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Honored by State

Artists and Arts Contributors Named
for 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards




On June 9, Gov. Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Arts Commission announced seven artists and art supporters who will be recipients of the 2015 Annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

Southern New Mexico is home to four of the seven awardees and a fifth was a longtime resident of Las Cruces now living in Albuquerque.

“Artists are a cornerstone of New Mexico’s economy,” Martinez said. “That’s why each year we honor those who exemplify the diverse and vibrant talent in our state, and the dedicated supporters of the arts, who continue to make this a thriving industry. Art is deeply woven into the very fabric of New Mexico.”

• Dr. William Clark was director of bands at New Mexico State University from 1985 to 1994 and then headed the NMSU Music Department where he is credited with doubling the number of music majors to more than 200 during his 11 years. Clark founded the Mesilla Valley Concert Band in 1986 and has served as conductor and music director for the past 30 years, during which some 220 free concerts have been presented by the 100-piece professional adult concert band for about 150,000 residents of central and southern New Mexico.

In 1990, Clark founded the Las Cruces All-City Middle School Honor Band, which is selected by audition and presents a concert each year in February. In 1994, he founded the Las Cruces New Horizons program for seniors who desire to resume or begin playing instruments or singing after retirement. Clark maintains an active private studio and is a freelance tuba player.

• Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer have devoted some three decades to the historical art form of pinhole photography. They established Pinhole Resource, Inc. in 1984 to provide resources, advice and information for photographers around the world. In addition to a journal and website, they have authored many books that are used as resource texts by artists and students around the world.

“Nancy and Eric’s devotion to Pinhole art, their dedication to providing various rich resources to others interested in the topic, and their efforts to educate the public about the art form have helped to raise awareness of Pinhole photography in New Mexico while enriching artists, students and their New Mexico community for decades,” said nominator Faye McCalmont, the long-time executive director of Mimbres Region Arts Council in Silver City, which received a Governor’s Arts Award in 2013.

Renner and Spencer donated their Pinhole collection of more than 6,000 photographs, cameras and books to the New Mexico History Museum in 2012. In April 2014, the History Museum opened “Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography,” which has been one of the museum’s most popular exhibitions, with an extended run through January 10, 2016.

“The New Mexico History Museum’s presentation of “Poetics of Light,” based on the Pinhole Resource Collection is an in-depth, eye-opening survey of contemporary pinhole photography, the largest exhibition of its kind ever assembled,” said Daniel Kosharek, Photo Curator at the History Museum.

• Artist Catalina Delgado-Trunk of Albuquerque, long-time former Las Cruces resident, has pushed the boundaries of traditional papel picado (cut paper) to a high art form. Much of her work is composed of complex panels that narrate Nahua mythology and explore contemporary themes.

The roots of Mexican paper cutting reach back into pre-Hispanic times when obsidian knives were used to cut figures out of bark paper. In its modern form, tissue paper is used to form flags, typically displayed on a string, for decorating Day of the Dead altars.

“As an immigrant living between two worlds, my language of art serves me well to bring down walls of misunderstanding as well as to build bridges of communication and comprehension between cultures,” Delgado-Trunk said. “It is a metaphor for life because it is both fleeting and traditional.”

Born in Mexico City in 1945, Delgado-Trunk grew up in the Coyoacán district with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as neighbors and family friends. Delgado-Trunk and her family relocated to New Mexico in 2000, where she has worked closely with the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Museum of International Folk Art, giving workshops and talks.

She has worked with the Teachers of English as a Second Language Association using Day of the Dead as a teaching tool. She collaborated with the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, Youth Media Project and ¡Youthworks! on a project in which Santa Fe area youth created audio pieces on themes of immigration and belonging.

• Vincent N. Figliola, 79, of Las Cruces, has dedicated his life and art to expressing the dignity of the human struggle and the narrative of the land and its people. Figliola and his wife, Barbara moved to Las Cruces from Manhattan nearly 30 years ago, leaving behind the world of advertising where he was an award-winning creative art director. On Figliola’s 50th birthday, after driving cross-country, he chose to settle in New Mexico’s desert and mountain landscapes to “see if I could become a serious painter.”

Gary Biel of Las Cruces said he once asked Figliola why New Mexico. “He looked out his sunroom and pointed to the rock spires of the Organ Mountains and said, ‘Look.”

• Hailing from a family of celebrated Cochiti Pueblo artists, Virgil Ortiz said it never crossed his mind to be anything other than an artist. “Art is in my blood,” said Ortiz, 46, the youngest of six children, who grew up in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery were part of his everyday life. “I have something very important to do before I go. I want to preserve my culture and inspire our youth to accomplish whatever it is they dream to be.” His grandmother Laurencita Herrera and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Pueblo potters. “Having known Virgil Ortiz for over a decade, I have seen him grow into one of the most significant artists in New Mexico,” said nominator Garth Clark, Editor-in-Chief of CFile Foundation and one of the most renowned authorities in the world on ceramic arts.

• “Irvin Trujillo is a seventh generation master weaver who has taken Rio Grande weaving to new heights of mastery and innovation in a career spanning 50 years,” said nominator Michael Pettit, a writer and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. “Every weaving pays homage to a profound tradition in his family, community, culture, and state; at the same time they assure traditions will find new vitality going forward,” Pettit said. Trujillo has mastered traditional dyeing and weaving methods, and then brought innovations to those techniques and tools. “All of which he has shared freely with his peers and the public,” Pettit said.

• Edgar Foster Daniels, 83, is an accomplished actor, singer, and major patron of the arts. “Edgar has dedicated his life to the arts,” said nominator Charles MacKay, the general director of the Santa Fe Opera. “I can think of no one more deserving of the honor (Governor’s Arts Award).” Daniels spent the first 30 years of his professional career acting on the Broadway stage, as well as in Hollywood films and on television.

The Arts Awards ceremonies will be held Sept.18, at 5:15 p.m. at the St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.

The ceremony is preceded by an afternoon reception and exhibition opening, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., in the Governor’s Gallery at the State Capitol. Both the awards ceremony and gallery reception are free and open to the public.

 





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