The Doña Ana Arts Council has released its list of the 2018 Community Arts Awards winners, in advance of the annual celebration, set for 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at the DAAC Arts & Cultural Center, 1740 Calle de Mercado, Mesilla.
Receiving the Newcomer Award is Marisa Sage, director of the NMSU University Art Gallery. Sage is a New York native, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in photography and Master’s of Arts in digital arts. She then operated a gallery in Williamsburg, New York, for six years that displayed more than 65 exhibitions in that time. Since coming to Las Cruces to take up the reins of the University Art Gallery, she has received acclaim from the arts community for her innovative ideas and leadership. She has also been recognized by NMSU with the Outstanding Staff Award.
Artist Sally Quillin will be presented the Arts in Education Award. Quillin is a mostly self-taught artist who has spent much of her career helping others develop their artistic talents. While she teaches painting classes in a variety of media, her work, focusing mostly on flowers and landscapes, is done in acrylic. She and her husband, photographer Mike Stephens, display their work at the Quillin-Stephens Gallery and exhibit at numerous shows each year, including the Las Cruces Arts Fair.
ArtForms Artists Association of southern New Mexico is being recognized this year with the Community Arts Award. This association of artists organized their 20th For the Love of Art Month celebration in February, bringing art lovers to exhibits, plays, concerts, poetry readings and artist studios. ArtForms is dedicated to promoting all forms of art, including visual, literary and performing. In addition, the organization holds regular meetings to help artists connect with each other and expand their knowledge of both art techniques and the business of art.
New Mexico Senator Jeff Steinborn is receiving the Public Service to the Arts Award. Steinborn has been a longtime advocate for the arts. In 2001, he worked with Sen. Jeff Bingaman to support the restoration of the Rio Grande Theater. In 2013, Steinborn formed the Regional Film Development Advisory Committee to identify solutions to grow the film industry in Las Cruces. His continued advocacy for film economic development led to the establishment of the nonprofit organization Film Las Cruces and strategic partnerships to enable the opening of Film Las Cruces Studios. In addition to his work promoting the film industry, Steinborn is the southern New Mexico director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, where he successfully led a national coalition of organizations to establish the Organ Mountains—Desert Peaks National Monument.
Jess Williams is another public servant who has found a way to promote the arts and will be presented with the Art in Public Places award. In his nomination letter, County Commissioner Ben Rawson said of the director of public information and special projects for Doña Ana County, “Back in 1999, Mr. Williams surveyed the blank walls of the Amador Hotel — then known as the Doña Ana County Manager’s Complex — and concluded that the space could be put to much higher use. He worked through the superintendents’ offices of the Las Cruces, Gadsden, and Hatch Public Schools to arrange a rotating student art show that goes up every March and October with new (and consistently stunning) student art.” The tradition has continued at the current Doña Ana County Government Center. In addition, since 2007 he has curated a collection of art donated to the county by local artists, including the beaded pony decorated by artist Julienne Hadfield, which has been on semi-permanent loan and welcoming visitors to the building since 2007.
The Papen Family Award will be presented to Dr. Kent F. Jacobs, a retired dermatologist, and artist Sallie Ritter Jacobs, who
not only are long-time advocates of the arts in southern New Mexico, but will donate their home and art collection to the state to serve as an art museum. Dr. Jacobs has served on numerous committees and boards promoting the arts, working to help the southern part of the state receive the recognition it deserves as an art destination.
The Community Arts Awards celebration will include music by local band Oldies but Goodies and plentiful food and beverages, including contributions from Salud! De Mesilla, Dickerson’s Catering, Lorenzo’s, La Posta, Hacienda de Mesilla and beverages from Spotted Dog Brewery and St. Clair Winery. Artist and former Papen Family Award recipient Carolyn Bunch has donated use of her painting “The Passenger” for the awards celebration.
Tickets to the event are $15 per person, available online at www.daarts.org or at the door.