Art Explorers is an evolving program committed to exploring the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP) through a series of hikes and collaborative art-making activities in and responding to the four areas of the OMDP. Designed with the SW Chapter of the Girl Scouts, the Green Chamber of Commerce and Friends of the Organ Mountains, Art Explorers works with local experts to expose youth to meaningful experiences in nature while introducing topics of land use, stewardship, history and science.
Faith Purvey is the lead artist and organizer for Art Explorers and works directly with all parties to generate site-responsive, collaborative art works. With Las Cruces Art Museum’s studio as a homebase, participants venture into the wilderness to take photographs which will be used to generate material to contribute to a collective sculpture. The project emphasizes new ways of seeing and introduces techniques such as solar dyeing and sewing through a collaborative, team-oriented process.
Art Explorers is the only program associated with the Girl Scouts' new OMDP badge. A similar White Sands National Monument badge has been unveiled, with badges for Mojave Desert and other places in the works. Art Explorers aims to enact an engaged, aesthetic model on a national scale.
In April 2016, Faith Purvey worked with girls of all ages during Daisy Day, a regional gathering of Girl Scouts. During this participatory workshop, girls and their families learned to use inko dye on fabric to create unique posters featuring images of the Monument. The event aimed to recruit girls for future programs during which similar art methods will be employed in various sites around the region.
As a pilot program, The Trackways Hike was a 2-hour hike in the Robledo Mountains. Led by wilderness guide, Shaunna Foster, hikers followed a trail to vistas, wild flowers, and prehistoric fossils. Along the way, participants learned photo composition and compiled their images in a database for a future workshop.
The Art Scouts program is developed by Faith Purvey with the Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Las Cruces Girl Scouts office with the goal of providing a way for girls to earn the new OMDP Patch by exploring and learning in each of the four 2-year old Monument areas of Bureau of Land Management landscape: the Organ Mountains, Robledo Mountains, Dona Anas, and Portrillos, all surrounding Las Cruces, NM. The program is funded by the McCune Foundation.