Guadalupe prayer card found in the Desert
Guadalupe Prayer Card found in the Sonoran Desert, 2007
The People, the Culture,the Land

“Don’t believe the Hype,” Dan Mills Borderlands Program Manager for the Sierra Club so succinctly puts it. Our beloved borderlands continue to be trashed by outdated militaristic sensibilities that only know how to use and abuse. How we treat each other mirrors how we treat our land and all the creatures that inhabit it. We protect, we nourish and we save what we value.

This blog celebrates the beauty and grace of our southern border, the culturally rich, big sky country we are fortunate to call home.  Blog posts illuminate arts and culture, faith and people, and local efforts to preserve the intelligent biological connectivity of the borderlands.  Not unlike casting wildflower seeds, the better news is on the wind.

Art & Letters

Select Huffington Post clips: Spiritual Activism on the Border & Wise Imagination: Mischief and Mirth at the Wall.  The Essay: The Migrant Quilt: restitching the fabric of community published in KosmosJournal.orgOpenDemocracy.Net, and licensed under Creative Commons. Published in the Society of Southwestern Authors Storyteller, She Magazine, The Hummingbird Review, Patheos.com, and Science of Mind. Pre-millennium – Arts Editor & Features for the Mendocino Outlook & The Bay Area Reporter: 7 Northern California counties.


After a decade-plus, collaborative Fiber Arts Memorial sculptures, installations, and altars, devotional arts activism e.g. Bordandos por la Paz y Memoria: Bordados for Peace and Memory  meets the tenor of the times.

Back Matter

In the U.S., collaborative Las Madres Sculptural Migrant memorials are found at Tucson’s Pima Community College & Southside Presbyterian Church.

The Border Art Installation: Hardship and Hope: Crossing the U.S./MX Border (2010 – ) can be found housed in permanent collections at The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden.  In 2016, long-time collaborator sculptor Antonia Gallegos and I donated all art and artifacts to the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. Part of the collection is currently on loan:  to Filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s worldwide immersive VR Installation 

Media: The Wall Street Journal, Utne Magazine, Univision, Tucson.com, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Tucson Weekly, NPR’s Latino USA,  Sculptural Pursuit, Fiber Arts Magazine, and Patheos. Com.


Benedictine Oblate (7 years) with The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who recently returned to the Motherhouse in Clyde, Missouri after 75+ years at their Monastery in Tucson, Arizona.

*I began this blog a decade ago as www.AZartsandletters.blogspot.com, stopped to make lots of Art but never stopped documenting my days in the Arizona borderlands. As a former art therapist, I want to dedicate this blog to Freddy, a wayfarer – Oaxaca to Arizona – who discovered along the way that he was an artist.

© 2017 Valarie Lee James

4 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Valarie…I am a member of Voices From The Border and helped organize the Mothers Across Borders event. I just recently saw your blog (and post from the MAB event), wonderful, poignant writing. May I get your mailing address so I can send you something? You can reply to my email at indiann1111@hotmail.com. Thank you! India Aubry


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