New Mexico Art League
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Board of Directors


CYNTHIA ROWLAND, President

Cynthia graduated with a degree in Fine Arts, Texas Tech University. After a dozen years in New York, Cynthia returned to New Mexico to pursue the medium of sculpture. This developed into major public and private commissioned projects with her partner and husband, Mark, such as the award-winning Senator Dennis Chavez Memorial at Civic Plaza and Lion’s Share at the Albuquerque International Airport. Cynthia turned to painting in 2001 and has enjoyed the tutelage of Wilson Hurley and David Leffel. Influenced by these and other historical masters, she has developed her own style and metaphor. She has been invited to several competitions and exhibitions, including several gallery venues in Santa Fe, the Albuquerque Museum Miniatures Show and was Featured Artist for the New Mexico Symphony Benefit. She is also the current NM State Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.

KATE FRY,  Treasurer

Kate was born and raised in Albuquerque.  She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in technical theatre from the University of Texas at Austin, and after living for several years in Colorado, Texas, and New Jersey, she returned home to New Mexico in 1986. When Kate retired from a career in federal government contracting and program management she was finally able to devote time to taking art classes and learning to paint in oil, and has taken classes and workshops at Central New Mexico Community College, Harwood Art School, and the New Mexico Art League.  She has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and she is delighted to bring that experience to the New Mexico Art League and to be part of the Leagues’s continued growth.

ANN PISTO, Secretary

Ann has always wanted to study oil painting and recently had the opportunity to devote her time to that goal. After Ann's husband sold his business in 2001, Ann began a volunteer career in 2002, serving as a board member and President of the Board for two years for Resources Inc., a non-profit organization serving victims of domestic violence. In 2003, she won the NM Coalition's Award in recognition of her volunteer work to end domestic violence. In 2004, she became a member of the Board of Directors of Los Ranchito de Los Ninos and served for several years as chairman of the steering committee for their annual fundraising event, Charity Cruise. She finally decided in 2009 to take time off for herself and began classes at the New Mexico Art League, and continues to take as many classes and workshops as she can fit into her schedule. She became a member of the Board of Directors in 2010. She loves being a  member of the League and hopes to be around a long time to continue to watch it grow.



BRIGID CONKLIN

Brigid grew up in the Chicago area surrounded by art. Before she was school age, she accompanied her mother on the local art league's plein air outings and no family visit to Chicago was complete without a trip to the Art Institute. While she has always loved art, she had had no art instruction since she was a girl until she enrolled in a beginning drawing class at the New Mexico Art League in 2013. She has taken classes at the Art League ever since. Brigid has a background in corporate banking and has served on advisory committees for a charity and for an international school while living in Shanghai, China. She is a member of the Pastel Society of New Mexico and is excited to be involved with the Art League.


DAN CONKLIN

Dan grew up in Albuquerque, but career opportunities ultimately drew him to the “big city". He has been an inveterate doodler and drawer from an early age, and over time attempted to smooth the rough edges with studio courses in sculpture, ceramics and acrylic painting at Vanderbilt, UCLA and the Art Student’s League in NYC. After living and working in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, he returned to the Land of Green Chile and picked up his art studies in early 2012 with an acrylic workshop taught by Angus Macpherson. He amazed everyone with the fact that his paints  from his UCLA days were still good (except for the Titanium White, which had the consistency of cottage cheese). Later that year, he attended a demo at the NM Art League given by “Local Treasure” J. Waid Griffin. Landscape in Oil courses with Waid soon followed. With momentum building, Dan became arguably the Art League’s best customer with further landscape classes taught by Tom Blazier and Jeff Otis. His focus broadened to portrait and the figure, which gave him the pleasure of paint and drawing under the guidance of Cynthia Rowland, MJ Manford, Shana   Levinson and Leo Neufeld.  He has been most inspired by Cynthia Rowland, though her deep and contagious love of art and superb instruction. Recognizing the need    to keep honing the basic skills of making art, Dan has most recently benefitted    from the lively and fundamentals-focused teaching of Vasili Katakis. His perspectives classes are not to be missed.


MING FRANZ

Ming specializes in Chinese brush paint, western watercolor and splashed ink painting, which combines watercolor techniques with Chinese brush. She teaches workshops and conducts demonstrations at the New Mexico Art League, UNM Osher Life Long Learning Center and the New Mexico Watercolor Society as well as in her studio in Edgewood, New Mexico. Ming is the author of Splash Ink with Watercolor. Her work has been included in numerous publications in the US and Taiwan. She is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, and is a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Rio Grande Art Association, Sumi-e Society of America, Chinese American Art Development Foundation, and the American Society Association of Chinese Art.


CHUCK LEWIS, Past President

Chuck, a life long resident of Albuquerque, joined the New Mexico Art League in 2009. Upon graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1964, Chuck elected to pursue a career in banking and real estate lending. He never let his passion for the visual arts fade and upon his retirement in 2006, he began enrolling in many classes and workshops. He favors oil painting as his medium. Chuck is an avid cyclist and competes in bicycle racing. He enjoys the many activities available to members of the Art League.


MJ MANFORD

Born and raised in South Texas, MJ received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Texas. She spent a number of years in Austin working in and around state government and painting in every spare minute. Her artwork can be seen in the Texas State Senate and the Office of the Texas Secretary of State. She studied with artists Leo Neufeld, Daniel Greene, Nelson Shanks, Bettina Steinke and Jeffery Watts, among others. She now lives in Los Ranchos, New Mexico with her husband, Gary Pat.


FRIEDA THORSEN, Membership Coordinator

Frieda  was born and raised in Santa Fe, grew up surrounded by art and is passionate about it. "But, in terms of hands-on art: I dabble," she says. Her contributions to the New Mexico art community are from behind the scenes rather than in front of a canvas. She has served on the MasterWorks of New Mexico steering committee for many years; she served as secretary, treasurer, and president of the Rio Grande Art Association, and was exective director of Hey, Mozart! New Mexico, a children's music project. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from UNM and a master's degree in hospital administration from The Ohio State University.

Art League Staff


BUFFY NELSON, Art League Director

Bethany Nelson's (aka Buffy) love of the arts has taken her in many different directions throughout her career. Her background is comprised of a broad range of experience that includes working in fine art print shops, museums and galleries; including Tamarind Institute and Landfall Press, curating exhibitions, and starting and directing art schools and community programs at the Athenaeum School of the Arts in La Jolla and the Harwood Art Center and now at the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque. She studied art and design in California and later returned to New Mexico where she received a BFA in Painting and Art History from UNM. Over time she began to believe in the profound effect of the process of making art and continued on to complete her MA in Art Education also from the University of New Mexico.

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday - Saturday  505-293-5034

3409 Juan Tabo Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111     Map It  

Mailing address: P.O. Box 16554, Albuquerque, NM 87191                              

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