New Mexico Art League
                  Art School ∙ Gallery 



Board of Directors


Cynthia graduated with a degree in Fine Arts, Texas Tech University. After a dozen years in New York, Cynthia returned to New Mexico to pursue the medium of sculpture. This developed into major public and private commissioned projects with her partner and husband, Mark, such as the award-winning Senator Dennis Chavez Memorial at Civic Plaza and Lion’s Share at the Albuquerque International Airport. Cynthia turned to painting in 2001 and has enjoyed the tutelage of Wilson Hurley and David Leffel. Influenced by these and other historical masters, she has developed her own style and metaphor. She has been invited to several competitions and exhibitions, including several gallery venues in Santa Fe, the Albuquerque Museum Miniatures Show and was Featured Artist for the New Mexico Symphony Benefit. She was also the NM State Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.

MJ MANFORD, Vice President

Born and raised in South Texas, MJ received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Texas. She spent a number of years in Austin working in and around state government and painting in every spare minute. Her artwork can be seen in the Texas State Senate and the Office of the Texas Secretary of State. She studied with artists Leo Neufeld, Daniel Greene, Nelson Shanks, Bettina Steinke and Jeffery Watts, among others. She now lives in Los Ranchos, New Mexico with her husband, Gary Pat.

KATE FRY,  Secretary

Kate was born and raised in Albuquerque.  She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in technical theatre from the University of Texas at Austin, and after living for several years in Colorado, Texas, and New Jersey, she returned home to New Mexico in 1986. When Kate retired from a career in federal government contracting and program management she was finally able to devote time to taking art classes and learning to paint in oil, and has taken classes and workshops at Central New Mexico Community College, Harwood Art School, and the New Mexico Art League.  She has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and she is delighted to bring that experience to the New Mexico Art League and to be part of the Art Leagues’s continued growth.

DAN CONKLIN, Co-Treasurer

Dan grew up in Albuquerque, but career opportunities ultimately drew him to the “big city". He has been an inveterate doodler and drawer from an early age, and over time attempted to smooth the rough edges with studio courses in sculpture, ceramics and acrylic painting at Vanderbilt, UCLA and the Art Student’s League in NYC. After living and working in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, he returned to the Land of Green Chile and picked up his art studies in early 2012 with an acrylic workshop taught by Angus Macpherson. He amazed everyone with the fact that his paints from his UCLA days were still good. Later that year, he attended a demo at the New Mexico Art League given by “Local Treasure” J. Waid Griffin. Landscape in Oil courses with Waid soon followed. With momentum building, Dan became arguably the Art League’s best customer with further landscape classes taught by Tom Blazier and Jeff Otis. His focus broadened to portrait and the figure, which gave him the pleasure of paint and drawing under the guidance of Cynthia Rowland, MJ Manford, Shana   Levinson and Leo Neufeld.  He has been most inspired by Cynthia Rowland, though her deep and contagious love of art and superb instruction. Recognizing the need to keep honing the basic skills of making art, Dan has most recently benefitted from the lively and fundamentals-focused teaching of Vasili Katakis. His perspectives classes are not to be missed.


Brigid grew up in the Chicago area surrounded by art. Before she was school age, she accompanied her mother on the local art league's plein air outings and no family visit to Chicago was complete without a trip to the Art Institute. While she has always loved art, she had had no art instruction since she was a girl until she enrolled in a beginning drawing class at the New Mexico Art League in 2013. She has taken classes at the Art League ever since. Brigid has a background in corporate banking and has served on advisory committees for a charity and for an international school while living in Shanghai, China. She is a member of the Pastel Society of New Mexico and is excited to be involved with the Art League.


Casandra Encinias is a native New Mexican with who's been a part of the artist community in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and the East Mountains since the late 1970s.  From being a full time artist in Santa Fe in the 80s to taking classes in Albuquerque throughout the 2000's, Casandra has always come back to portraiture. After working in state government for 26 years Casandra retired in 2010 and now devotes her time fully to her art and also to her very active Australian sheepherder named Zulie. She lives with her husband John in Tijeras.  


Ming specializes in Chinese brush paint, western watercolor and splashed ink painting, which combines watercolor techniques with Chinese brush. She teaches workshops and conducts demonstrations at the New Mexico Art League, UNM Osher Life Long Learning Center and the New Mexico Watercolor Society as well as in her studio in Edgewood, New Mexico. Ming is the author of Splash Ink with Watercolor. Her work has been included in numerous publications in the US and Taiwan. She is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, and is a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Rio Grande Art Association, Sumi-e Society of America, Chinese American Art Development Foundation, and the American Society Association of Chinese Art.



Peggy began her art career in the Pacific Northwest where she studied with marine artist, Leon BeRoth.  Peggy now lives in New Mexico and focuses her attention full time on her art.  She states that the clear New Mexico light together with the mosaic of cultures and rich traditions of the southwest motivate her to convey its beauty to others through her paintings. Studying at The Art Masters Academy under Louis Maestes and later with Jan Keefer, Michelle Dunaway and Cynthia Rowland, and at workshops with many well-known artists, she now captures southwest landscapes, people, and still lifes in a representational style. She is also a member of the Rio Grande Art Association, Southwest Studio Artists, and the Manzano Mountain Art Council.  She also serves on a Selection Committee for the New Mexico Art in Public Places Program.

Art League Staff

BETHANY NELSON (BUFFY), Executive Director

Buffy's love of the arts has taken her in many directions throughout her career. Her background is comprised of a broad range of experience. She has worked in fine art print shops, museums and galleries; including Tamarind Institute and Landfall Press, curated exhibitions, as well as served as director for several art schools and community programs; including the Athenaeum School of the Arts in La Jolla, the Harwood Art Center and now the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque. She studied art and design in California and, after returning to New Mexico, she received a BFA in Painting and Art History from UNM. Believing in the profound effect of the process of making art, Buffy continued on to complete her MA in Art Education with emphasis in museum education, also from the University of New Mexico.

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday - Saturday  505-293-5034

3409 Juan Tabo Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111     Map It  

Mailing address: P.O. Box 16554, Albuquerque, NM 87191                              

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