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First News Fall 2006

Business Feature - Colfax County
Fine Art in the Heart of Cimarron

Valerie Vickers
   The Buffalo Nickel Gallery has had its doors open in Cimarron for the past thirteen years. It’s a delightful surprise for visitors to find a gallery featuring nationally recognized artists in the middle of such a serene setting. Located in the old Brooks mercantile building downtown, it was completely restored after a tornado struck and destroyed a portion of the back parapet wall. Bennett Strahan bought the building and restored the interior using the original timbers and leaving the perimeter walls intact. The front 2,500 square feet became an art gallery and the back 3,300 square feet serve as an art studio / back gallery. Though the Buffalo Nickel is located in the beautiful Southwest, the artwork is not limited to southwestern art. Gallery co-owner, Bennett Strahan's art is an excellent example of the more contemporary work. He’s a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and his paintings could be described in more simple terms as minimalist, or abstract, but that would not do them justice. A lot of the work is based on just that pure beauty of nature, and there are seldom any other elements in the paintings - just all nature in a relatively abstract format. Bennett is inspired and moved by his environment. “I'm really affected by what happens around me as far as nature is concerned.”

   Many of the gallery artists have been featured in magazines such as Southwest Art Magazine, International Artist Magazine, and Wildlife. Recent shows displayed the art of such well-known artists as J.D. Challenger, Sean Conrad, Doug and Sharon Quarles, and J.K. Lamkin. In addition to artists’ openings, several annual events draw big crowds such as the Memorial Day Juried Art Show, which kicks off the season, and the Annual Black Tie Blue Jean Art Scholarship Auction. The auction is the social event of the year where people dress up in black tie yet, all cowboys need to feel comfortable (thus the jeans!). Ladies enjoy the chance to dress to the nines, and many do. The auction includes live music, food, drinks and most importantly affordable, fabulous art! Artists have the choice to receive half the purchase price or donate their proceeds to the scholarship fund. This year members of the Texas Top Guns will mingle among the audience. Many have backgrounds in television and movies, while others draw their experience as actual working cowboys, dressed in authentic Old West costumes, and are always entertaining.
Another important aspect of the Buffalo Nickel is to support the artists affiliated with the gallery, young artists in the community, and the educational pursuits of aspiring or advanced artists through workshops. This year’s workshops will include sculpture and painting, and there is an effort to schedule photography workshops also. The instructors are well-known, developed artists who are excellent instructors. They must be proven in their area of expertise, and be able to impart their experience and passion so students consider the workshops a valuable experience.

   The gallery’s success depends upon the efforts of its active partners, Richard and Valerie Vickers, who have been involved in the business for twenty years. They’re supporters of art education (music, theatre, performing, and fine art) raising roughly $20,000 for art scholarships over the past two years in Colfax County. Likewise, gallery director, Anita Moss, has a degree in Fine Art, as well as International Business. Anita previously owned an art boutique and portrait studio in Minnesota. Since moving to New Mexico she continues to pursue her art career and enjoys using the combination of her art and business experience to assist artists in marketing their work. She has been a great asset in organizing workshops and handling public relations. For further information visit their web site at or just stop in for a world of new ideas.

Buffalo Nickel Gallery
321 East 9th Street
Cimarron, NM 87714
(505) 376-2750




Newsletter photography by Michael Babnick Photography

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