Lee Gruber has been a major force in her community by initiating ideas and following through to reach goals that promote contemporary visual art, foster an understanding of the history of New Mexico cultural arts, and nurture an environment that economically supports the business of art. Gruber founded the Silver City tile business Syzygy with her husband, David del Junco, over 25 years ago. Though she recently retired, Syzygy continues to make architectural ceramics. The company’s many actions as part of their community include donating an estimated $50,000 of materials over 20 years to local organizations and projects.
As board president of Southwest New Mexico Arts Culture and Tourism, Gruber led the establishment of the Silver City Arts & Culture District. She also initiated the Silver City Clay Festival and the Southwest New Mexico Clay Arts Trail. The Clay Festival has evolved into a national event of exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations. The Clay Trail began in 2013 and now includes over 60 member sites in Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, and Catron counties. It also partners with historic sites related to clay such as the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the Mimbres Cultural Center.