2012 Mayor's Awards
Recipients of the 2012 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts
Mayor David Coss and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission are proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Each of this year’s recipients have made outstanding contributions to the arts in Santa Fe, demonstrated artistic excellence and exceptional achievement, and embrace an ongoing commitment to the arts in Santa Fe.
Photograph by Eric Swanson
Susan Contreras was born in Mexico City to a family with a rich heritage in the arts. As a child, she experienced a pattern of travel and change that took her to Europe, Canada and finally to Santa Fe. These early experiences nurtured her talent for observation and her sense of life as surprising, dramatic and transient. Contreras later studied photography and painting, earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Bachelor of Fine Arts in fine art from the Brooks Institute.
Her early career work as a photojournalist gave her a lasting interest in visual narrative. Like her photographs, her paintings seize an instant, implying momentous action beyond what the viewer can see. The use of masked characters has also become a mark of her work, in part because of their transformative, magical quality. Her work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions around the country and is in a variety of permanent collections including the National Hispanic Cultural Center; The Kessler Collection, Orlando, FL; the New Mexico Museum of Art; and the Albuquerque Museum.
Mary-Charlotte Domandi is producer and host of the Santa Fe Radio Café on KSFR 101.1, an award-winning daily talk-show program of interviews on subjects spanning politics, the environment, literature, art and science. First broadcast in 2003, the Radio Café has been voted “Best Radio Program” in Santa Fe by the readers of the Santa Fe Reporter for the past three years. Domandi and her show have been praised by National Geographic’s Santa Fe Destination Guide, while Travel and Leisure’s City Guide to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Santa Fe refers to her as a “public radio goddess.”
Domandi earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Education from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Art History from Yale University. Her studies have also included fine arts, photography and Native American Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work earned the 2011 New Mexico Book Association’s “Book in Hand Award” for “meritorious service to the literary communities in New Mexico.” She is in demand for public presentations and appearances in Santa Fe. Her articles have been published in magazines including Aperture Magazine, and she is a blogger for the Huffington Post.
Santa Fe Performing Arts
Santa Fe Performing Arts (SFPA) has been in operation since 1988. Its mission is to serve the community as a tool for education by addressing current issues, collaborating with social service organizations and teaching theater to individuals of all ages. The school of SFPA delivers comprehensive, educational programs for children and teens on-site and in outreach. The Adult Resident Company, with its emphasis on new and bilingual works, provides culturally-relevant theater that is accessible to Santa Fe’s diverse community. The Armory for the Arts Theater, SFAC’s performing arts center, offers an affordable performing arts facility and collaboration center open to other arts groups and the community at large.
SFPA’s educational programming has been endorsed by the National Education Association of New Mexico, and the organization has been honored by the Santa Fe Community Foundation with an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and Humanities.
Jerry West is a second-generation New Mexico painter and printmaker whose work depicts the unique history and human diversity which make the Southwest, and in particular Santa Fe, distinctive. West’s first interest was science, and he earned a Master of Science in biology and mammalogy from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Arts in biological science from Colorado State University. Soon thereafter, however, he found his passion lay in making art and has pursued it full time for more than 40 years.
West’s work has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibits, including exhibits at Munson, LewAllen and Jack Meier galleries, as well as the Center for Contemporary Arts and Governor’s Gallery. He has published six small books and been the subject of several articles. Among his most visible achievements are his mural works, including “Recuerdos y Suenos de Santa Fe,” in Santa Fe City Hall, which features local landmarks and New Mexico portraits drawn from both life and the artist’s memory.
Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award
Emmy Grimm will also receive the Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award for her accomplishments as a flamenco artist as well as her ongoing efforts teaching youth the history and technique of flamenco.
Grimm began studying flamenco at Maria Benitez’ Institute for Spanish Art at the age of four. By the age of ten, she was invited to join the Institute’s youth company, Flamenco’s Next Generation, eventually becoming a featured soloist with the company. Committed to passing on the history and tradition of flamenco, Grimm began teaching at the Institute’s Truchas Summer program at the age of only twelve—sometimes instructing young people several years older than she. She has continued to teach flamenco at elementary schools around northern New Mexico and serves as the main children’s instructor at the Institute for Spanish Arts.
Grimm has also established herself professionally, performing in the Theresa Cardenas Spanish Dance Theater’s 2010 production of El Pintor at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM; at The Lodge at Santa Fe with the Entre Flamenco Company, under the direction of internationally-renowned flamenco artists Antonio Granjero and Estefania Ramirez; and at venues throughout Santa Fe with well-known flamenco guitarist Jose “Chuscales” Valle and dancer Mina Fajardo. She continues to pursue her craft through intensive workshops and classes around the country.