Talking Stick Institute


TSI conducted the 1st Annual ARTS CONVENTION of Las Cruces & Mesilla Arts & Culture Scene - | Press Release for the ARTS CONVENTION | 1-page flyer for ARTS CONVENTION |Sun-News story Sep 5 08 on ARTS CONVENTION |More about 2008 ARTS CONVENTION task forces (Please attend Sept 8, 15, & 22 2008)

The following data bases provided as public service to Arts & Culture Scene of Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley

TSI PAGE - Arts & Culture Scene ; (NOTE: The Las Cruces Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau has an "ARTS SCENE" page with links and entries informed by our databases.)

City's Calendar of Events - Market your arts event or press Register events for the Las Cruces' City Calendar, then post to El Paso Art Scene, and the New Mexico Department of Tourism Calendar. Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene integrates the many calendars of events of arts & culture around Las Cruces. Talking Stick Institute invites one of the fabulous Arts organizaitons to begin to develop a comprehensive integrated callendar. Here is a sample:

  1. Monthly Events of Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene
  2. Annual Events of the Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene

How can local artists get those 1% commissions: See current List of Arts Commissions by NM Arts (where to sell your art)


According to the report "Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences:"

Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences.

This service is courtesy of

Talking Stick Institute


Hear STORYTELLLING by David Boje on Radio KSNM AM 570 7/24/08 The Morning Show with Alan Riehl / Loni Todoroki and David Boje with Storytellers of LC 8-9am

contact: to update information on this listing

Las Cruces New Mexico 575-532-1693 4700 Dunn Dr.

"We do storytelling consulting interventions for organizations"

Talking stick art "Hawk Listens" ©1992 provided by Virginia Maria Romero

See Talking Stick Inststitute Goals for developing the Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley Arts & Culture Scene

Arts forum explores visual, literary and performing arts By S. Derrickson Moore/Sun-News reporter Article Launched: 07/01/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT "Glenn Cutter, a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission, left, shows a pop-quiz Tuesday as David Boje, director of the Talking Stick Institute at New Mexico State University, questions the audience regarding the number of art service organizations that exist in Las Cruces during the 2008 Arts Forum at the Rio Grande Theatre. (Sun-News photo by Shari Vialpando)" Answer: As of Jun 30 08 there were 82.

Photo of Talking Stick in Action in Las Cruces Arts Scene 2007

Talking Stick Institute is a non-profit initiative of David Boje and David Tobey. This example is our pro bono service to the community of artists

The Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene brings together experience and expertise in economic development and marketing to market the City of Las Cruces as a place to buy art and enjoy performances. The Scene  will be inclusive of all the arts, including the painting/visual arts as well as literary, musical and performance arts. The aim is to be an ‘idea incubator’ that will help every arts organization.

MISSION: Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene is evolving to bring Arts Service Organizations & Galleries together with stakeholders (City + Education + Chambers of Commerce) to market City & Region as an Arts & Culture Destination. Our Mission is to lure art buyers to Las Cruces

VISION: Las Cruces Arts & Culture Scene is building a ½ billion-dollar arts industry, and becming one of the top 25 arts destinations in the US within five years.


  1. Copy of 1 page Flyer pdf (quick download)
  2. Copy of 4 Page Summary of Final Report - Word version - PDF version please note new dates of Task Force Meetings
  3. Copy of Entire FINALReport pdf (takes a few moments to download 79 pages) May 7 2008 - version online that incorporates City Council, Dean of Business College, & several arts organization leader's feedback; WORD version of 79 page FINAL REPORT on Arts & Culture Alliance proposal (takes longer time to download)
  4. Online Draft of Powerpoint Presentation -21 April 08 to City Council meeting
  5. Poem - The Enchanted Shadow - by Gerri E. McCulloh - for the Las Cruces Arts Scene 21 Apr 08

Talking Stick Institute Board members, Ruth Drayer, Virginia Maria Romero, and David Boje are now working together on the Las Cruces Arts & Culture Alliance proposal. Virginia Maria Romero asks that the process begun by the Arrowhead Center in 2007 continue. Local Artist Ruth Drayer asks that the process begun by the Small Business Consulting classes of the Business College continue.

New Mexico has a major arts scene, with 3 cities in the top 25 arts destinations in America according to American Style Magazine: Albuquerque is #7 in top 25 big cities; Santa Fe is #1 and Taos #5 in the Smallest 25 cities category. When Las Cruces is recognized by the State of New Mexico - Department of Cultural Affairs for the outstanding Arts Destination it has become, then Las Cruces has a good chance of making the list. All we have to do is show the world that we have more galleries, artist, and arts service organizations than Portsmouth (#25 on the Small Cities - under 100,000 in population. Portsmouth has 6 galleries - Las Cruces has 44 galleries and museums. There are differences: ART-SPEAK IS THE CITY OF PORTSMOUTH'S CULTURAL COMMISSION. Currently Las Cruces does not have an Arts & Culture Commission. We therefore propose the Arts Alliance.


            Talking Stick Story Circles are conversational encounters with a back-and-forth of story-telling and story-listening, noticing fragments of retrospective narrative and fashioning as well prospective antenarratives (bets of story transformative possibilities) that affect the whole, that change Flat Grand Narratives into something vibrant with future potentiality.


Talking Stick Circle Guidelines

  1. We sit in circles, not pyramids.
  2. The person with the Talking Stick is the designated story-talker.
  3. Pass the Talking Stick clockwise. Start with the person sitting in the East-most position, then go to the right. In Talking Stick going clockwise is an earth-process. Otherwise the magic is undone.
  4. Persons without the Talking Stick, please listen, write notes, and notice the story. Focus your listener attention on the storyteller with the Talking Stick. Let your mind recall stories as the teller tells stories.
  5. Try to limit interruptions. A person with the Talking Stick can pass it to someone for a clarification, question, or amplification on a point, then call the stick back to finish their story.
  6. There will be multiple rounds of Talking Stick Story Circles. Each time there is a question. At the end of a round of story-sharing, story-noticing (story-listening), a spokes-person repeats the main themes, issues, resolutions, proposals that came up.  So be sure to take notes. 
  7. The output of Talking Stick Circle is ideas, proposals, and stories of a vitalized community. Designate people to listen, to observe, and to provide a report out of the collective story that is emerging in the Circle.
  8. The point is to create a collective story, one that is faithful to everyone's living stories, to unify in community.

ABOUT The Talking Stick

Talking Stick is our symbol for the importance of listening to one another. Ours is decorated to show our respect of Native American spirituality, and a respect for telling and listening. The person telling holds the Talking Stick. Is someone wants to respond, the teller passes the stick. Sometimes Answering Feathers are used by participants to indicate they want to respond to the storyteller.

Our Small Business Institute is called the "Talking Stick." We see our consulting as facilitating the storytelling and story listening among stakeholders in an organization. My friend and colleague Kaylynn TwoTrees gave me more information about Talking Stick.

"The Circle is form for discourse and sharing because it gathers the people around sacred energy (the elements or intention) and acknowledges The Circle of Life and the Living. Each person comes to the circle to listen and witness - the talking is meant to be listening out loud. It is the way that we express our deeper listening and reminds us to listen for the voices that could not be present. The talking stick/rock/pouch is not a microphone to be passed around but rather a reminder to each person who speaks of the fact that humans are not the only presence in the circle. We are in the circle with the stone people and the tree nation and so on. Each person speaking who holds the stick/pouch/stone is called to listen to their own hearts and listen for the voices of all our relations ( all life on the planet). So the conversation that reveals itself in the talking circle is accretive, a growing chorus of the voices of the people, the landscape, and the Mystery" (Kaylynn TwoTrees, Website:


David M. Boje, Ph.D. 575-532-1693 Vita & storytelling articles and books at

Ruth Drayer (April 25, 2008) (founding member, moved to Albuquerque, October 2008).

MartinaMartina H. Myers, Ph.D. (August 17, 2010)
Intercultural Communication, UNM, 2009
Topic: Institutional Ethnography: How Tenured Academic Women Talk about Success
Contingent Faculty, NMSU 2006-2010
Communication, Business Management, Women's Studies, Sociology, School of Social Work
Hired as National Senior Program Officer by National AAUP May 2010, based in New Mexico

Virginia Maria Romero (April 25, 2008) cell: 575 644-0214

David H. Tobey cell 540-860-9172 Ph.D. Management Department, June 2010.

Sample Brochures for those wishing to be part of Talking Stick

News Article about Talking Stick Institute work:

  1. Sep 5 2008 - Sun-News story on ARTS CONVENTION
  2. April 30 2008 - NMSU plans to put Las Cruces art on the map (6:18 a.m.) Sun-News report
    Article Launched: 04/29/2008 06:18:31 AM MDT

    LAS CRUCES — Faculty and students from the New Mexico State University College of Business are working with the City of Las Cruces and local artists to let the world know about the Las Cruces arts scene. They believe the community is missing out on what could become a major enterprise and the revenue that a vibrant art scene would generate.

    "Arts and culture is a major employment source for the State of New Mexico," said David Boje, management professor at NMSU. "Right now, Las Cruces is under the shadow of Santa Fe and Taos. Las Cruces should have that same potential." See entire article

  3. April 29 2008 NMSU Plans to Put Las Cruces Art on the Map. Press Release by Jusin Bannister, NMSU
  4. April 24 2008 Sun News arts reporter S. Derrickson Moore's Blog "An ad-hoc group of artists, bolstered by an extensive research package prepared by New Mexico State University business management and economics professor David M. Boje and MBA student Rafaela Moschali, have proposed creation of the Las Cruces Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission [now called the ARts & Cutlre Alliance], composed of regional arts organizations, galleries and museums, city, county and state governmental offices, the Mayor’s Office, the Las Cruces Visitor’s Bureau and Convention Center, area chambers of commerce, New Mexico State University, businesses and other community groups.Boje stressed that other, smaller communities with fewer cultural attractions and resources have managed to establish themselves as arts meccas through cultural marketing strategies."... [Mayor ]"Miyagishima said he was impressed with Boje’s research and ideas.
    “A cultural advisory commission [Alliance] has been among items on my ‘to do’ list and this fits the bill. I hope they will be able to get the arts organizations together, form committees of manageable size and come to the council with specifc proposals in the form of resolutions,” Miyagishima said.
  5. April 18 2008 City to consider art commission NMSU professor to propose networking organization by Joel CourtneyThe Las Cruces Bulletin p. C4 Arts & Lifestyles Section
  6. Campus organization breathes life into LC art scene - By: Christina Brigance11/12/07 Section:Arts and Entertainment, Round-Up, Vol ,109 (issue 24): p. 11
  7. The Las Cruces Bulletin - "NMSU Teams with Locals to Improves Art Scene: Talking Stick Institute works to bolster the 'business of art.' Article by Jessica Rodrigo, Friday, Novmber 30, 2007. p. C8.


[1]On May 9, 2007, NMSU's Justin Bannister issued a press release, "The Business of Art, NMSU Students Help to Make Art Profitable". The article is about the NMSU College of Business Arrowhead Center - First Time Working with an Artist to Combine Art and Business. The same article was also picked up by the Sun News and ran in the SunLife section Friday, MAY 11, 2007Pg. 3C.

[2]Campus organization breathes life into LC art scene - By: Christina Brigance11/12/07 Section: Arts and Entertainment, Round-Up, Vol. 109 (issue 24): p. 11 AND a second article in The Las Cruces Bulletin - "NMSU Teams with Locals to Improves Art Scene: Talking Stick Institute works to bolster the 'business of art.' Article by Jessica Rodrigo, Friday, November 30, 2007. p. C8.  Article online at

[3]Talking Stick Institute is a non-profit organization, led by David Boje and David Tobey. They provided free services to the city’s arts community. gives the Talking Stick meeting guidelines and has copy of this report available to the public for comment.

[4] The Las Cruces Bulletin - "NMSU Teams with Locals to Improves Art Scene: Talking Stick Institute works to bolster the 'business of art.' Article by Jessica Rodrigo, Friday, November 30, 2007. p. C8

For more on STORYTELLING ORGANIZATION research and practice - see

Read More about the Arts & Culture Scene ideas