News & Announcements

August 26, 2013
Mayor Coss Announces Recipients of the 2013 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Awards Program Honors Contributions of Local Individuals

Mayor David Coss and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission are pleased to announce the five artists and arts’ supporters who will receive the 2013 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

“Each year, I look forward to presenting the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts,” said Mayor Coss. “The awards are an important opportunity to acknowledge the talent, hard work and commitment of some of the outstanding members of the Santa Fe arts community.”

The 2013 Mayors Awards recipients are: Charmay Allred, nonprofit volunteer, board member and supporter; Bert Dalton, jazz pianist, recording artists and Music Director at the National Dance Institute of New Mexico; Tom Leech, Director of the Press at the Palace of the Governor and Book Arts advocate; and Susan York, visual artist and President’s Chair of the Art Department of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Cora Cliburn, dancer, photographer and filmmaker has been selected to receive the 2013 Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award.

“Accolades,” an exhibit highlighting the contributions of each recipient will open on September 13 at the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission Community Gallery, located on the southeast corner of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 West Marcy. The exhibit will run through October 10.

An awards ceremony and dinner will be held on Thursday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sweeney Ballroom in the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Tickets are $65 per person and include a three-course meal. Table sponsorships are also available. Space is limited and reservations are required. Visit the Arts Commission’s website at for more information and reservations.

The Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts were established in 1989. The awards present a way to acknowledge living individuals and active organizations that have made a significant contribution to the arts in Santa Fe. Nominations from the community are collected each year for consideration. Throughout the years, the awards have honored a remarkable list of artists, individuals, organizations and business. Past recipients including Lloyd Kiva New, Fray Angelico Chavez, Allan Houser, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Charles Carrillo, John Crosby, Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Linda Durham, Dan Namingha, and Nancy and William Zeckendorf.

The following are brief profiles of the 2013 Mayor’s Arts Awards Recipients:

Charmay Allred serves on the New Mexico State Arts Commission and is a volunteer with the Santa Fe Symphony, Spanish Colonial Arts Society, Cornerstones, Wheelwright Museum, and Santa Fe Conservation Trust. She is an active Board member of the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Institute of American Indian Arts and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation—where she is a member of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Founders Society for significant lifetime giving. Allred’s work to promote support for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Friends of Archaeology is legendary. She also devotes much of her time to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, of which she was a founding co-chair. Other organizations Allred has supported include Futures for Children, the Audubon Society, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and the former College of Santa Fe, where she helped start the Tony Hillerman-Michael McGarrity Creative Writing Scholarship program. Formerly, she was an English and journalism teacher as well as a medical editor and a commercial interior designer.

Bert Dalton is a jazz pianist and recording artist. Since 1998, he has been the Music Director of National Dance Institute of New Mexico (NDI-NM), working with more than 10,000 public elementary school children. Dalton is passionate about creating music and lyrics to inspire children, using music as a teaching tool in the classroom, and enriching the lives of New Mexico children through the arts. He directs the twelve-piece NDI-NM Orchestra for each performance, giving children the thrill of performing with professional live music. Originally from the Chicago area, he studied music at Northern Illinois University and developed his hard swinging jazz piano style in Chicago jazz clubs. Dalton toured extensively with his own band in the US and abroad before settling in Santa Fe in 1990. Since then, he has performed regularly with the Bert Dalton Trio, Brazil Project, Yoboso, and Chris Calloway, including 18 years at the La Fonda Hotel. Bert has over a dozen recordings to his credit as producer and performer and has been honored with eleven New Mexico Music Awards. As a performing musician, he believes in connecting and communicating with the audience while maintaining the highest musical standards. Dalton gives of his time accompanying other performers, arranging music, and private teaching. He recently produced a Dave Brubeck tribute concert to benefit preservation of the Scottish Rite Temple, has worked tirelessly with the Masonic Charity Foundation and the Bikes for Books Program.

Tom Leech is the Director of the Press at the Palace of the Governors, and has more than 35 years of experience in printing, paper-making, and related book-arts. A curator at the New Mexico History Museum since 2001, Leech has organized a number of successful exhibits, including The Saint John’s Bible, Jack Kerouac and the Writer’s Life, and Album Amicorum. With Pamela Smith, he directed the exhibit Lasting Impressions: the Private Presses of New Mexico. An advocate for the Book Arts, Leech has drawn appreciative audiences to events at the museum for lectures, readings, demonstrations and workshops featuring artists, poets, printers, scholars and musicians of national and international renown. At the Palace Press he regularly demonstrates printing and discusses its history and importance with school groups and visitors of all ages. Books and broadsides that he has printed include Jack Thorp’s Songs of the Cowboys, O’Keeffe Stories, and Word Art Poetry Portfolio. Additionally, Leech collaborates with Santa Fe’s Poets Laureate on fine limited editions. He is a member of the Santa Fe Book Arts Group and the Eldorado Art and Craft Association.

Susan York's sculptures and drawings have been shown extensively throughout the US and Europe. Her work is in many collections including the Panza Collection, Lugano Switzerland; Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe; Frankel Foundation for Art, Pontiac, Michigan; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; and the Museum of Albuquerque. Currently, she is the President’s Chair of the Art Department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she is also head of the sculpture program. In November, York's work will be included in an exhibition at the Mies van der Rohe Haus in Berlin, Germany. The Unfolding Center, York's collaboration with the poet, Arthur Sze will be published this fall by RADIUS BOOKS. Her work is represented by James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, exhibitions 2d, Marfa, Texas, and Galerie Renate Bender, Munich, Germany. York has been awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and the Alpert Foundation/Ucross Residency Prize. York received her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and BFA from the University of NM. She has taught at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (previously the College of Santa Fe) since 1998.

2013 Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist

Cora Cliburn, a senior honor student at Desert Academy, is dedicated to using the arts to promote community building and social and environmental change. Cliburn’s appreciation for the power of the arts stems from her own experience as a young artist—in visual arts, photography, and film. Her photos have been published in the Deserter and Photographer’s Forum magazines, as well as in a showing at local coffee shop. Her short films were included in the 2012 Currents Film Festival. Cliburn has a special interest in the textures, patterns, and spirit of nature, and she challenges herself to convey this. This same interest often inspires her primary work as a dancer, focused on contemporary and classical ballet and modern dance. Building on many years of training with Moving People Dance Santa Fe, she has spent summers working with artists of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Modas Dance—often on merit scholarships. Cliburn is currently performing with Moving People and Arcos Dance. As President of Desert’s Outdoor Sustainability Club and a participant in leadership training, Cliburn was the lead organizer of “Climate Night: What’s Up With the Weather,” an event last spring, which featured speakers, student performers, student artwork, media, and demonstrations. She hopes to pursue a career in professional dance, while continuing to follow her wide-ranging interests.


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