Catch up on recent art news headlines in the Southwest region, including people on the move, grants, and more.
Arizona Governor Proposes “Historic” Arts-Funding Allocation, House Republicans Pass Budget with No Arts Funding
In January 2023, recently sworn-in governor Katie Hobbs proposed, in the state’s 2024 executive budget, a “historic” one-time $20 million allocation to the Arizona Commission of the Arts, the state arts agency that distributes funding to statewide arts and cultural organizations. Separately, last month, the Republican-run Arizona House, in a party-line vote, approved an overall “skinny” state budget of $15.8 billion, which, according to reporting by Southwest Contemporary’s Lynn Trimble, didn’t include a single dollar for the arts. (The Democratic governor vetoed the House-approved budget on February 16.) The hand-wringing over the state’s spending plan—and whether Hobbs can get lawmakers to agree on the one-time $20 million—will continue during the in-progress regular session of the 2023 Arizona State Legislature, scheduled to run through April 22.
The Lensic Announces New Programming Extension
Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center has teamed with Northern New Mexico concert promoters Jamie Lenfestey and Tim Franke, formerly of AMP Concerts, to present Lensic 360. The new presentation arm will activate the downtown legacy theater as well as venues and public spaces throughout the region, including the Santa Fe Plaza, Meow Wolf, the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company, Taos Mesa Brewing, and a handful of Albuquerque venues including KiMo Theater and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
African American Museum of Southern Arizona, Tucson
Arizona’s first African American history museum opened in January 2023, according to reporting by the Arizona Republic, and is the result of a seven-year-old Tucson student who discovered, while working on a school project, that there wasn’t an Arizona museum dedicated to highlighting and celebrating Black Arizonans. The museum, located in room 244 at the University of Arizona’s Student Union Memorial Center, is still getting off the ground—it’s only available for viewing by appointment (email email@example.com)—but regular museum hours are scheduled to be established soon.
Grants and Awards
Utah Museum of Fine Arts Receives Major Endowment
Marcia and John Price recently established a $5 million endowment for the UMFA, located on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. A press release states that the gift from the U of U graduates will “provide funding in perpetuity to support the salary, benefits, professional development, travel, and other needs of the Museum’s executive director.”
Albuquerque’s 516 Arts Awarded Advancing Latinx Art in Museums Grant
New Mexico art museum 516 Arts has been awarded a five-year $500,000 grant by Advancing Latinx Art in Museums, which “supports curating and presenting of Latinx artists, defined as creatives of Latin American or Caribbean descent who live and work in the United States.” The new initiative is a national consortium that includes the Ford, Getty, Mellon, and Terra foundations.
Colorado Artist Wins Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant
Anna Tsouhlarakis (Navajo, Creek, Greek) of Boulder is one of twenty artists—and the only Southwest-area recipient—to receive an unrestricted grant of $20,000 from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. The 2022 biennial grants were awarded to artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, craft, and new media.
Arizona Artists Receive Research and Development Grants
The Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded $5,000 each to thirty-four Arizona artists in support to “advance their artistic practice, expand their creative horizons, and deepen the impact of their work.” Grant recipients are spread across the Grand Canyon State, and include artists based in Flagstaff, Maricopa, Oracle, the Phoenix area, Prescott, Sedona, and Tucson.
Leadership Changes and Appointments
Rubin Center Hires a New Assistant Curator of Education and Outreach
Claudia Ley, a multidisciplinary scholar, social artist, and third-generation jeweler from El Paso, has been chosen as the new assistant curator of education and outreach for the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, located on the University of Texas at El Paso campus. According to a news release, “Claudia’s hire expands the Rubin Center’s commitment to artist-led programming and engagement, and furthers our dedication to bilingual, bicultural, and socially engaged programming at the U.S.-Mexico border.”