As I continue to venture around New Mexico taking in the sights, food and culture, I head southwest of Grants down the Ancient Way Arts Trail towards the El Morro Valley. Along the way I pass the El Malpais National Monument and the Ice Caves, go up and over the continental divide, and arrive in El Morro. Once here, I find the brightly painted Old School Gallery and a feed store on one side of the road and the Inscription Rock Trading and Coffee Co., the Ancient Way Café and a campground on the other side. And practically in their backyard is the El Morro National Monument.
Grants is a community that has gone through its boom and bust cycles and now, like other Western communities, is thinking about how it will sustain its economy for current and future generations. Creating a sustainable economy involves developing new models of thinking about economic, cultural, and political paradigms. Furthermore, sustainable communities are more driven by human capital and depend on the entrepreneurial spirit to survive.
Grants is starting to build a foundation of entrepreneurs, especially cultural entrepreneurs, who will be great catalysts to preserve and promote our cultures. Local cultural entrepreneurs like Ava Peets and Robert Gallegos, leaders with the Cibola County Arts Council and mentioned in my previous posts, are just a few examples of individuals building cultural organizations that contribute to the entrepreneurial economy while creating a vibrant cultural community.