The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

MainStreet director enthusiastic for future


March 25, 2020

Betty Williamson

Crystal Pritchett is the executive director of the Portales MainStreet program and founder of the Portales Creative Group.

If you need a bracing dose of good cheer or a stiff shot of feel better, this is a fine time to check in with Crystal Pritchett.

The new executive director of Portales MainStreet and founder of the Portales Creative Group may be the antidote we all need right now.

"My ultimate goal is to inspire people to be creative," Pritchett said. "That is it."

Pritchett has had less than a month to settle into her new office high above the Yam Theatre. The MainStreet headquarters are appropriately located there - at 219 Main Street - in a spacious room decorated with posters from past events.

Never mind that she had to reschedule her first planned event - an evening of big band music called "Tuxedos and Tattoos" that has been moved from April 4 to April 25. Pritchett is brimming with enthusiasm for the future.

"I am still making plans for our community events," she said. "We will all be happy to get out and celebrate our freedom soon."

As an abstract artist herself, she said she's been "creating artwork nearly every day" during the past few weeks and encourages us to follow suit.

"Creativity is very important right now," Pritchett said. "Creating anything ... art, food, crafts ... opens up a part of us that is easily pushed out by the stress of life. Creativity lifts stress and gives us the satisfaction of accomplishment."

A 1978 graduate of Moriarty High School, the dynamic Pritchett moved to Portales as a 17-year-old to attend Eastern New Mexico University. She's happily anchored here with children, grandchildren, and satisfying work.

"I love, love, love Portales," she said. "I chose Portales. It didn't choose me."

She started the Portales Creative Group almost two years ago, a monthly informal gathering she hosts at her home to allow creative types to come together for conversation, "heavy snacks," support, and to find out what is going on in the community.

"We focus on 'creative,'" she said. "There are all different kinds of art ... digital art, quilting, photography, jewelry-making, sculpture, dance, costuming, clay."

Pritchett and the Portales Creative Group hosted their first Fifth Friday art show last March at the Yam, she said, with 45 local artists and a crowd that numbered 400.

"There is a huge hunger for this in our community," she said. "We see it by the artists and by the people who come look."

Since then Pritchett has hosted four more Fifth Fridays and a community art walk that included many local businesses and the Eastern New Mexico University art department - events that dovetail perfectly into her new position.

"I've already been doing the events portion of this job," she said with a smile. "I feel like I am getting paid to do what I was already doing."

Even as our calendars are up in the air, Pritchett is optimistically planning for a busy year with MainStreet and the Portales Creative Group.

She has five events already on tap: three Fifth Fridays, Tuxedos and Tattoos on April 25, and Fun on the Square (a downtown Portales celebration with vendors, a car show, a cornhole tournament, and more) scheduled for May 2.

The Portales Creative Group artists are busy creating pieces to be featured during May and June at the Runnels Gallery in ENMU's Golden Student Success Center, Pritchett said.

Pritchett is also planning a "couple of mural projects" for Portales, so dust off your paintbrushes and sew yourself a beret.

"The community will be doing it," she said. "I want as many people painting on it as possible."

In the meantime, Pritchett hopes we will use this unexpected gift of time away from our usual routines to tap into our own imaginations and talents, if for no other reason than this:

"Creativity burns up apathy," she said. "Everybody is creative somehow. When they are, that is when they feel alive."

Pritchett would love to connect with anyone who is interested in getting involved or learning more. Reach her at 575-218-9166 or on Facebook at Portales MainStreet Program and Portales Creative Group.

Betty Williamson is grateful to all who are working hard to keep our spirits high. Reach her at:

[email protected]


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