For more than 30 years, the Artesia Arts Council has worked to share, support and develop artistic talent in Southeastern New Mexico. The Artesia Arts Council was started on April 3, 1975, with ten founding patrons and fifty-four charter members. From the beginning, two major annual events that continue to this day were Art in the Park and Missoula Children’s Theatre. Art in the Park is a regional arts and crafts show held on the third Saturday of October at Central Park in downtown Artesia. Missoula Children’s Theatre is an acting experience for local children where two professionals from Montana appear on a Sunday in June, audition and rehearse through the week and present a complete play with a cast of 40 to 60 on the following Saturday.
Two long-standing affiliates of the Artesia Arts Council are the Artesia Community Theatre and the Artesia Community Chorale. As the names imply, both groups are composed of local talent. The Community Theatre presents five plays per year, normally with performances on two weekends per play. The Community Chorale performs a Christmas concert in early December and a spring concert in May.
In 2000, the leaders of the Arts Council decided that the group could do more to promote art-related activities in the Artesia area. Since then, the Artesia Concert Association, the Scrapbooking Club and the “Poetry in Motion” club were added to the list of affiliated organizations.
In 2001, the Arts Council purchased the old Ocotillo movie theatre at Roselawn and Main Streets in downtown Artesia. The theatre was built in 1935 and converted to a cafeteria in the 1950’s. It served as a space for many productions and events for several years until the decision was made to completely renovate it. In 2006 the Arts Council hired Devendra Contractor of Albuquerque as architect for the Ocotillo remodeling. Actual construction work, supervised by Jaynes Corporation of Albuquerque, began in September 2007. The Grand Opening of this beautiful theater was held November 20, 2008.