If Las Cruces Dam is rebuilt, artist fears his art will be destroyed

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Kathy Morrow has spent thousands of hours planning, assembling and maintaining a stunning public art project in southeast Las Cruces.

“I would call it spontaneous art, but it’s also called guerrilla art because it’s not sanctioned,” she laughed.

In five years, she estimates that she literally moved tons of glass, rock and tile to create beautiful images on the Tortugas Dam. His works show his depictions of a quail, roadrunner, hummingbird, cougar, and skunk, among other images.

“Nobody told me not to do it, and there were people here who had authority and seemed to appreciate it,” she explained.

However, she explained that the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, is studying the possibility of rebuilding the 60-year-old dam. She worries about the future of her masterpiece.

“I was hoping if it was possible to save the artwork, that would be wonderful,” she said. “But if the work of art obstructs this structure, then it would have to disappear.”

A spokeswoman for New Mexico’s National Resources Conservation Service did not return a request for comment on time, but a spokesperson for the company overseeing the project, Genterra Consultants, said her office had received a huge amount of emails from the public.

While no artwork lasts forever, Morrow said she hopes hers will last at least a few more years.

“Eternity is way beyond anything I could have as a concept, but for now, we’re just going to enjoy what we can,” Morrow said.

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