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Dave Contarino on Arts & Culture in Las Cruces

Dave Contarino

According to Dave Contarino, the arts community in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is held in high esteem by area residents. Dave Contarino appreciates the opportunity to explore the downtown area, which contains three theaters and 10 art galleries. Below, Dave Contarino explains the renaissance of the downtown area.

ZRYLW: What makes Las Cruces so special for locals and artists alike?

Dave Contarino: One of the greatest aspects of artistic and cultural growth in the city is the revitalized downtown area. There has been an active effort to restore Main Street and encourage residents to enjoy activities in what many consider to be the heart of the community.

ZRYLW: Where are these art galleries located?

Dave Contarino: Along with the downtown area, the New Mexico State University campus and its nearby neighborhood feature a host of galleries.

ZRYLW: Why is art such a significant element in this area’s rich tapestry?

Dave Contarino: The community art scene owes much to the presence of New Mexico State University with its highly regarded music, art and theater programs.

ZRYLW: Does the location of Las Cruces have an impact?

Dave Contarino: The cultural roots of Las Cruces go deep, resting upon the traditions of early Spanish settlers and the Native Americans.

ZRYLW: What organizations foster this love of art in the community?

Dave Contarino: More than 30 organizations in Las Cruces are focused on culture and the arts.

ZRYLW: Is theater popular in the area?

Dave Contarino: The city currently holds five theater companies, the Las Cruces Chamber Ballet, the Mesilla Valley Concert Band, the Las Cruces Symphony, and several other dance and music groups.

ZRYLW: Are there events for film and book lovers?

Dave Contarino: Absolutely. The Mesilla Valley Film Society presents independent and foreign films at Fountain Theatre. Meanwhile, the annual Border Book Festival is popular with local bibliophiles. And to mention a favorite book store of mine, COAS My Bookstore.

ZRYLW: What forms of art are most often practiced?

Dave Contarino: There are several artist guilds that specialize in everything from weaving and watercolors to ceramics and clay.

ZRYLW: What are the major features of the Las Cruces museum system?

Dave Contarino: The Las Cruces museum system includes the Las Cruces Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Natural History, Branigan Cultural Center, and the Railroad Museum.

ZRYLW: How does Las Cruces honor its agricultural background?

Dave Contarino: This culture and the attendant traditions are widely exhibited at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

ZRYLW: Doesn’t New Mexico State University also have a museum?

Dave Contarino: Yes, the New Mexico State University Museum displays items from the university’s permanent collection on a rotating basis.

ZRYLW: What’s a favorite cultural venue for you?

Dave Contarino:  Space Murals Inc. includes a water tank mural as well as space memorabilia. It’s a visually stunning experience.

ZRYLW: One last attraction: the Rio Grande Theatre.

Dave Contarino: First opened in 1926 as a classic movie house, it has since been redefined as a popular education and performing arts center directed by the Doña Ana Arts Council.

ZRYLW: Thanks for meeting with us!

Dave Contarino: You’re welcome. I enjoyed it.

A Kentucky resident, Dave Contarino is a political adviser and strategist who regularly visits the Las Cruces area.

David Contarino: Investing in the Progressive Future of New Mexico

David Contarino David Contarino explains Rainbow Vision Santa Fe, where he has owned two units as investment properties and was an investor in the original development corporation.

Along with wife Linda, David Contarino owns several LLCs that rent properties in New Mexico to various tenants. The couple have owned multiple properties through the years and have profited by investing at the right time, reaping commercial rent payments to cover property

costs, and selling at the right time. Here, David Contarino offers information about Rainbow Vision Santa Fe—a retirement village tucked in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and targeted to gay and lesbian seniors. The couple, aside from being the initial investors in the community, have owned two condos in the development.

Why the LGBT community?

David Contarino explains that as a growing percentage of American seniors spend their retirement years with a life partner, investing in a nontraditional retirement facility seemed logical. Understanding that the aging population was more and more open about their sexual orientation, Linda and David Contarino happily accepted the challenge. The couple believes that everyone should have a place where they feel accepted.

Service and amenities

Rainbow Vision Santa Fe, remarks David Contarino, has all of the amenities of a mainstream retirement living center, and plenty of perks, too. David Contarino reports that one of the first features visitors comment on is the view. Rainbow Vision is located with a full panorama of a seemingly never-ending row of peaks as diverse as the men and women who live there. After that, David Contarino says the campus’ luxury and elegance speaks for itself.

David Contarino notes that Rainbow Vision Santa Fe offers several models of one- and two- bedroom apartment homes, Garbos– a fine dining facility operated by an executive chef, Starlight Lounge—a full bar with happy hour,  the Billie Jean King Fitness Center & Spa, and the whimsically named Edward Scissorhands Salon. According to David Contarino, Rainbow Vision Santa Fe boasts a calendar full of activities that allow residents to mix and mingle.

Living options

David Contarino explains that Rainbow Vision Santa Fe is fully equipped to care for active seniors through independent, transitional and assisted living options.

The Chelsea Village Independent Community or Club Condo Living options offer residents full or limited membership to the center’s many facilities. A full membership includes access to Rainbow Vision’s clubhouse, takeout from Garbo’s, housekeeping and transportation. David Contarino explains that residents in this level of care are responsible only for phone and Internet connection. David Contarino also notes that basic cable is included. Independent living guests may purchase other services individually, says David Contarino.

David Contarino explains that the intermediate level of care is transitional living. This is for seniors who wish to remain active but don’t want to slow down to cook and clean up after meals. According to David Contarino, transitional living allows for full independence.

Fully licensed, Castro Assisted Living is located on the second level of the El Centro Clubhouse, says David Contarino. Castro residents enjoy 24/7 staffing and an exclusive dining room with three chef-prepared meals per day.

From its open-air courtyard to its deluxe décor, David Contarino truly believes there is no senior living facility better equipped to meet the needs of active seniors. And, as the needs of the LGBT population grow, David Contarino feels this investment serves to exemplify the progression of the American West.

David Contarino is a Democratic political consultant based out of Louisville, Kentucky. His love for New Mexico comes from his 17 years living in Santa Fe and Taos amid the high altitude desert and soaring peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.