Art on the Fence March 2021

Gallup MainStreet Announces “Art on the Fence” Program on Coal Avenue

Featuring four vibrant new installations by local artists

Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District has launched a new project to beautify the downtown corridor where construction for Coal Avenue Commons is taking place. Situated between 2nd and 3rd Streets on Coal Avenue, four local artists have been selected to install temporary artworks on the construction fencing. The works will be installed in mid-March and will remain on view through mid-May, or until the construction project wraps up this spring. 

Artists were asked to come up with projects that reflect the art and culture of our region and that are inspired by themes of resilience and revitalization. “We’re excited to be able to support these dynamic, thoughtful artist-led projects that represent different approaches to the themes,” says executive director Kara Q. Smith. “They will not only brighten our built environment but they paint a picture of our community and give us something to look forward to, which we really need right now.” 

About the artist projects:

Jerry Brown will use strips of canvas painted the colors of the rainbow to weave into the fence in an abstract pattern. Titled Weaving a Community of Colors, the artist seeks to represent the diversity of people and cultural traditions in Gallup into one unified piece. 

Jason John will weave a large-scale painting of Navajo elders speaking to children into the fence using wooden slats. As the viewer walks along the fence, they will encounter snippets of conversation from Diné teachings about enduring hardships.  

Brandy Lee will create a crocheted tableau of flowers symbolizing that no matter how harsh a Winter our beautiful community endures. Titled The People’s Garden, passersby will be encouraged to attach flowers to the installation to contribute to the final piece.

Orin Nez will utilize references to Navajo weaving techniques and Navajo symbolism to surround the phrase “Nih’dé’neh Na’nízhoozhí,” which roughly translates to “get up Gallup.” Titled seeds of strength, the artist hopes to inspire a bounce-back communally, culturally, and commercially.

Viewers may view the works by simply taking a stroll downtown, following @gallupmainstreet on Facebook and Instagram, or visiting

About Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District: Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District’s mission is to bring together all segments of the community to foster civic pride, promote economic vitality, and preserve and develop the cultural and historical resources of downtown Gallup. Learn more about our organization and our arts initiatives:

About Coal Avenue Commons: Coal Avenue Commons is an infrastructure initiative to transform two blocks of Coal Avenue in Gallup, NM, into a vibrant plaza street. The project is designed to begin at First Street and extend to Third Street. Phase 1 broke ground in July 2019 and is projected to be finished in May 2021, comprising one block of the project from 2nd Street to 3rd Street.

Seeds of Strength

By Orin Nez

About the Artist:

Orin Nez has always been involved in art. Though not formally trained, he has always found creative ways to execute the things he imagines. As a child, he was interested in sculpture and then later developed a passion for painting. He has come to realize that art isn’t just an escape but is a need, the need to create. 

About the Work:

“Nih’dé’neh Na’nízhoohí” roughly translates to “get up Gallup,” which I find to be an appropriate message most of the time for Gallup. But especially now with what is going on in the world, I believe this message carries so much more significance. The pandemic has had a major impact on our town, as well as the rest of the world, but I feel that this impact deserves a counterattack — a “counter impact” from us. I am trying to inspire a bounce-back that not only Gallup, but other surrounding communities can see and feel inspired by as well — a bounce-back communally, culturally, and commercially.

Weaving a Community of Colors

By Jerry Brown

About the Artist:

Jerry is Diné, from Mariano Lake, NM. I am born into the Edgewater People, for the Deer Spring Band, and being Diné is part of who he is and he is very proud of his heritage. It is one of the many influences of his work. For as long as he can remember he has been creating art and is heavily influenced by the traditional ceremonies of the Diné Tribe. He is also heavily influenced by the modern world and considers himself a product of both worlds being called to create abstract work.

About the Work:

Using strips of canvas painted the colors of the rainbow to weave into the fence in an abstract pattern, Jerry seeks to represent the diversity of people and cultural traditions in Gallup into one unified piece. 

The People’s Garden

By Brandy Lee

About the Artist:

Brandy Lee is a fiber artist and has been knitting and crocheting for many years, originally taught by her Nana. She is a long-time Gallup resident and sells her work at craft fairs, the flea market, and Makeshift Gallery. She teaches free lessons to people, especially children, who want to learn to knit and crochet and really enjoys making things that bring people joy.

About the Work:

Brandy’s installation is made of crocheted strips of green that are woven through the fence. The strips in different shades of green, resembling waves, and cover 2 fence panels. These woven strips are covered with flowers of different sizes, colors, and types which have also be woven into the fence on top of the “waves” of green. The idea is to resemble a garden and represent the many types of people and cultures that grow in our community garden. Buttons were provided for the public to attach to the flowers as a way to involve the people of our community. Hopefully, people are drawn to a flower that they feel represents them or someone they love. This installation symbolizes that no matter how harsh a winter our beautiful community endures, we will always continue to grow and show our beauty to the world.