In the fall of 2019, visual artist Shelby Head worked alongside San Luis Land Rights Council members collecting stories from the beneficiaries of the 1843 land grant issued under the Mexican land grant system. These seven recorded stories will become large wall projections in the 2020 exhibition titled La Sierra at the Cloyde Snook Gallery on the campus of Adams State University from January 13 through February 6.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, and will include the grant heirs’ personal stories concerning the historic land rights to La Sierra.

Shelby Head and Jose Martinez
Shelby Head with Jose Martinez, one of the grant heirs to La Sierra. Photo by Dana Maestas

The centerpiece for the exhibition is a large-scale shrine designed and installed by San Luis sculptor, Huberto Maestas, Class of 1984, from donations made by Costilla County residents. The shrine is dedicated to the spirit of La Sierra and to the generations of families who have used the mountain range for water, grazing, logging, wood, hunting and fishing. The exhibition will travel to universities and museums in Colorado before finding a permanent home in San Luis.

This art project was made possible due to a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant awarded to the Adams State University Department of Art and Theatre for the Social Practice Arts Residency in the San Luis Valley.

For more information contact the ASU Art and Theatre Department at 719-587-7823 or