St. Stella: Our Lady, Star of the Desert

The NMSU University Art Museum (UAM) is excited to announce a new pop-up exhibition highlighting the late Stella Sage. St. Stella: Our Lady, Star of the Desert will be presented in the Mullennix Bridge Gallery in Devasthali Hall on the campus of NMSU. Organized by Craig Cully, Associate Professor in the NMSU Department of Art, this show presents artworks inspired by the memory of a punky English Bulldog who had a profound impact on students, staff, faculty and members of the NMSU and Las Cruces community.

Stella was rescued by Marisa Sage in 2011 while she was living in Brooklyn, NY. After a stint as a “Gallery Assistant” for Sage’s Like The Spice Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Stella moved with Sage to New Mexico when she accepted the position of Director of the then University Art Gallery in 2014. Stella became an immediate everyday fixture in D.W Williams Hall, providing love and support to all who encountered her.

According to Sage, “Stella lived a life that many could only dream of, traveling the country coast to coast, acting as muse to many a talented artist, assistant to many skilled laborers, and lover of any young child she could get her paws around. She died as she lived, in a blaze of glory and love.” Sage goes on to say that “One day at school a student came up to me and said ‘are you Stella’s mom? Sometimes, knowing that I’ll see her in the building is the only thing that gets me up and here in the morning.’” Stella happily provided comfort to everyone who spent time in the University Art Gallery and Department of Art. She was feisty, humorful and had an innate ability to seek out those who needed a little extra love. The pop-up exhibition includes works by current faculty, staff, and students as well as alumni and members of the community.

Please join the UAM and the Department of Art on Wednesday, September 29,  from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m for a reception to celebrate her life. St. Stella: Our Lady, Star of the Desert will be on view in the Mullennix Bridge gallery in Devasthali Hall on the campus of NMSU and will run from September 13-October 1, 2021.

The University Art Museum at NMSU is located at 1308 E. University Avenue in Las Cruces, in Devasthali Hall at the intersection of E. University Ave. and S. Solano Drive. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Designated gallery parking is available, and general parking on the NMSU campus is free on weekends and after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information, please visit the UAM website at:, or contact Art Museum Coordinator Jasmine Herrera directly (575/646-2545;

Image #1: Bree Lamb, untitled, archival pigment print, 2021