Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Omicron Impacts Area Museums and Galleries
Cultural institutions in the Southwest have been forced to adjust on the fly to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Aspen Art Museum in Colorado closed for more than a week in an effort to reduce community spread while the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City pushed back its opening public reception for five new exhibitions to February 18, 2022. (The shows are currently on display during museum hours.) Additionally, the Heard Museum in Phoenix rescheduled its popular World Championship Hoop Dance Contest to March 26-27, 2022.
Southwest Artists Exhibiting at the Whitney Biennial 2022 in New York City
Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept (April 6–September 5, 2022), which is focusing on Native artists and the United States-Mexico border, will feature artists from the Southwest region, including Albuquerque’s Raven Chacon (Navajo) and Rick Lowe of Houston.
Pardon the Dust at Ellsworth Gallery
The Santa Fe art space on Palace Avenue will be open by appointment only through early spring as it undergoes a refurbishment. Ellsworth Gallery, which exhibits contemporary art and Japanese antiquities, recently saw two of its artists—the Santa Fe-based Chaz John and Greg Ballenger of Gallup, New Mexico—selected to participate in Outcropping — Indigenous Art Now, a group exhibition at the Southampton Arts Center in Southampton, New York.
La Chancla, Albuquerque
La Chancla, 1413 4th Street SW in Albuquerque, opened last month in the space that formerly housed Small Engine Gallery. La Chancla’s debut exhibition, Gaze by Albuquerque-based artist Taylor Rudolph, was on display January 7-28, 2022. The gallery is accepting submissions through February 20 for Growing Pains, a group show scheduled for March that tackles “spanning ideas of growth, gains, and changes made during the pandemic.” Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power Plant, Albuquerque
Power Plant, a café/plant nursery/local artist hub, opened at 3719 4th Street NW in mid-January. A report from the Daily Lobo explains that emerging artists can rent the shop’s studio space to exhibit their works.
Grants and Awards
Raven Chacon Wins Ree Kaneko Award
Albuquerque-based composer, performer, and installation artist Raven Chacon (Navajo) won the recently renamed Ree Kaneko Award from Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts as part of the Omaha, Nebraska organization’s fortieth anniversary.
National Endowment for the Arts Announces Grants for Arts Projects
Arts and cultural organizations in the Southwest are among the recipients of awards from the NEA, which recently announced its first round of 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. There are fourteen winners in Arizona, thirty-three in Colorado, five in Nevada, twenty-four in New Mexico, seventy-seven in Texas, and seven in Utah. In total, the NEA gave out 1,498 awards totaling nearly $33.2 million.
Southwest Organizations Receive Andy Warhol Foundation Grants
CALA Alliance in Phoenix; the Denver Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in Colorado; and DiverseWorks, FotoFest, and the Menil Collection in Houston and are among Southwest grant recipients of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. For the fall 2021 grant cycle, the foundation awarded $4.1 million to forty-nine museums and arts organizations “in support of exhibitions and programs that bolster artists and highlight lesser-known voices.”
Arizona Artist Receives Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant
Christopher Jagmin, an Arizona artist featured in our 2021 Local Phoenix Metro Gift Guide, has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Southwest Contemporary contributor Lynn Trimble confirmed Jagmin’s award with the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, which has awarded more than $82 million in artist grants since 1985.
New Mexico Artists Awarded Fulcrum Fund Dollars
Albuquerque’s 516 Arts, which administers the annual Fulcrum Fund grant program, awarded a total of $93,600 to thirteen New Mexico visual artists in support of new projects. Winners include Tytianna Harris (Navajo), Justin Rhody of Santa Fe’s No Name Cinema, and the Albuquerque collective We Are Longing for a Future, a project led by queer, trans, and Indigenous artists.
Arizona Artists Win Research and Development Grants
The Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded $5,000 grants to thirty Arizona artists—including Nanibaa Beck (Navajo), Ann Morton, and Tanya Núñez—that support artists in the Grand Canyon State “as they work to advance their artistic practice, expand their creative horizons, and deepen the impact of their work.”
Leadership Changes and Appointments
New Mexico Indigenous Woman Hired as Smithsonian American Indian Museum Leader
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo, Hopi, Tewa, Navajo), the current acting associate director for collections and operations at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., will become the museum’s director effective February 14, 2022. Chavez Lamar is a former trustee at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
Meow Wolf Hires New CEO
Jose Tolosa, a former executive at ViacomCBS, replaced Jim Ward as the chief executive officer of Santa Fe-based Meow Wolf. The entertainment company had been operating under a co-CEO model led by Ward, Ali Rubinstein, and Carl Christensen. The Santa Fe Reporter writes that Rubenstein and Christensen will return to their previous roles with the company as chief creative officer and chief financial officer, respectively.
New Phoenix Art Museum Director and CEO
The Phoenix Art Museum announced the appointment of Jeremy Mikolajczak as the museum’s director and chief executive officer. Mikolajczak, the current director and CEO at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, will start his new job in April 2022.
Ucross Foundation Leader Retires
Sharon Dynak, president and executive director of the Ucross Foundation residency program in Sheridan, Wyoming, announced her retirement effective April 2022. William Belcher, Ucross’s current director of development and external relations, will become the next president of the organization that has offered a distinguished and sought-after artist residency since 1983.
New Curator at the Roswell Museum
The Roswell Museum in southeast New Mexico announced that Aaron Wilder had joined the staff as the curator of exhibitions and collections on November 5, 2021. Originally from Phoenix, Wilder previously worked for the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.
Board of Directors Leadership Change at Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe
David Muck, who also serves on the board of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, is the new board chair at CCA Santa Fe.