Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande


NMSU Art Museum joins over 14 institutions to host events about climate change

Artists from Las Cruces to Albuquerque hope to draw attention to a biological crisis happening along the Rio Grande with an exhibit titled “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande.” Subhankar Banerjee, NMSU alumnus and University of New Mexico professor of art and ecology, co-curated the exhibit at 516 Arts (a contemporary art museum located in Albuquerque, NM), which reached out to enlist other institutions including the Albuquerque Museum, the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, the New Mexico State University’s Art Museum and many others. The result is a series of local events in Las Cruces throughout October and November intended to bring recognition to issues of regional climate change. Events include a city proclamation, an extinct species workshop, a mural, a film screening and a lecture.

Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande, is an exhibition, series of public programs, and regional collaboration developed with 516 Arts and the Art & Ecology Program at the University of New Mexico. The exhibition explores diverse perspectives on varieties of plants and animals, including all fauna and flora—iconic and overlooked—undergoing mass-die-offs and population declines within the Rio Grande watershed. Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande navigates how the river connects us across borders and disciplines, raising ethical and cultural questions about the human impact on the natural world. All regional programming is designed to provide education and spur dialogue and awareness around these pressing ecological and climate based issues of our time. The exhibition takes place at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque, but is centered around an expansive model of regional collaboration which features public programs including educational talks, forums, workshops, performances and outdoor activities presented by partner venues across the US/Mexico border as well as across disciplines spanning the arts, science, technology, and environmental activism. Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande is co-curated by Josie Lopez, PhD, Curator of Art, Albuquerque Museum, and Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair and Professor of Art &Ecology, UNM. 

The NMSU University Art Museum is among more than 14 collaborating institutions, which include partnerships with artists, scientists, directors and curators on both sides of the border.

The upcoming events in Las Cruces are free and open to the public. Please read more about the exhibition and see a full guide by clicking here.

Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande Las Cruces Programming: 

Species in Peril, Dia de los Muertos Extinct Species Workshop:

This dynamic workshop offers an artistic experience for all ages to create altarpieces and Retablos that pay homage and recognize our extinct and nearly disappeared Rio Grande species. The works created during the workshop will reference the traditional style of Mexican Retablo ex-voto paintings, making a visual vow of support with paint and collage on tin that memorialize our Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande. The final works will be presented on November 1, 2019, as a large alter during the Old Mesilla, Día de los Muertos celebration. This free event is a collaboration between the NMSU University Art Museum’s OutsmART Children’s workshop series and the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC).

This workshop is part of the Regional Collaboration series in partnership with 516 Arts a contemporary museum in ABQ who is responding to the global biological crisis happening in our region along the Rio Grande. This is a free event.

LOCATION: NMSU Devasthali Hall (RM. 106/Zane Bennett Collection Study Room) 

1308 E. University Ave., Las Cruces, NM, 88003
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 12 PM – 2 PM
misage@nmsu.edu • 575-646-2545 • Free


Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande Awareness Month

A proclamation by Ken Miyagishima, Mayor of the City of Las Cruces, in collaboration between the City of Las Cruces, the University Art Museum at New Mexico State University, The Department of Art at NMSU, The College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU, The Southwest Environmental Center, Cruces Creatives, New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series and Las Cruces Arts & Cultural District recognizes November as a community commitment and regional collaboration month aiming to raise awareness and acknowledge our species in peril along the Rio Grande. This month-long designation aims through public programming and community partnerships to encourage all citizens to take part in the events happening throughout the city to help effect change, formulate new questions, and work towards new models to mitigate the severity and damaging effects of climate change and species extinction in our Rio Grande community at large.

LOCATION: City Council Chambers, City Hall
700 N. Main St., Las Cruces, NM
Monday, November 4, 1PM

LECTURE-Subhankar Banerjee: Multispecies Justice in the Age of Biological Annihilation & Climate Breakdown: 

Wednesday, November 20, 7pm 

Join artist, public scholar, and conservationist, Subhankar Banerjee for a talk about his role and goals as a co-curator of the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande and his ongoing engagements with New Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska’s Arctic. In all three places he has witnessed extreme impacts of climate breakdown and biological annihilation. He will speak about campaigns for multispecies justice and his most recent body of research which sits at the intersection of art, ecocultural activism and environmental humanities. Banerjee, an NMSU Alumnus, serves as Lannan Chair and Professor of Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico. Presented by New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series, the University Art Museum and College of Arts & Sciences at New Mexico State University, and Senator Tom Udall.

LOCATION: Rio Grande Theater 
211 N. Main St. Las Cruces, NM 
Wednesday, November 20, 7pm 
misage@nmsu.edu • 575-646-2545 • Free


By The Dam Community Mural: 

September 23 – November 30 

The “By the Dam” community mural is underway by local artists commissioned and presented by Cruces Creatives at 205 E. Lohman and will be completed by Nov. 30. The mural created by NMSU Alums Raquel Madrigal and Henry Hartig, features the irrigation ditches of Las Cruces, water-flow and the disappearing fish of the Rio Grande. It is created as part of Art/Agriculture/Environment, an exhibition of local artists focusing on sustainable farming practices in communities and their positive effects on the environment. 

LOCATION: Cruces Creatives
205 E. Lohman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 
575-448-1072 • crucescreatives.org • Free


FILM SCREENING-Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction:

Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction Tuesday, November 12, 7pm Southwest Environmental Center and Creative Media Institute present Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction is the first feature documentary to investigate the growing threat to Earth’s life support systems from this unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Through interviews with leading scientists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and indigenous and religious leaders, the film explores the causes, the scope, and the potential effects of the mass extinction. The film also looks beyond the immediate causes of the crisis to consider how our cultural and economic systems, along with deep-seated psychological and behavioral patterns, have allowed this situation to develop, continue to reinforce it, and even determine our response to it. 

LOCATION: Creative Media Institute Theatre 
Tuesday, November 12, 7pm
2915 McFie Circle, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM 575-646-2545 • Free


Extinct Species Altar

Friday – Sunday, November 1-3 

Following an extinct and endangered species Dia de los Muertos Workshop event, a collaboration between the University Art Museum’s OutsmART Art children’s workshops and the Southwest Environmental Center,  altarpieces and Retablos will be presented to pay homage and recognize our extinct and nearly disappeared Rio Grande species. 

LOCATION: Mesilla Plaza for Dia de los Muertos Celebration
2170 Calle De Parian, Las Cruces, NM 
575-522-5552 • wildmesquite.org • Free

Image caption:
Subhankar Banerjee, Dead piñon where birds gather in autumn, from Where I Live I Hope to Know, New Mexico, 2009