LOS ALAMOS, NM—Feb. 8, 2013—Los Alamos, New Mexico’s historic Fuller Lodge Art Center and the Los Alamos Historic Museum, Bandelier National Monument (Bandelier) and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) are collaborating to benefit those in need by hosting clay related programming and encouraging artists to donate clay bowls for the 20th annual Empty Bowl Project event on March 16. Proceeds from the purchases of the clay bowls at the event will benefit Self Help Inc. – a non-profit organization who provides emergency housing, medicine and utilities for those in need around Los Alamos and northern NM.

“The Empty Bowl Project gives us an opportunity to help our neighbors who may find themselves in an emergency situation,” said Gillian Sutton Empty Bowl Coordinator and board Vice President of Self Help Inc. “Self Help Inc. has assisted people from all walks of life – from families whose homes were burned in the Las Conchas fire to single mothers who are forced to choose between paying the rent or buying medication for a sick child. Self Help Inc. has a fund that assists people during a momentary crisis, where they can walk in with a problem and walk out with a solution.”

The Empty Bowl Project’s March 16 event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos. For a minimum $15 donation, participants can pick a hand-painted bowl and enjoy a soup lunch donated by a local restaurants. A silent auction will follow and The Craig Martin Experience band, along with other local musicians, will add flavor to the event. For more information or to make a tax deductible donation, visit selfhelpla.org or contact Gillian Sutton, organizer, at 505-662-1490.

Clay bowls, such as those donated at the Empty Bowl Project, and the longstanding use of clay among indigenous cultures in NM will be the focus of an exhibition, “We Who Are Clay” exhibit at Fuller Lodge Art Center. The exhibition opens on March 15 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition continues through April 20 and will include a number of related workshops, discussions and classes on clay pottery. The event is free and open to the public.

Also at Fuller Lodge Art Center now through March 3, delve into the minds of artists by uncovering the steps and processes that artists, writers, and creative-types use when composing a piece of art, a story, or even a set design. This “Behind the Scenes” art exhibition offer a “back stage pass” into the world of the artist and the story behind a piece of artwork. See the original materials – such as sketchbooks, notes, and materials that were used in the creative process.

Both the “We Who are Clay” and “Behind the Scenes” exhibitions take place at the Fuller Lodge Art Center located at 2132 Central Ave. in Los Alamos. For details, call Fuller Lodge at 505-662-1635 or visit fullerlodgeartcenter.com.

Now through the end of February, see a historic glimpse of Los Alamos through the eye of artists and painters from the 1920‘s through now, with Los Alamos Historical Society’s “Landscapes of Los Alamos” exhibition. The exhibition features donated paintings and photos from well known artists such as photographer T. Harmon Parkhurst, the official photographer for the Los Alamos Ranch School. The art pieces are not on permanent display at the museum. The exhibition is free. Visit losalamoshistory.org for details.

While in Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument is a great stop for history buffs and nature lovers, especially in early spring when wildlife such as elk, mule deer, coyote and turkey vultures are frequently spotted in the Monument. The Upper Frijoles Trail in the Monument is specifically designated for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, including a 2.4 mile short trail and a longer 5 mile trail. Call 505-672-3861 for details on snow conditions.

Entry fees to the Monument are $12 for a 7-day vehicle permit; or $6 for a single entry permit good for seven days. For more information visit nps.gov/band/index.htm.

Less than an hour east, the Valles Caldera National Preserve has over 5,000 acres of land to explore via cross country skiing or snowshoeing for the entire family. Permits are $10 per adult, $8 per senior (62 years and older); $8 for kids 6 to 15 years old; and kids 5 years and under are free.

For a memorable experience, horse drawn sleigh/wagon rides are a unique way to see the Preserve. Sleigh rides will be wagon rides if there is not enough snow on the route. The hour-long journey treks through the historical headquarters of the Preserve along the edge of the Valle Grande. A guide will share history of the area and reveal how humans and wildlife have managed to withstand harsh winter temperatures in the past, and the importance of sleds and wagons to man’s survival. The last of the season’s sleigh/wagon rides will be offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. only on the following dates: Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17 and 24.

The Valles Caldera is even more spectacular at night, especially during a Moonlight Skiing or Snowshoeing event. The final Moonlight Skiing or Snowshoeing event is scheduled between 5 and 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24. This self guided activity offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience the Valle Grande during full moon conditions. Permits will be sold at the Valle Grande Staging Area beginning at 5 p.m. Prices are $15 for adults; $12 for seniors; $10 kids 5 to 15 years old; and free for kids 4 years and younger. Visitors should be prepared for high elevation, winter mountain weather, and night conditions. For weather, road conditions, current events, and closures at Valles Caldera call 505-216-2690 or visit vallescaldera.gov.