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Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts: a mission fulfilled

By MIKE COOK

Las Cruces Bulletin

Editor’s note: See “Take a walk through the gardens of faith” in this week’s SW Living section.

The much-anticipated Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts will be held Labor Day weekend, Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1 at Holy Cross Retreat Center, 600 Holy Cross Road in Mesilla Park.

The event will feature about 90 artists – producing paintings, pottery, jewelry, woodworking, glass art and fabric art – live music on two stages, a silent auction, a beer and wine garden, an enchilada dinner and food vendors and is expected to attract more than 4,500 visitors from Las Cruces and the surrounding area.

Hours will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

There is no charge to attend.

The Holy Cross Retreat Center welcomed people for the first events in 1957, according to the center. In the early years there were barbecues with a festive atmosphere. The Franciscan Friars and their friends started a craft festival in about 1960. By 1980 the event had grown larger and was

SEE FESTIVAL, PAGE 40

The Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts Beer and Wine Garden.

Finely crafted jewelry is a mainstay of the Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts.

PHOTOS COURTESY FATHER TOM SMITH/HOLY CROSS RETREAT CENTER

Woodworking by talented local artisans is a popular feature of the festival.

A wide range of items is for sale during the festival’s silent auction.

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taken over by the Doña Ana Arts Council.

It morphed into the Renaissance Arts-Faire at Young Park.

Holy Cross next created a fiesta as a public event. Fr. Marcos Reyna and Bobbie Provencio changed the fiesta to become an art festival which continued until about 1997. In 2005, Fr. Miguel Briseño developed the current Franciscan Festival of Fine Art.

Holy Cross Retreat Center’s original adobe house is more than 100 years old.

The Holy Cross Chapel completed in 2015 provides mission-style architecture and has been filled by local artists with exquisite furniture, Stations of the Cross, stained glass and statues. A rosary garden and labyrinth are part of the Chapel’s landscaping.

To reach Holy Cross Retreat Center from Las Cruces, take South Main Street two miles south of University Avenue and turn left at 600 Holy Cross Road. The center is one-half mile off the highway.

To learn more, call Rev. Thomas A.

Smith at 575-524-3688 or 575-649-8202.

Las Cruces musician Randy Granger performs at a recent festival, which features numerous local performers every year.

Paintings and drawings at the festival.

PHOTOS COURTESY FATHER TOM SMITH/HOLY CROSS RETREAT CENTER

Beautiful local pottery is featured at the festival.

Luis Cardona makes tacos at a recent festival.

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