New Mexico Highlands University has a long history with the visual arts. Our first president, Dr. Edgar Lee Hewitt, encouraged New Mexico artists to come to Las Vegas by offering them studio space on campus. One of those artists, Sheldon Parsons, gifted Dr. Hewitt with Taos Cattle Hacienca large oil painting that hangs in the President’s office to this day, and was saved by firemen during the 1922 Springer Hall fire.

The Chosen, Mark Anderson


The Highlands’ campus is graced with a number of WPA projects, from the large “The Evolution of Education” mural by Lloyd Moylan found in Rodgers Hall to a set of eight smaller murals in the lobby of Ilfeld Auditorium, painted in 1938 by Santa Fe artist Brooks Willis.

In the 1950s and 60s the Highlands Art Department experienced a renaissance of creativity under the leadership of legendary Highlands University art professors Elmer Schooley, Ray Drew, Harry Leippe, and Paul Volckening. Their contributions to Highlands and the arts are detailed in A Fine Frenzy, by Elizabeth Orem.

Today the arts tradition at Highlands is going strong. From our foundry’s connection with the world-renowned Iron Tribe to our print making program, the digital arts and modern designs, Highlands students, faculty and staff continue to make a home for the arts in Northern New Mexico.

There are three galleries on campus:

Ray Drew Gallery

Burris Hall Gallery;

Kennedy Hall, which also houses the Dr. Robert Bell Collection as well as seasonal exhibitions, and the Dr. George Talbot Print Study Room.

Click through to explore current and past shows in each gallery. We hope to see you on campus in the future!