Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Controversial Indigenous Display Closes in Denver
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science officially shut down its North American Indian Cultures Hall, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition that museum officials admitted “promotes racist stereotypes.” A museum official acknowledged that the hall, which was created in 1978, “reinforces harmful stereotypes and white, dominant culture.” The museum, as described in various news publications, will garner input from Indigenous communities before reopening the hall.
Odd Salt Lake City Art Site Will Be Dismantled
The Christian School, a home for outsider public religious art and the subject of a recent Southwest Contemporary story, is no longer. According to reporting by Axios Salt Lake City, the State Street building featuring low-relief sculptures of religious iconography embedded into the building’s exterior, was destined for permanent closure starting June 30, 2023. The site had been at risk of shuttering since the August 2022 death of its founder, Ralphael Plescia. Axios Salt Lake City writes that the art that can be removed will go to the Plescia family home and that the Utah Arts Alliance is also assessing storage options.
Texas Receives Additional Arts Funding
During Texas’s legislative session, which concluded in late May 2023, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the state arts agency, received a $5 million increase for its Cultural District grant program, a $3 million boost for arts organizations, project grants such as Arts Create and Arts Respond, and staff salary increases. TCA’s 2023-24 and 2024-25 budgets will be $15,755,518 and $15,785,158, respectively (the Texas Legislature meets every other year.) Additionally, state lawmakers passed the Hotel Occupancy Tax Transparency and Reporting bill, which requires comprehensive hotel occupancy tax reporting from both municipalities and counties. In Texas and other states, municipal HOT tax revenue provides funding for arts and cultural organizations and individual artists. “Having access to this expanded data gives us more valuable information to work with you, our citizen advocates, to maximize the use of HOT for the arts in each of your communities,” writes Texans for the Arts.
Denver’s Chicano Humanities and Arts Council to Return to Its Original Home Following a Donation from a Stranger
Last year, due to rising costs, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, an anchor for Denver’s Chicano arts scene, was forced to move to Lakewood. Now, after a stranger read Denverite news coverage, CHAC will return to the Santa Fe Arts District. Not only that but CHAC will own its gallery (rather than lease it) for the first time since its 1978 founding. Denverite has all of the details.
The Outpost Opens in Reno
The Outpost, a new satellite space by Outback Projects, a multi-pronged artist-run curatorial project founded by Katie Holden, Kristin Hough, and Julian Tan, recently opened a gallery space inside of seven-foot-by-seven-and-a-half-foot backyard shed. According to the Outback Projects website, a show of works by Summer Orr (who was featured in a recent issue of Southwest Contemporary), is scheduled to take place in August 2023. Double Scoop covered the Outpost’s debut show in June featuring works by Otis Boat.
Grants and Awards
United States Latinx Art Forum Announces Third Cohort of Latinx Artists
Margarita Cabrera of Arizona and Texas, Verónica Gaona of Houston, Postcommodity (Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist) of Tempe, Arizona and Los Angeles, and Daisy Quezada Ureña of Santa Fe are among the fifteen artists to be named 2023 Latinx Fellows by the U.S. Latinx Art Forum. Each fellow receives an unrestricted $50,000 award.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson Names 2023 Night Bloom Grants
MOCA Tucson announced the ten projects by individual artists and artist groups that will receive a $5,000 to $7,500 grant as part of the museum’s 2023 Night Bloom: Grants for Artists program.
- Art Extensions by Linda Chappel, Melanie Lenart, Seneca Ortega, and Aray Ramon.
- Barrio Blue Moon – Monument to the Future by Sharayah Jimenez.
- My Body Is Built for the In Between Spaces: A Hybrid Photo Project Highlighting Trans, Queer, Gender Non-Conforming, and 2 Spirit Experiences by Aura Valdes and Sarah Maaske.
- Parallel H(ear) by Rebeca Bollinger, Patricio Coronado, and Gus Tomizuka.
- Sketching the Senses: the Sonoran Series by Teresa Pereira, Melinda Englert, and Ai Nan.
- Snakebite Creation Space by Geneva Foster Gluck and Racheal Rios.
- SPUNK by Tarp Queens: Zeena Karina, Piranha, and Chava Dreypuss.
- Tactile Cosmology by Amber Doe.
- Tucson Hip Hop Clinic by Monique Garcia and Ruben Dorame.
- VietNail by Anh-Thuy Nguyen.
Dakota Mace (Diné) Named Bosque Redondo Memorial Artist in Residence
Mace, an interdisciplinary artist who focuses on translating the language of Diné history and beliefs, was recently named artist in residence at Bosque Redondo Memorial by New Mexico Arts. According to a press release, Mace’s project “will focus on the vastness of Dinétah (the Diné homeland), rich with the narratives that exist within the landscape.”
Salt Lake City 2023 Mayor’s Artists Awards Announced
Chitrakaavya Dance, the Kilby Court venue, multi-disciplinary artist Latoya Cameron, poet and activist Nan Seymour, and Youth Theatre at the University of Utah have been named winners of Salt Lake City’s Mayor’s Artists Awards, which honors community-building artists and arts programming.
Leadership Changes and Appointments
Phoenix Art Museum Appoints Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs,
Olga Viso has become Phoenix Art Museum’s chief curator and director of curatorial affairs. Viso, former director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and director and curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., served as Phoenix Art Museum’s part-time curator-at-large and a senior curatorial advisor for the past year.
Phoenix Art Museum and Center for Creative Photography Name New Photography Curator
Emilia Mickevicius, a former curatorial assistant in the photography department at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, has become the jointly appointed curator of photography at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. Mickevicius will divide her time between the two institutions.
A New CEO and Executive Director at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Todd Bankofier, a local Arizona business and community leader, became CEO and executive director of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Bankofier, who started his new job May 12, 2023, will lead the museum that specializes in displaying Western and Native American art and artifacts.