In the Land Where Dreams Take Wing & Fly, the way to the Old School Gallery is a beautiful, winding road that follows an ancient way through tall ponderosa pines, past a mountain chain of volcanic craters, vast lava fields, steadily climbing over the Continental Divide, and then winding down into the awe inspiring El Morro Valley, home of the Old School Gallery. The Old School Gallery is a unique arts and community center for the community in a remote part of north western New Mexico – El Morro, Ramah, Zuni Pueblo and the surrounding rural community of ranchers, artists, and farmers.
El Morro, NM was a thriving community of ranchers in the 1940's, with a trading post, post office, feed lot and rodeo grounds. In 1948 the community built a two room school house where about 20 anglo, hispanic and Navajo children went to school. The anglo & hispanic children rode horseback or walked to school, while the Navajo children lived in a dormitory in Mountain View, 9 miles away, and rode to school in a converted army truck. Their "school bus" was heated with a wood burning stove in the winter. The school house was closed in the mid-fifties and the building was used for feed, hay, and grain storage. In 1987 the interior walls were removed, a stage was built and the old school house was used for a wild west show, dances, meetings and reunions.
In 1997 the local artists & residents formed the El Morro Area Arts Council, and in 1998 they bought the Old School House and converted it into a beautiful art gallery, community center, and theatre for performing arts. Their first big opening event was a Renaissance Festival, a wonderful day of colorful costumes and festivities with over 300 people attending.
The Gallery provides a central performance space for plays, music, arts classes, workshops and other community meetings and gatherings – from morning yoga to stage plays to folk dancing to summer arts classes for local kids. An old fashioned sense of community spirit is alive and well at the Old School Gallery. Locals from a 900 square mile area come together with their friends, neighbors & tourists to share in quarterly art exhibitions, festivals, craft fairs, movie nights, open mic night, stage plays with local actors, dances, potlucks, holiday celebrations, musical performances and much more. A quick glance at the calendar of their quarterly newsletter shows a crammed schedule, with an event at the gallery nearly every day of the week. Those who live here say that there is often so much to do that one can choose to have a very active social life at any time of year, except when a harsh winter storm messes with the best laid plans and intentions.
Visitors are warmly welcomed and invited to join in with the locals for whatever event or activity is happening at the moment. In the spring of 2010 a traveling husband & wife team of certified Laughter Yoga leaders, Keith and Mary stopped in El Morro and were invited to hold a free "laughter yoga" session at the Old School Gallery which was well attended. They fell in love with the place and upon their departure wrote in their journey blog "We will leave a piece of our hearts here in El Morro, and we depart with gratitude for our new friends who provided an experience of coming home to a place that we didn't even know was home, but in fact, turned out to be just that."
The Old School Gallery offers visitors Free Wifi access, to check email and surf the web while on the road.