Wonders on Wheels

Wonders on Wheels, New Mexico Arts, and State Poet Laureate bringing "WoW, Poetry!" programs to rural communities this summer

June 21, 2023

Brandon Brown

Santa Fe, NM – This summer, Wonders on Wheels (WoW) mobile museum, New Mexico Arts (NMA), and New Mexico State Poet Laureate Lauren Camp will travel the state together, bringing the new Gustave Baumann exhibit and an activity featuring an image-based poetry technique called ekphrasis to rural communities.  

The first stop on their tour was Roswell Public Library on May 30, but more are planned statewide. See the full schedule below. 

“Poetry provides a way for New Mexicans to personally connect with Gustave Baumann’s love of the landscapes and cultures of New Mexico while developing their own skills of creative interpretation and writing,” said Jennifer Hasty, program supervisor of WoW. “The Wonder on Wheels team is thrilled to collaborate with State Poet Laureate Lauren Camp on this project of making poetry based on Baumann’s stunning artwork.” 

“I am ecstatic to work in collaboration with our sister Cultural Affairs divisions and Lauren Camp, the State Poet Laureate, to bring unique and creative programming to our rural New Mexico communities,” said Michelle Laflamme-Childs, executive director of NMA. “This partnership idea has been brewing for a long time, and it’s exciting to finally see Lauren and the Wonders on Wheels staff pool their talents and knowledge for the benefit of libraries across the state.

As the state’s mobile museum, WoW is a crucial resource for sharing the work being done throughout the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) with as much of its constituency as possible. Every year, the 38-foot RV WoW RV features an original museum exhibit designed by one of the state museums in NMDCA. WoW staff also develop a curriculum and hands-on activities associated with the exhibitions for their educational visits to schools across New Mexico.  

This year, WoW and New Mexico Museum of Art have collaborated to bring “Gustave Baumann: Hand of an Artist, Heart of New Mexico” to the mobile museum. The exhibition features a small gallery of Baumann’s color woodblock prints, a breakdown of his process for making woodblock prints, and a section about Baumann’s hand-carved marionettes. Visitors will also have the opportunity to practice handling a marionette. 

To complement the Baumann exhibition, New Mexico State Poet Laureate Lauren Camp will lead an activity in response to Baumann’s woodblock prints. The activity will focus on a poetic technique called ekphrasis, which uses paintings and other visual types of art as the foundation for poetry. Camp and NMA Executive Director Michelle Laflamme-Childs will also collect lines of poetry written by WoW visitors, in the hopes of creating crowdsourced poems specific to each community. The crowdsourced poems will ultimately be printed by the New Mexico History Museum’s Palace Press and sent to the communities where they were gathered and displayed in a public exhibition at a later date.  

“Baumann’s prints are mesmerizing and offer great possibilities to engage new writers,” said Lauren Camp, New Mexico State Poet Laureate. “I’m excited to see what kind of writing emerges from these community conversations.” 


“WoW, Poetry!” Schedule 

Thursday, June 22: Tucumcari Public Library 

Friday, June 23: Ft. Sumner Public Library 

Wednesday, July 19: Clovis Carver Public Library 

Thursday, July 20: Portales Public Library 

Related Photos

Wonders on Wheels Mobile Museum

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