The Las Vegas Literary Salon Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize fund-raising effort is supported by donations from educator, author and artist Ray John de Aragon, and Rosa Maria Calles, artist, playwright, and folklore dramatist. Among the offerings are signed posters of paintings by de Aragon and Calles depicting cultural icons Gorras Blancas and Los Penitentes, and several of de Aragon’s books, most with cover illustrations by Calles. Ray John is a recognized expert on the Spanish colonial arts, traditions, heritage, and folklore.

The 19 x 25 signed posters sell for $50 each; the books are available at prices ranging from $16.95 to $24.95. The books (listed below) are a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

• Images of America: Lincoln – Arcadia Publishing, $21.99
• The Legend of La Llorona – Sunstone Press, (Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $16.95
• Recollection of the life of the Priest, Don Antonio Jose Martinez, by Pedro Sanchez, (Original Spanish text translated by Ray John de Aragon – Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $16.95
• New Mexico in the Mexican-American War – The History Press, $21.99• The Penitentes of Hew Mexico, Hermanos de la Luz/Brothers of the Light – Sunstone Press, (Illustration by Rosa Maria Calles)$24.95
• Hermanos de la Luz – Brothers of the Light, Heartsfire Books, (Illustration, Ray John de Aragon)$16.95
• Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy, Sunstone Press, (Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $18.95

To purchase any of these items, contact, or contact the Las Vegas Arts Council, Gallery 140 (140 Bridge Street), Las Vegas, N.M.

Read more on the two artists who are donating their work to support Las Vegas Literary Salon and the Las Vegas Arts Council.

From PeoplePill: “Rosa Maria Calles, artistic director for Matraka Inc. wrote and produced the thrilling play Cuento de La Llorona…The play … attracted rave reviews from critics throughout New Mexico…the story is told in the form of a spectacular stage play with music, song, dialogue, and dance that captures the very essence of Spanish Colonial traditions, heritage, culture, and history in the Southwest.” From Latinos In the Industry, October 2004, a publication of the “National Association of Latino Independent Producers.” Read more of Calles’ bio at this link

From PeoplePill: “Ray John de Aragón was born in Las Vegas, N.M. It is generally agreed that the most significant biographical link between de Aragón and his work is this fact of his birth and growth to maturity in his native New Mexico. Here is the source of his knowledge and love of his Hispanic culture and traditions, his biological view of life, and many of his characters, whether true life heroes such as Padre Antonio Jose Martinez, who is the subject in many of his writings, or the legendary La Llorona, who is the wailing female ghost of Hispanic folklore.” (Jim Sagel, Ray John de Aragón in Profile) Read more about de Aragon at this link

Our deepest appreciation to husband-and-wife creative team, Ray John and Rosa Maria.

Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Arts Council with Lit Salon in the memo line. Click here for more information about the Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize.


When someone who has never been here asks you about our community, what do you say? I tend to talk about the live music that bursts out seemingly at random, especially in the summer. One Friday night pre-covid, my husband and I walked by the Plaza Park and heard guitars, a keyboard, trumpet, and drums. We paused for a few minutes of dancing, and then walked down Bridge Street, where a small band played in the breezeway, part of an opening at Gallery 140. Across the street at Borracho’s, we heard another band playing. And when we walked across the bridge and another block up the hill to Burris Hall, a guitar player sang and played softly at another gallery opening.

Or maybe you talk about the architecture, and the fact that we have over 900 houses and other buildings on the National Historic Register. Amazing. And talk about the architecture naturally leads to discussion of the history of the area. And that might lead to mention of the Fiesta in early July, when vendors circle the park and flow down both sides of Bridge Street, while in the park itself, families sit and talk to friends they only see at Fiesta, when everyone comes in from the ranches and they catch up on everyone’s news, and they watch flamenco dancers perform and listen to live music for days.

And that’s another thing, we have so many local artists who show their work not only at the galleries, but at Borracho’s, Travelers, and The Skillet (owned and run by two artists who have MFAs in sculpture and painting – I think all of the art in there is their own.)

If you are talking to someone who has a motorcycle, they might have questions about the motorcycle rally in late July, when hundreds of bikers, many headed for Sturgis, stop for a couple of days in Las Vegas for bike-related events or just to see old friends.

That’s another wonderful thing about our town. People are genuinely friendly, and will stop and pass the time of day. I once talked to a man in a gallery who told me he was in a hurry, and just needed to turn in a form, then proceeded to spend another 45 minutes talking to me and to everyone else who came through the door. He looked far more relaxed when he left.

There is a dark side. Every community in every state confronts problems. Maybe that’s where your mind goes.

But whatever you say, or think, how about expressing yourself in the pages of Tapestry, the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s upcoming offering of writings from present and former residents of northeastern New Mexico. From one of the other small villages or towns or ranches in the area? That’s great. We want to hear about your home, too. Have a great story about what happened when someone crashed Christmas dinner? Tell it as a short story. And don’t worry, as long as you change the name, people never recognize themselves in fiction.

The Literary Salon is now accepting submissions of short stories, essays, and poetry for Tapestry. Check the guidelines on this website.