Doña Ana Arts Council Adapts to “New Normal”- Offers Online Art Classes Free

Written by Kathleen Albers

The Doña Ana Arts Council’s (DAAC’s) mission to enhance the quality of life through the arts is relevant now more than ever. In response to the stay-at-home order for the state of New Mexico through May 15, DAAC will begin offering art workshops and the popular “Feed Your Mind” art history and cultural classes on-line at no charge. According to DAAC Executive Director, Greg Smith, “No matter what the circumstances, rising to challenges frequently gets us to important advances. We at the Doña Ana Arts Council see our current challenging circumstances as an opportunity to explore new ways for connecting to the arts and for using the arts to improve conditions for our community.”

A watercolor workshop and three new six-week art history series will start in May. Even though there is no charge for any of these on-line classes, pre-registration is required. For more information or registration go to

Online classes will be offered via the video meeting application Zoom so that participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the teachers and other students. DAAC is taking the security of these Zoom classes very seriously and is using all recommended security protocols to make sure attendees’ on-line experiences are good ones. Meeting IDs, passwords, and waiting room options will be implemented for each Zoom session.

Sally Quillin, a professional teaching artist who offers many visual art classes at DAAC’s Arts & Cultural Center, wants to keep her beginning and intermediate watercolor students inspired and motivated during this time of home isolation. As a gift to the community, she will offer a “Virtual Watercolor Workshop” on May 14 with step-by-step instructions for painting. To sign up for Sally’s on-line offering, register at

stock photos of garden France (Gardens of the World)

“Gardens Around the World” is a six-week series starting Monday, May 4, and will be taught by Nicholas Dahle, Art History Instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UTEP. As stated in the course description: “For centuries, rulers, scholars and common people have used gardens as artistic expressions of themselves and the natural world around them. In this lecture series, we will explore various gardens in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. We will learn how the organization of plants used for food or medicine developed into a highly skilled art form. Discover how gardens were created as incredible displays of power or as peaceful retreats. Come and experience the stunning beauty of gardens around the world.” Classes are Mondays from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on May 4, 11, 18 (no class on May 25), June 1, 8 and 15. Pre-registration is required in order to receive a Zoom invitation to attend.

DAAC’s resident art historian and world traveler, Kathleen Key, will offer two on-line six-week series starting in May. In addition to teaching many art history seminars for the Doña Ana Arts Council, Kathleen is a professor of art history in the Entering Student Program at the University of Texas at El Paso and the OLLI continuing education program at UTEP. She will teach “World Impressionism” on Tuesdays from 1:30 – 3 p.m. starting May 12, and “American Art” on Thursdays from 5:30 – 7 p.m. starting May 14.

stock photo of “Hollyhocks” by American impressionist artist Frederick Carl Frieseke of Wisconsin (World Impressionism)

In a course description for World Impressionism by Kathleen Key, she states “In ‘World Impressionism’ we will study artists around the world who were influenced by Monet and other artists in France working in the style we call ‘Impressionism’. We will study more than fifty artists and their work in more than twenty countries—making Impressionism truly a world phenomenon. Come join us for fun and beautiful art and art you may never have seen before!” The World Impression series will be on six consecutive Tuesdays 1:30-3 p.m. on May 12, 19, 26 and June 2, 9, and 16. Pre-registration is required to receive a Zoom invitation to attend.

stock photos of gardens in Japan and France (Gardens of the World)

“American Art”, also taught by Kathleen Key, will explore visual arts of the United States including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and design. According to Kathleen’s course description, “What better and more fun way to learn about our nation and our nation’s character than through its incredible artwork? Many of us know the riches of European art from the Renaissance and Baroque eras to the glories of 19th century Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but we are sorely lacking when it comes to an understanding of American art. How did art made in the USA – painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and more – come to embody the American experience? One question surely would be, is there a difference between European art and American art? Come join us for six weeks of lectures and lively discussion”. The American Art series will be on six consecutive Thursdays from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on May 14, 21, 28, and June 4, 11, and 18. Pre-registration is required to receive a Zoom invitation to attend.


Temporarily closed until after May 15, 2020, the Doña Ana Arts Council offices and the Arts & Cultural Center are located at 1740 Calle de Mercado in Mesilla, New Mexico. The mailing address is PO Box 1721, Las Cruces, NM 88004. For more information and to register for classes, go to or call the DAAC office at (575) 523-6403.