Amapola Co-Op Art Gallery, Founded 35 Years Ago
Amapola was founded by a trio of talented artists 35 years ago. Jan Hayes was first director, Doris Parry first bookkeeper (not a small job!) and Betty Reuscher rounded out the trio. Ms. Reusecher moved back to Texas many years ago. Doris Parry remained in the gallery for some five years, working mainly in oils. For 20 years she has been living with Parkinson’s and gave up her art career.
As Jan Hayes says, “Amapola was my baby.” The organization was conceived ass a spring-board for artists not yet fully established, perhaps without other gallery representation, to help them grow their art careers. The three recruited prospective members from among artist friends whose work they admired and whose personalities seemed likely to mesh.
Amapola’s original location, at the northwest corner of Rio Grande and South Plaza Street, was the first of four in Old Town. At our first meeting of 30 members Jan declared, “You can name the gallery anything, as long as it’s ‘Amapola’!” That name, and the poppy logo, continue to serve well.
Jan Hayes’ southwest watercolors delighted the art world for over 30 years as Jan participated in various shows and galleries, winning many awards and a loyal following.
As a child with an artistic father, Jan “always did art.” She began selling her paintings when husband Dennis was in graduate school. Over a period of five years she studied with a variety of wonderful teachers including the design-oriented Todd Tibbals and wet-on0wet technique artist Jack Dietrich, who urged her to paint without fear, to “just let it happen.” In night classes at UNM Jan also studied with oil artist Walter Barubrook, another long-time pillar of the art community here.
Oils were Jan’s first medium, to which she has returned. She enjoys leisurely producing her landscapes as gifts for family and friends.
Between the explorations of these very different mediums, Jan Hayes headed in an entirely different direction. She had, she said, “a blessed life,” and wanted to give back. She founded Sandia Mountain Bear watch. This 23-year old conservation organization encourages co-existence with our bear population, advocating for bear-proofing, non-feeding of wild bears, (“A fed bear is a dead bear”) and strict kill limits, especially on sows. The group is some six hundred members strong, and for the first fifteen or so years worked closely with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Unfortunately, she now feels she and Bear Watch must work against them as Game and Fish’s new direction has, she feels, undone much of the previous progress made. As she speaks of this she reveals her devotion to and passion for the wildlife of the Sandias, and its preservation.
Jan Hayes’ passion for art and the community of artists got Amapola Gallery up and running in 1980. We share that passion still today. Come see what Amapola has become. We’re betting you’ll develop a little art passion of your own!
After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer