The Gila Monster Mural
at the Las Cruces Museum of Art (491 N. Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001)
The Gila Monster mural evolved into a true civic project with individual body beads decorated by members of the Las Cruces community. Most beads depict what inspires them or what they love about Las Cruces and the surrounding area.
Through the process of reaching out to educators for this project, Coy saw the teachers’ dedication and sacrifice to their students, and her views widened to the belief that the inspired cannot exist without the inspiring. So she began to reach out to many different inspiring facets of the community that help form the world in which the young grow up.
These are the people who labor to bring life into this world, those who nurse them
through it, those who run toward danger with helping hands rather than away from it, those
who batter their bodies in search for the lost and guide them to their path, those who hold the hope that comes from facing mountainous setbacks and, those who help them climb.
They are the teachers whose lessons last a lifetime, the policy changers who work to better life for all, the people who amplify the screams of the caged, the conservationists who archive the past and enable the conversationalists to catalyze new thought.
They are those who find the humor and the light in an ever depressing world, the creative thinkers, the musicians who can get you to dance rather than humdrum along, the small business owners who take on large corporations, the people who help others take steps toward healing and health and slowly mend an entire community, the farmers whose canvas is the ground and whose paint brush is a shovel.
They are the people who supply unconditional love, those who bravely walk toward the unknown and those who ultimately comfort us in our final steps.
In Coy’s words:
“Although this gila monster is a small portion of our wonderful community, this piece took me through a chain reaction of inspiration that I will be forever grateful for. It’s my hope that this train of inspiration and gratitude will chug along with you on board and move us all toward striving to become even more interesting, hearty desert creatures who carry unseen futures on our backs and reach higher peaks.
“Special thanks to my family who made this possible, to Jen Craig, Dona Ana Firefighters, Mesilla Valley Hospice, and to Community of Hope. To educators, nurses, doctors, and social workers everywhere, but especially India Hernandez, Chris Bardy, Tim Staley, Kayla Martinez, Nichole Martinez, and Senator Carrie Hamblen.”
on the side of COAS bookstore (317 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001) LINK
This community-involved mural was created to thank COAS bookstore for decades of watering the desert with mind-expanding books and experiences in the downtown and throughout the community that supports it. This symbiotic relationship helps keep our arts and cultural district thriving, and is represented here by water, essential to survival and growth in the desert.
The tree’s canopy is made up of the community’s favorite literary quotes, each hand-cut and stenciled in place. The tree also has the COAS iconic marque and initials carved into it. To the right of the tree is a typewriter on a stack of books. This pays homage to the legendary founder of COAS: his glasses lean against the typewriter, and the books below refer to his fascinating life.
In Coy’s words:
“I believe supporting local businesses downtown is doing just that, which is why I asked the community to come out and write their names in the swirling stylized water cascading down.
“This mural was created with such deep gratitude that it took it as its name. It was a true pleasure to collaborate with the community, and to thank a local gem like COAS.”
Boots’ Snowy Organ Mountains Mural
inside the Icebox Brewery (2825 West Picacho Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88007) LINK
This mural, Coy’s first, is in the Icebox Brewery, situated in what was originally an old ice-making plant dating back to the days before reliable refrigeration.
The brewery had recently lost a dear member of their crew, and his funeral was held near the old windmill by the Organ Mountains depicted in the mural. This specific windmill is on private property, preventing Coy’s obtainment of sight material to plan her mural.
Fortunately, Coy knows a photographer who has been documenting the southwest for decades and—even more fortunately—that photographer is Coy’s grandmother! She’d taken a photo years earlier, in a time much nearer to the days of the original icehouse. Coy painted a contoured rendition of that photograph, creating not only a unique memorial for the deceased, but also giving photo credit for her grandmother just before her 90th birthday.
In Coy’s words:
“This was the first mural I did and I am forever grateful to the proprietors for their trust and for giving me my start as a muralist.
“My grandmother sent me the selfie while drinking a beer in front of the mural, and it is one of my favorite things.”
We Can Do This Mural
along residential walking path off Hoagland Road, Las Cruces. NM 88005
This mural was painted in Las Cruces during lockdown. Before the Covid pandemic hit, a woman named Megan McQueen started an art movement in Las Cruces that she called “Art with Heart”. She had noticed hurtful tags like swastikas had begun to pop up on a long strip of cinder block walls running along the train tracks in the middle of town. She called the community to help paint beautiful art over these tags.
At the time, the community was fractured by a virus we had little information about. We were told to be as careful as possible to not get or spread this virus, but couldn’t access cleaning supplies, face masks, long shelf-life foods, or vaccines. A large portion of the community was unable to work and those that were deemed “essential” like doctors, first responders and personnel essential to the function of the city were deemed sacrificial, along with the network that enabled them to work: city workers, pharmacists, daycare workers, gas station attendees and restaurant employees. While these folks were bravely out trying to keep the city together, people were fearfully hoarding essential items or denying the virus’ existence, fueling division and hatred.
Again drawing inspiration from her grandmother’s photography, Coy designed this mural around a photo of hummingbirds: two tiny creatures, heads held high, huddled in such a precarious, industrial world but looking to the future as if to say “This too shall pass”.
In Coy’s words:
“People needed something hopeful and that is what I centered my concept around for this mural. My grandmother’s photo hanging in my home gives me hope and inspiration; I incorporated a bright yellow sun, hoping that the good people driving by would at the very least see something bright during such a trying time in our small community.”
If you’d like to talk with Coy about a mural project for your business, home, or workplace, please contact her here.