Visual artist Shelby Head is visiting San Luis and surrounding communities for an extended period of time to take part in preserving the history of the 1843 Sangre de Cristo Land Grant through community participation and art. Head is currently an Artist in Residence at Adams State University, part of the Rare AIR program.

Working alongside the San Luis Land Rights Council members, Head will focus on collecting stories from the beneficiaries of the 1843 land grant issued under the Mexican land grant system. She will record through film seven grant heirs’ personal stories concerning the historic land rights to La Sierra. These seven 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.

Huberto Maestas and Shelby Head
Photo by Dana Maestas. Pictured, Huberto Maestas and Shelby Head

The centerpiece for the exhibition is a large-scale shrine designed and installed by San Luis sculptor, Huberto Maestas, from donations made by Costilla County residence. 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. 

Participation from the community is highly encouraged. Residences of Costilla County are invited to donate items for the shrine through December 31, 2019. Donations can be dropped-off at the Land Rights Council building at 401 S Church Place in San Luis. Suggested items to donate: chokecherry jam, bischtoes, pinon, chicos, fava bean (dried), pretty bowls of different sizes, osha (herbs), atole, red chili (ristra), candles, a variety of cloth, sage, Devon Pena corn, along with other La Sierra related items.

For more information on how to get involved in please contact Shirley Romero-Otero, president of the Land Rights Council, at or 970-640-8014 or Junita Martinez, Land Rights Council member, at