the favors. If your backs feel good, our back feels good.

We hope you noticed how many folks there were in town who were working to put Belen back on the map again — not just for visitors but for your families.

We’ve got Rio Abajo Becker Street Festival coming up at the end of September when Becker Avenue will be alive and hopping, and the BAL holds its Car Art Show Contest.

There’s an October festival in the works and lots more as the holidays approach. The Belen Art League is here for our town, we’re glad you’re here, too.

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