Contact:            Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell

                        Patty Nicholas, 272-3690 office

Sunshine and artistic radiance greet patients and families who visit the UNM Children's Hospital thanks to an art piece created by a small Northern New Mexico community.

Caballo Brillante, (Radiant, Shining Horse) a life-size glass-mosaic horse, was formally dedicated to the UNM Children's Hospital April 1. Children from Velarde Elementary School helped celebrate by performing "El Jarabe Tapatio," the Mexican hat dance.

The horse is part of the Trail of Painted Ponies, a project organized by Horsepower New Mexico as a vehicle for raising funds for non-profit organizations. Roger Montoya, the artist of Caballo Brillante, received the bare body life-size pony in January 2001 and immediately began collecting glass for his mosaic theme.

Generous donations from the community allowed the Painted Pony to be gifted to the UNM Children's Hospital. Caballo Brillante will remain at the UNM Children's Hospital to brighten the lives of pediatric patients. The pony will be on display on the 4th Floor until the new West Wing of the hospital is complete. The pony then will be moved to the glass atrium roof where it will rotate on its solar-powered base.

Montoya, the pony's artist and director of the art program at Velarde Elementary School, decided the public setting of the Children's Hospital would inspire other children.

"The true beauty of Caballo Brillante is that a small, rural community created an art piece to honor and inspire pediatric patients at UNM Children's Hospital," Montoya said.

"We are very pleased with this beautiful addition," said Dr. Robert Katz, Chair of UNM Children's Hospital. "I think it will inspire our patients and show the people throughout New Mexico that we are truly concerned with their health and well-being."

Caballo Brillante is the work of 40 Velarde, NM, community members, ranging in age from five to 95 years old. The project, completed in six months, contains more than 65,000 pieces of broken glass. After the glass was carefully washed and meticulously painted it was applied to the fiberglass surface to create a colorful mosaic.

"Once the pony began to sparkle, the name became obvious," Montoya said. "Caballo Brillante fits perfectly because the pony is a beacon of light, color and expression. I feel the art piece will inspire children of all ages, whether they are ill or healthy."

A limited number of Caballo Brillante miniatures signed by the artist will be available for sale for $35 at the event. The proceeds from the signed ponies will benefit the Arts in the Schools program in the Espanola School District. Unsigned miniatures also are available in the hospital gift shop for $20. All proceeds from the unsigned ponies will directly benefit UNM Children's Hospital.

UNM Children's Hospital of New Mexico, located within UNM Hospital, provides the most advanced neonatology and pediatric care available in New Mexico. Our care ranges from Ambulatory care outpatient clinics to inpatient units providing the highest level of intensive care hospitalization. Each year UNM Children's Hospital of New Mexico cares for nearly 40,000 children, more than 50 percent of whom live outside of the Albuquerque area.