Carrizozo is located at the intersection of NM-54 and NM-380. The name of the town is derived from the Spanish vernacular for reed grass (carrizo), which grew significantly in the area and provided excellent feed for ranch cattle. The additional 'zo' at the end of the town name was added to indicate abundance of Carrizo grass. Once a ranching and railroad town, the population declined with the rise of the automobile, and the present population is around 938.
However, an effort is under way to revitalize the town, bring in new ideas and new opportunities, and grow the population to a self-sustaining level by appealing to potential residents like artists and retirees — and to do it all while preserving the town’s historic character. Carrizzo is known as the town of burros and indeed, sculpted and painted 21 burros of every description are scattered at various locations along 12th Street. The program is known as The Burro Serenade.
The Burro Serenade is the creative brainchild of Gallery 408 owners Joan and Warren Malkerson. The Malkersons’ love of art and animals plus their desire to help promote Carrizozo as an art community has blossomed into one of the Gallery’s premier events and is fast becoming one of the best known and most popular public art projects in Southern New Mexico.