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Sculpture, saddles, and santero: Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts recipients represent diverse backgrounds, mediums

October 27th, 2022

Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) and New Mexico Arts (NMA) are proud to recognize a diverse group of worthy individuals for the 2022 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. 

The Awards, now in their 48th year, were created to celebrate the extensive role that artists and their work have played in New Mexico. This year’s recipients represent the extraordinary diversity of New Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. Recipients range from artists working traditional and contemporary forms, to an architect dedicated to preserving historic design perspectives, to arts supporters who ensure their communities have the places and spaces creative individuals need to thrive. 

“New Mexico is proud to be the home of incredibly talented artists that bring our state’s unique culture to the rest of world,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “This year’s recipients are consummate professionals in their respective media, and I congratulate them on joining the ranks of this esteemed group.” 

The 2022 Awards recipients are:  

Julia M. Barello of Las Cruces, a nationally and internationally recognized visual artist, as well as past Academic Department Head and Regents Professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU) where she oversaw the design of Devasthali Hall, the new home of NMSU’s Department of Art and University Art Museum. 

Eva Enciñias of Bernalillo, who has devoted her life to building a home for flamenco in the United States as the founding director of the National Institute of Flamenco, where she directs programming and teaches flamenco dance classes.  

Arthur López of Santa Fe, a contemporary wood santero sculptor whose work pushes the boundaries of traditional santero art. He has been exhibited internationally, including at KOHI-Kulturraum in Karlsruhe, Germany, and LAProjects in Landshut, Germany. 

Beverley Spears of Santa Fe, a practicing architect with a focus on regional contemporary design. Her award-winning firm specializes in sustainable commercial and residential design, urban design, and historic preservation.  

Tom and Bev Taylor of Farmington, arts supporters who have committed their lives to making space and building communities for artists in Farmington, including renovation of the historic Lumber and Hardware building into a vibrant arts center as well as making several donations to buildings around Farmington. 

Rosemary Wilkie of Carlsbad, a saddle maker of 20 years who started her work through the NMA Folk Arts Apprenticeship program, and who is determined to guide future generations of saddle makers and help keep the great arts of the past alive. 

Karen Yank of Golden, a celebrated sculptor and public artist whose rigorous geometric style has been influenced by Alexander Calder and her mentor Agnes Martin. 

Angie Yazzie of Taos Pueblo, an award-winning micaceous clay potter taught by her mother and grandmother, has work featured in the permanent collections of Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and others.  

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts are presented by the New Mexico Arts Commission (NMAC) and NMA, the state arts agency and a division of NMDCA. This year’s Awards were made possible in part by contributions from Thornburg Investments and the Chihuly Foundation. The recipients are recommended via a public nomination process before being reviewed by a selection committee of NMAC Commissioners and NMA staff. A noteworthy group of organizations, painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storytellers, poets, actors, playwrights, and potters have been honored by the Awards with past awardees including Tony Abeyta, Dr. Ramarkrishna and Ammu Devasthali, Gustavo Victor Goler, Lee Gruber, Tony Hillerman, Lucy Lippard, George R.R. Martin, Maria Martinez, Meow Wolf, Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Redford, Irvin Trujillo, Jodi Naranjo, and Kathleen Wall. 

 

More about the 2022 Awards recipients 

Julia M. Barello (Las Cruces) 

Julia Barello served as Academic Department Head and Regents Professor of Art in the New Mexico State University Department for the last 11 years and oversaw the design and move into the Devasthali Hall She recently retired but remains a practicing artist. She creates multi-layered, large-scale wall installations, which are made of recycled medical imaging film translated into intricately cut, semi-transparent shapes. Barello’s work has been exhibited internationally at the Kaohsiung Museum in Taiwan, Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy, and others, as well as in numerous national venues. Her work has also been collected by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and is on permanent display at institutions including Boston Children’s Hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. in California.  

Eva Enciñias (Bernalillo) 

Eva Enciñias has devoted her life to building a home for flamenco in the United States and for introducing Spain (the birthplace of flamenco) and the larger world to the incredible flamenco created in New Mexico. As a dancer and instructor Enciñias’ tenacity has rippled throughout generations. Enciñias founded the National Institute of Flamenco in 1982, creating varied flamenco programs, including Festival Flamenco Alburquerque, a world-class flamenco festival that has been awarded distinction from Spain as one of the premier flamenco festivals in the world. Throughout her career, Enciñias has touched thousands of lives through her generous sharing of flamenco. Her work has been recognized with many awards, including an induction into El Orden de Isabel la Católica, an honor bestowed upon her by the King of Spain, Felipe VI. She continues to teach flamenco dance classes, teaching the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the children she taught in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Arthur López (Santa Fe) 

Arthur López was born and raised in Santa Fe and is proud to be working in the long tradition of New Mexico santero artists. A key desire of his is to transcend the bounds of the traditional santero art and use his art as a medium for expressing the full range of his culture and the world around him. He is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Traditional Arts and in 2017 he received The Folk Art Society of America’s Award of Distinction for giving the santero tradition a contemporary style and being a leader in design and meaning. In 2015 he was awarded the City of Santa Fe’s Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. His work has been exhibited internationally at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art at the 2nd International Triennial of Kogei, when the theme was “The Arts Grounded in Region,” as well as a part of “Song of the West” at KOHI-Kulturraum in Karlsruhe, Germany and “The Saints From a Land So Remote” from LAProjects in Landshut, Germany. 

Beverley Spears (Santa Fe) 

Beverley Spears, FAIA is a practicing architect with a focus on regional contemporary design, and a longtime resident of Santa Fe. Her award-winning firm specializes in a sustainable commercial and residential design, urban design, and historic preservation. Her abiding interest in preservation and celebration of historic elements in our built environment has resulted in two published volumes: American Adobes (UNM Press, 1987) explores vernacular architecture throughout Northern New Mexico and Early Churches of Mexico: An Architect’s View (UNM Press, 2017) presents a refreshing new look at the sixteenth century church complexes built in central Mexico. In 2002, Spears was elevated to the national College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and in 2003, the Old Santa Fe Association honored her “for her contributions to the character and traditions of Santa Fe.” Spears Horn Architects, her architecture firm, has received numerous design awards from the city of Santa Fe, the state of New Mexico, and the American Institute of Architects. 

Tom and Bev Taylor (Farmington)  

Community creativity and public service are integral to Tom and Bev’s lives. They studied art, art history, and architecture at University of New Mexico, and designed and built their own home. After that, they were determined to find ways to support the arts communities and organizations in Farmington they were a part of. Their renovation of the historic Lumber and Hardware building into a vibrant art center was a key aspect of that effort. Other projects include the donation of the hand carved doors for the children’s reading room at the Farmington Public Library and the renovation of the historic Totah Theater. 

Rosemary Wilkie (Carlsbad)   

Rosemary Wilkie is proud to be the first of three generations of women saddle makers, followed by her daughter-in-law and granddaughters. Wilkie got her start when her 5-year-old son had an ornery pony and a saddle in need of repairs; she used whatever materials were available, even the top of an old boot. When she purchased a sewing machine, an unmade saddle, and other tools from a former saddle maker, he explained what the tools were and how to use them. Through the Folk Arts Apprenticeship program, a program conducted by the state arts agency NMA, Wilkie started as an apprentice and worked her way up to becoming a mentor, determined to guide future generations of saddle makers and help keep the great arts of the past alive.  

Karen Yank (Golden) 

Karen Yank has established herself as one of the most collectible sculptors in the U.S. She has been commissioned to complete some of the largest public sculptural works in the Southwest, and her sculpture has been exhibited in numerous museums. Yank received her MFA degree from Rutgers University and her BFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Yank’s mentor was the contemporary artist Agnes Martin, who is well known for her minimalist grid paintings and drawings composed of horizontal and vertical lines; Yank adopted the circle in her own work, as her more organic signature shape. Her sculptures are included in numerous museum and public collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Art, New Mexico State Capitol Art Collection, NMSU Art Museum, Albuquerque Museum, and the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in NYC.   

Angie Yazzie (Taos Pueblo) 

Angie Yazzie (Taos Pueblo) is an award-winning potter of micaceous clay. Introduced to traditional pottery techniques by her mother, Mary Archuleta (Taos Pueblo), and grandmother, Isabel Archuleta (Taos Pueblo), Angie was invited to a convocation of Master Potters at the School for Advanced Research in 1994, leading to the book All That Glitters. Yazzie’s work is famous for slender walls and unique shapes. Her work has been exhibited at numerous museums and appears in the permanent collections of Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, Cincinnati Museum, Crocker Museum in Sacramento, and the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, as well as the vault of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. 

About New Mexico Arts

New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico.   

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Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

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