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If Las Cruces dam is reconstructed, artist worries her art may be destroyed

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Kathy Morrow has spent thousands of hours planning, assembling and maintaining a stunning public art project in southeast Las Cruces.

"I would call it spontaneous art, but it’s also referred to as guerrilla art because it’s not sanctioned," she laughed.

Over the course of five years, she estimates she has moved literal tons of glass, rock and roofing tiles to create gorgeous images on the Tortugas Dam. Her artwork displays her depictions of a quail, a roadrunner, a hummingbird, a cougar and a skunk, among other images.

"No one told me not to, and there were people here that were of authority that seemed to be enjoying it," she explained.

However, she explained that the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is exploring the possibility of reconstructing the 60-year-old dam. She worries about the future of her masterpiece.

"I was hoping that if it’s possible to save the artwork, that would be wonderful," she said. "But if the artwork is in the way of that structure, then it would have to go.”

A spokeswoman for the National Resources Conservation Service in New Mexico did not return a request for comment by deadline, but a spokesman for the company that oversees the project, Genterra Consultants, said his office has received a tremendous amount of emails from the public.

While no piece of art lasts forever, Morrow said she hopes hers lasts at least a few more years.

“Eternity is way beyond anything I could have as a concept, but for now, we’ll just enjoy what we can," Morrow said.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

Tom Scott

Tom Scott is ABC-7’s news operations manager for our New Mexico mobile newsroom.

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