Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts -

Every Fall, the beautiful grounds of the Holy Cross Retreat Center are opened up for lovers of the arts to peruse vendor booths and take in live entertainment by local balladeers on two stages. The festival, which had its beginnings in 2005, promotes appreciation for fine artists and their work, while also acting as a fundraiser for the various programs run by the Center. The Annual Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts is back on August 31 – September 1, 2024.

Located in Mesilla Park, amongst quiet pecan orchards, the Center is operated by the Province of Our Lady of Consolation and acts, as the name implies, as a retreat for those with medical, existential or transitional needs. But don’t let that stop you from finding out why this beloved festival is so popular with locals and visitors alike. It has long been a tradition amongst Franciscan friars to foster artistic expression, religious or otherwise.

In fact, the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, in the Umbria region of central Italy, is known for its amazing artistic expressions, featuring frescoes by some of the most important painters of the late medieval period. It’s been said that the range and quality of the works give the basilica a unique importance in the art world, as it demonstrates the outstanding development of Italian art of the period.

Keeping with that tradition, the Center throws open its doors to local and regional artists, with no more intention than presenting the finest examples of artistic achievement. With 80 to 90 vendors, including artists displaying in a variety of styles, the festival brings together paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photographs, clothing, quilts, woodwork, glasswork, community information, and much more.

Also included in the weekend are the annual enchilada dinner, raffle and silent auction. A beer and wine garden is also available, for those with more worldly tastes. Hours for the festival are Saturday, August 31, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, September 1, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, visit the website, or call 575-524-3688.

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