The 100 brightly colored plates on display in The William and Joseph Gallery vary in theme and composition, but they all have one thing in common: each plate was designed by a Santa Fe public school fifth-grader. Every year, the city’s fifth-graders design place mats for ARTsmart, a nonprofit arts organization founded by the Santa Fe Gallery Association to support arts education in Santa Fe’s public schools. One hundred place mats are selected to be made into ceramic plates.
Though the plates depict some common subjects, including the sun, trees, and animals, a few plates stand out. The winning plate this year is a pink-and-purple-dappled, sad-eyed bull designed by Alyssa Bernal of Eldorado Elementary School. The plate designed by third-place winner Mateo Perez (Chaparral Elementary School) plays with perspective, homing in on the tiled soles of a boy’s sneakers. The plate designed by José Magallanes of Agua Fría Elementary School is a sophisticated tableau showing flamingos perched on a thin strip of sand. The color of the sky and the flamingos’ stick-thin legs are reflected in the water below.