Lubbock and the Law

It was great to finally be back in our great state of Texas, and the lure of home was great.  But so, too, was the lure of Texas Tech Law, which several of the LEAP Ambassadors–particularly Karla Rosales–aspire to attend.

Before heading to Texas Tech Law, we made a quick stop by Prairie Dog Town…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Prairie Dog Town

…where we got to see a lot of cute prairie dogs!

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The weather was rainy, but that did not stop us or them from having a great time.

We then headed to our next stop, Texas Tech School of Law. This was particularly the best part for me, as Texas Tech Law is my top-choice law school and it was my first time to be able to visit the school.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

Even though it was a Sunday morning, we were able to go inside the building and explore. As we walked in, we were welcomed by the West Texas Legal Legends wall where there are plaques for distinguished Texas Tech Alumni. We continued by taking a quick tour of the building…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

… and the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center where the auditorium and the Donald Hunt Courtroom are located.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

We continued our exploration of Texas Tech and learned that Texas Tech actually has a lot of public art and beauty throughout their campus.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Karla Rosales

We saw a couple of Jesus Moroles sculptures, which are always nice to see as we can make that connection to Huntsville.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Jesus Moroles

We also saw an art piece by one of my favorite artists, Deborah Butterfield. The piece was titled “Water River” and depicts a life-size horse.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Deborah Butterfield

The material used looks just like twisted tree branches, but is actually bronze! Her art is so fascinating to see. Another one of our favorite was called “The Read Reader” also known as “The Bookman,” by Terry Allen…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

…which we have learned so much about at the Moody Gallery in Houston.

One of the other artists we have learned about on this trip is Glenna Goodacre, who does representational sculptures, and is from Lubbock, TX.  We had seen her art in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Denver, and, just off Glenna Goodacre Blvd in Lubbock, we were able to see her on Texas Tech’s campus.  In fact, we were able to pose as her figures!

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Glenna Goodacre

 

It’s always nice to see famous artists around the country and find a local connection. Texas Tech definitely is full of wonderful art pieces all over campus…

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Agave Dreams

 

…and it is fascinating to see how it enriches the cultural life on campus through diverse public art by many famous artists. ​

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech, Robert Bruno

And with that last glimpse, we headed back to our home in Huntsville.

SHSU, LEAP AMbassadors, LEAP Center, Lubbock, Texas Tech

 

Mountains and Monuments: Another Day in Santa Fe

Bandelier National Monument by Bianca Saldierna

On our last day in the rugged west, we went for an early morning hike at the Bandelier National Monument, where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived starting approximately 11,000 years ago.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

The Bandelier National Monument encompasses over 33,000 acres of protected land and over 70 miles of trail. We adventured on the most popular trail at the national monument, the Main Loop Trail, also known as the Frijoles Canyon Trail. As we wandered on the 1.2-mile trail, we had the opportunity to see archeological sites such as Big Kiva…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

…Tyuonyi, Talus House and the Alcove House. As we learned about Big Kiva, a communal meeting place used for religious, educational and decision-making purposes, we spotted three mule deer around the Tyuonyi ruins. To our surprise, one by one, the deer calmly approached the site, stopping a couple feet away from us to snack on some of the grass (although we want to believe that it was because we are some kind of wildlife whisperers).

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandolier Monument

As we continued with our tour, we learned that the Tyuonyi pueblo was one of the several large pueblos located within the Bandelier National Monument. The Tyuonyi once had over 400 rooms and it was home to approximately 100 people.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

We were able to better appreciate the scale of the remainings of the Tyuonyi structure after climbing a volcanic tuff cliff situated in front of it. Resting on the cliff were the Talus Houses which were reconstructed in 1920.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

We had the opportunity to enter the small cave dwellings called cavates via ladder.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

We learned that because the clay rock was crumbly, the people would burn the clay constantly to make it sturdier.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

Midway through our trail…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

…we adventured on the Alcove House which rests in the upper part of some large volcanic tuff cliffs.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument, Alcove House

To reach the former ceremonial cave, we climbed 140 feet up via four steep wooden ladders…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

…all despite Karla’s fear of heights.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

Luckily…

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…the narrow and partly paved paths were not crowded by visitors, which gave us some extra time to carefully explore…

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…and enjoy the views…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

of such a scenic and photogenic place.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Bandelier Monument

Shopping Downtown by Karla Rosales

After our hour-long hike at the Bandelier National Monument, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and enjoy our last few hours in Santa Fe. We spent part of our afternoon at the heart of downtown Santa Fe around the plaza market which was filled with various shops and art galleries.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Plaza

We began our walk through the portal at the Palace of the Governors which was filled with Native American Vendors. The Native American artists, from approximately 41 pueblos and tribes, make and exhibit jewelry, pottery and other works of art.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Plaza

The program that allows Native artists to showcase their art is called Portal Native American Artisans Program and it requires for the vendors to be members of New Mexico tribes and Pueblos and for all of their pieces sold to be genuine pieces. Some of us bought copper bracelets and even a copper guitar pick which were handmade and had unique cultural symbols and designs. Other ambassadors decided to walk around the plaza and enjoy a hot cup of coffee from a local shop.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Plaza

We wrapped up our quick shopping trip and hurried to meet with Mark Burns for lunch.

Lunch with Mark Burns by Christina Perez

Make Burns is a well-known photographer who grew up in Houston and who is known for the National Parks project that featured his photographs of all 59 National Parks. Currently, The LEAP Center and Mark Burns are collaborating to create a documentary on his profession and his successful career as a photographer. Interestingly, as he was working on the National Parks Project he spent some time in Santa Fe. Besides joining us for lunch, he also met us to work on the documentary and allow us to take a few photos of him. Because of being so familiar with the city, he recommended that we visit Tomasita’s Restaurant which serves Northern New Mexican cuisine.  Tomasita’s was first opened in 1974 and has been a local favorite since then. During lunch we enjoyed listening to experiences Mark Burn’s had during the last few months. He shared news about his project of the 100th-year anniversary of the Grand Canyon and his new website design.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Trains

Canyon Road Walk and Film with Mark Burns by Bianca Saldierna

Our conversations were carried on through our walk with Mark Burns around Canyon Road.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road

The half-mile long road located in Santa Fe’s Historical District houses more than one hundred galleries, boutiques and restaurants.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road

As previously mentioned, Mark Burns sporadically lived in Santa Fe while he completed his National Parks Project. He took us to his short-term house located in this picturesque road. We were able to briefly film and photograph Mark Burns in this location to include the material as part of our documentary.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road

To our surprise, the neighboring gallery displayed several pieces of one of the ambassadors’ favorite sculptor, Allan Houser Haouzous.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road, Allan Houser

We also had a chance to photograph Burns at the front of the home in which he stayed during his various trips to Santa Fe.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road, Mark Burns

After concluding our work with Mark Burns, we strode through the charming road…

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…peeked into a couple of galleries, took some photos, and visited a restaurant with a noteworthy side story.  The walls of El Farol’s (The Lighthouse) restaurant display five small murals brushed by Alfred Morang, an artist who made Santa Fe his home and whose house and former studio sit just off of Canyon Road.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road, Alfred Morang, El Farol

We had previously admired Morang’s artwork at the New Mexico Museum of Art…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe NM, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, Alfred Morang

…in fact, our knowledgeable museum tour guide directed us to his artwork at this unique restaurant. Our New Mexico visit ended in this historic and popular part of Santa Fe. Although we were nostalgic to leave such beautiful city, we headed back to our home state delighted to have learned about the city’s culture, people, art and history.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Santa Fe, Canyon Road

O’Rourke Roars Through Huntsville

On Thursday afternoon, dozens of supporters of the Democratic party filled the Katy and Don E. Walker Sr. Education Center to hear from Beto O’Rourke himself, as he continues his campaign for Texas Senator. Community members, SHSU students and faculty, and notable public figures such as Andy Brauninger, Huntsville’s current Mayor, comprised the large crowd.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Beto O'Rourke

O’Rourke is a Democratic member of the U.S. House, representing Texas’s 16th Congressional District, and–a few days after his appearance in Huntsville–he won the Democratic Primary for the US Senate seat.  He will face incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in the November general election.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Beto O'Rourke

No Democrat has won a state-wide election since 1994, but O’Rourke’s many public appearances have been vital to his growing popularity and to his campaign. On his campaign trail across the Lone Star State, O’Rourke visited eleven communities in East Texas in just two days. Earlier on Thursday, he made his way to Longview, Jacksonville, Nacogdoches and Huntsville; making our adopted community his last stop. While livestreaming on Facebook, Beto O’Rourke was received at the town hall with much enthusiasm by the euphoric applause of the crowd. The 45-year old candidate from El Paso Texas addressed key issues such as immigration, healthcare, and gun control:

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Beto O'Rourke

Throughout his campaign, O’Rourke has invited people to move past partisanship to fight for the health, safety, and security of the American communities. After delivering his speech, O’Rourke took questions and welcomed the opinions, concerns and recommendations of the constituents present.  Undoubtedly, Thursday afternoon was an exciting day for the Democratic party, especially to members such as Dorothy Willett, the president of the Walker County Democratic party, whose efforts to bring O’Rourke to Huntsville came to fruition!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Beto O'Rourke