City Council Approves Animal Services Center Sculpture Design; Discusses Farmer’s Market Expansion

Oct 19, 2021

Credit Vito DiBari

An original public art project is being commissioned for the new Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley facility, which is set to open its doors in the fall of 2022.

Out of 139 submissions, the City Art Board recommended artist Vito DiBari’s concept art for city approval. The Las Cruces City Council voted unanimously to authorize the estimated $68,000 project, which is being supported through GO Bond funding.

In an artist statement read by City Art Program Coordinator Ceci Vasconcellos, DiBari highlighted how the steel sculpture will incorporate laser cut patterns and feature animals cared for by the ASCMV.

“My installation features a representation of a cat and dog, beloved domestic pets and two of the primary animals cared for by the ASCMV,” DiBari said. “The nine-foot-tall sculpture sees the two animals side by side, looking lovingly towards each other, radiating an energy of warmth and companionship.”

DiBari describes the sculpture, titled “Sun Shelter,” as a visual embodiment of ASCMV's values.

“The symbolic elements, such as the sun, which is an emblem of protection that shines bright upon the animals, embody values of humane animal care and promote responsible pet ownership,” DiBari said.  

The City Art Board is evaluating if extra lighting will be needed for the project and will work with the artist following an official site visit.  City Art Program Coordinator Ceci Vasconcellos says the board is also recommending design modifications to protect against the elements.

“Recommendations from the Art Selection Committee are number one, modify the single steel sheet design to a layered concept to add stability against the wind load,” Vasconcellos said. “They felt that the cutout would not be enough to withstand wind, especially in that location. And number two, add lighting to the design so it can be seen at night.”

Las Cruces City Councilors also discussed the need to expand the current farmer’s market, with Councilor Kasandra Gandara directing City Manager Ifo Pili to explore the logistics of opening a Sunday market.

“Really excited to see our farmer's market just really expanding,” Gandara said. “I think it's an exciting time, Ifo, to work on possibly a Sunday market…would love to see an evening market on Wednesdays, yes, but I think there's some room for a Sunday market. I know there's a long list of vendors who would like to get into the market.”

Councilor Gill Sorg also advocated for a market expansion, saying agricultural producers might benefit from a night market that would not interfere with harvesting.  Currently, the market operates every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

“I had a vision that the farmers that bring produce to the farmer's market might appreciate harvesting it all day long and then selling it that evening instead of either getting up real early in the morning or the day before,” Sorg said.