1 Welcome the Year of the Rabbit.
Grab a cup of coffee and head to the Branigan Cultural Center, in Las Cruces, Saturday morning to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The party features a lion dance performance by the Blue Dragon Dojo, who taught community members some of the choreography, so some Las Cruces folks will join the dance. “The Lunar New Year celebration is going to involve a lot of activities for the whole family, including crafts and learning about the history of the Lunar New Year,” says Elizabeth Montoya, museum curator of education at the Branigan Cultural Center. Children can make dragon puppets, and there will be a chance to learn about the Chinese Zodiac, including the animal that corresponds to the year you were born. “It’s a smaller event,” Montoya says. “But it’s well-designed. We focused on the quality, rather than quantity, of activities.” Jump into the fun from 10 a.m. to noon.
In Albuquerque, a bonanza of fun takes over the Chinese Culture Center for it Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, including a traditional new year dragon, lion dances, tai chi and kung fu demonstrations—plus special performances from the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Dance Team and the Albuquerque Iwama Aikido dojo. “This will be our 35th year,” says Bill Doleman, artistic director of performances at the center and children’s kung fu teacher. “Look forward to firecrackers at the end of the event, which are said to bring good luck to the new year.”
2 Fiddle around in Socorro.
Hailing from Colorado, Big Richard is a quartet of female musicians who play a myriad of genres, including bluegrass, country, and pop, with masterful instrumental skills. The foursome is comprised of Bonnie Simms on mandolin, Joy Adams on cello, Emma Rose on bass and guitar, and Eve Panning on fiddle. They take over the Macey Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m., kicking off the 2023 New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series. They continue their swing through New Mexico with stops at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, in Santa Fe, on Saturday, and at the Taos Center for the Arts on Sunday.
3 Explore Diné photography.
Refract & Reflect: Diné Photography & Visual Storytelling is the newest exhibit at Arts123 Gallery, in Gallup. It’s the final installation of the Guest Curator series, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Curated by photographer Rapheal Begay, it includes 19 images by six Diné photographers, including Begay.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the relationship to Dinétah, the Navajo homeland,” Begay says. “The images are comprised of scenic landscapes and personal perspectives about home.” See iconic spaces like Ship Rock and Window Rock, photographed by the people who know them most deeply.
“The title was inspired by the significance of light both within the practice of photography, and also Diné teachings,” Begay says. “The exhibit shows visual storytelling as a form of cultural advocacy as well as personal expression.” See the exhibit through February 4, and catch a curator talk from Begay on Thursday—both in person at the gallery and streaming online via the gallery’s Facebook page—from 6 to 7 p.m.
4 Try some mezcal.
Head to La Reina—the stylish watering hole at El Rey Court, in Santa Fe—on Friday evening to catch a pop-up from Madre Mezcal. Made in the hills of Oaxaca, the artisanal spirit is made using traditional mezcalero techniques that originated from the region. Look forward to special mezcal cocktails to mark the occasion, plus live musical performances from Esther Rose, Liza Cane, and Heather Trost.
5 Marvel at Taos Pueblo artistry.
Clay Line of the Red Willow People opens at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Friday with a reception and light refreshments from 5 to 7 p.m. Highlighting works by three Taos Pueblo artists working in a variety of mediums, the exhibit focuses on the artists’ inspirations: clay, mud, and earth. See micaceous pottery by Angie Yazzie, paintings by Brian Taaffe, and photography by Deborah Lujan. “Through their artwork, these artists represent the resilience and beauty of the Pueblo that exists today,” says Paula Mirabal (Taos),” head curator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “The clay is the life that runs through the images that each artist makes visible in their work and design.” See the exhibit through May 22.