Collaborative Western Art Sculptures of Magdalena New Mexico
In 1994, a community collaborative art project sponsored by the New Mexico Arts Division was created.
Sculptures of a Bull, a Cow and a Cowboy were made for the entryway to the Rodeo grounds in Magdalena, NM. Each sculpture is made with the help of local volunteers using materials found within the community. The cowboy is made of chicken wire, stove pipe and other recycled materials. He has a horseshoe mustache and metal cowboy hat, belt and boots. The Bull is made of heaps of bailing wire, old tools, fence parts and barn parts. The Cow's body is made of old tires, her head is a coal bucket.
In a little village town called Magdalena, in New Mexico, there's a school, a library and box car museum, a couple of cafe's, and an art gallery or two. There's Main Street, a blacksmith, a trading post, and a little gas station. On Friday afternoons locals are gathered outside the post office by their pickup trucks, chatting and waiting for their deliveries and mail. People read The Mountain Mail newspaper. There are tumbleweeds and cacti, lizards and antelope. Nothing is open all day long, and most shops aren't even open everyday. It's a small, quiet, old fashioned, western town. A town where everybody knows everybody.
Once upon a time, Mrs. Butterfield ran a Lying-In Hospital (now an Inn). If you were sick or with child, Grandma Butter, as she was called, would make sure you were well taken care of. Her services included her homemade soup and pillow fluffing. And if you found that you didn't have enough to pay for Grandma Butter's hospitality, you could work off your bill once you got to feeling better.
Back in the day, the rowdies would be rounded up and escorted by the sheriff to the small jailhouse, and Magdalena was known for its mercantile and wool warehouses, mines, and rodeos. In regards to rodeos, Former Mayor Clayton Hust arguably proclaimed that the first rodeo could be traced back to this little village. The Rodeo Grounds, just past Trail's End, are still an attraction, especially during the Old Timers Reunion Rodeo.
For as small and simple as it is, Magdalena is actually quite rich in art, culture and history. You'd have to look through stacks of newspapers to get a good full picture, or sit and listen to stories that have been passed down from generation to generation and from older population to new. And now with its current "artistic community", you can visually piece together Magdalena's details as well.
There's a reason why "artistic community" above and here is in quotes. It's because that label doesn't satisfy me, at all. While the "artistic community" is now more in the form of paintings and sculptures, pottery and jewelry, even photography, in other words things that we tend to associate with art, one can confidently say that Magdalena, NM, has from its start, grown out of art in its many more ambiguous forms. Art that makes up its rich history. There's architecture, blacksmithing, mercantilism and rodeos, as just a small handful of examples. Each based in art forms of various kinds, each telling a different story, showing a different aspect of life and of the people that came together to create that art, each forming Magdalena's art filled history.
The art of the rodeo, the history of Magdalena, and current artifacts that represent Magdalena's people past and present, all come together at Trails End, perfectly weathered.
I love it there. I love its quiet. It's an oasis in this modern hectic world. I love that shops are only open when the shopkeepers want them to be; I think this more than anything speaks volumes about the people, who appreciate their privacy, their own personal time, and their friends and family, their own artistic endeavors over anything else. There is a different pace of life here, a way of life that has been beautifully preserved. And I love that you can drive or walk around and find little gems which reveal themselves and take your breath away, or make you curious. The art is as quiet as the town at the end of the trail, like the sculptures that can be found at Trail's End of a cowboy, a bull, and a cow.