Artist Kim Wiggins and Roswell [auth] Museum and Art Center Foundation president Debra Prince during the Museum’s 75th anniversary celebration, Friday. Ilissa Gilmore Photo
The Roswell Museum and Art Center celebrated 75 years Friday with artist Kim Wiggins lecturing about and signing prints of his painting Cattle Kings of the Pecos: Blazing the Trail of 1867.
The painting depicts historical figures John Simpson Chisum, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving on a cattle drive from Texas into the Pecos Valley.
The bold, vibrant work was commissioned by the Roswell Museum and Art Center Foundation to commemorate the museum’s 75th anniversary. As a nonprofit, the Foundation supports the museum through donations from community members.
“So, it’s really the community’s gift to the museum,” said Cindy Torrez, executive director of RMAC Foundation.
The community also supported the museum by purchasing limited edition prints of the piece that were personalized by Wiggins. Of the 100 prints created, all were sold, said RMAC Foundation president Debra Prince.
“It’s exciting that the community has supported this the way that they have,” she said. “It’s just amazing.”
As far as the content of the painting, Wiggins said the Foundation wanted something that focused on the history of the city. They had discussed possibly featuring other historical figures, such as Billy the Kid and Geronimo.
“There are so many things connected to the history of Roswell,” he said. “But this really encapsulates the history of Roswell.”
Wiggins’ painting reflects the research he put into it. For example, Chisum rides a mule, which he preferred to horses. But even if such small details are missed by viewers, they won’t miss the tableau’s brightly colored landscape and bold shapes.
Priscilla Ornelas and her husband Matt studied the painting with interest. Priscilla said she was fascinated by the imagery of purple mountains and the pink clouds.
“It’s reminiscent of New Mexico,” she said. “New Mexico is like, ‘The Land of Enchantment.’ That’s what that is.”
T-shirts with the print are available in the museum’s store priced at $20. For more information, call the Foundation at 627-0918.