The Stark Museum of Art in Orange, opened a special exhibition, Wild Beauty: The New Mexico Setting on Saturday, March 16. The exhibition features paintings by Southwestern masters that explore the extraordinary New Mexico environment.

This exhibition takes inspiration from the novel Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. The exhibition is designed around themes inspired by the novel and features quotations in English and Spanish from Anaya’s book. The exhibition title is inspired by Anaya’s poetic language, “I saw for the first time the wild beauty of our hills and the magic of the green river.”

Works of art by artists such as O.E. Berninghaus, William Herbert Dunton, Fremont Ellis, Nicolai Fechin, Georgia O’Keeffe and many others are included. These works from the early twentieth century portray the powerful landscape and its dramatic contrasts. They also depict cultural settings that affect lives of the people. The exhibition will remain on view through June 8.

“We invite the public to enjoy the wonderful art in this exhibition and to engage with the idea of a community read. The exhibition can be enjoyed on its own for the wonderful artistic representations, but then viewers can enhance their experience by reading the novel and participating in programs,” said Sarah Boehme, Museum Director.

The Museum will sponsor a presentation “Ultima: A Healer for Our Times,” by award-winning novelist Denise Chávez on Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m., at the Lutcher Theater. It will be followed by a reception and book signing at the Museum. The Museum will also have Fiesta Family Day on Saturday, May 4 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., as well as additional programs.

Wild Beauty: The New Mexico Setting is an event of the Southeast Texas Big Read. The Big Read is a project of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Stark Museum of Art is a non-recipient partner.

Located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, The Stark Museum of Art is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free for STARK Cultural Venues members. Admission fees for the Stark Museum of Art are $6 for adults; $5 for seniors (age 65 and up), students (with ID), and youth (age 10-17); $2 for children (age 4-9); and free for toddlers (age 3 and under).

Group tours are available by appointment. For more information, call 886-2787, or visit