Writer Suzan Shown Harjo honored for lifetime achievement at Washington, D.C., symposium

Writer and activist Suzan Shown Harjo was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the symposium A Promise Kept: The Inspiring Life and Works of Suzan Shown Harjo on Sept. 20, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C. A member of the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes, Harjo has a long history of indigenous activism dating to the 1960s and early ’70s, when she co-produced “Seeing Red,” the first national Native news show in the United States, on WBAI-FM in New York City. Her many other accomplishments include serving as a special assistant for Native American legislation under President Jimmy Carter. She was part of the coalition that envisioned the National Museum of the American Indian in 1967 and was the principal author of the museum’s first trustees’ policies on repatriation, identity, and exhibitions. From 1984 to 1989, she was executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, and in 2014 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harjo is a journalist and poet, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network and a contributing writer to First American Art Magazine.

Co-sponsored by the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, the symposium brought together Native American activists, scholars, artists, and writers to speak about Harjo’s legacy of advocacy and activism. U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (no relation) delivered the opening poem.

Santa Fe Opera Orchestra appoints new musicians

Five new musicians will join the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra in the 2020 season. They include a new concertmaster, Steven Moeckel, who is also the concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony, where he has appeared as a soloist. His other solo performances include Sunriver Music Festival, Xiamen Philharmonic, and Breckenridge Music Festival. Here are the other musicians:

▼ Margot Schwartz (assistant principal second violin) plays in the first violin section with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and performs at the Peninsula Music Festival and the Bellingham Festival of Music.

▼ Jennifer Best Takeda (section violin) is assistant concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra and performs with the Sarasota Piano Quartet, Opera Tampa, and the Florida Orchestra.

▼ Alistair Eng (assistant principal cello) is the associate principal cello of the Canadian Opera Company and has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the London Philharmonic.

▼ Rachel Blumenthal (second flute/piccolo) is principal flute of the Sarasota Opera. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Grant Park Orchestra.

The group of new hires was selected from a pool of 276 applicants, a record number of musicians seeking a spot in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome this infusion of new talent,” Santa Fe Opera general director Robert K. Meya said in a news release. “The quality of playing heard throughout the audition process has never been better. The musicians selected are of the highest caliber, ensuring that we not only retain the level of excellence our audiences have come to know but that together we will reach ever new heights of artistry.”

Fulcrum Fund awards $60,000 to local artists

Ten New Mexico artists received grants from the Fulcrum Fund, a partner in the Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The fund is administered by 516 Arts, a non-collecting contemporary art museum in Albuquerque. Since 2016, the fund has awarded $230,000 to 45 local artists. Grant amounts range from $2,000 to $10,000. The Santa Fe artists among this year’s recipients are Jade Begay, for Cosmo Vision, a virtual reality and short-film series featuring immigrant and indigenous multimedia artists; Hernan Gomez Chavez and Yvette Serrano, for their mobile art piece, Querencia; Kate Kendall’s Rio Grande Flow, a visual art and geology collaboration; and Nuttaphol Ma’s zine publication …with Liberty and Justice for All. For more information and a complete list of artist grantees, go to 516arts.org.

Local arts journalist wins Rabkin Foundation Award

Jennifer Shapland of Santa Fe has received a $50,000 grant for arts journalism from the Rabkin Foundation of Portland, Maine. Shapland is one of eight national recipients of the award, which is in its third year and is funded by the estate of Dorothea and Leo Rabkin, artists and art collectors who lived in New York City. Shapland is a contributor to THE Magazine in Santa Fe (and has served as its managing editor). Her nonfiction has appeared in Tin House, Outside online, The Lifted Brow, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Her essay “Finders, Keepers” won a 2017 Pushcart Prize. For more information, go to jennshapland.com.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival adds new board members

Filmmaker Alexandria Bombach and screenwriter and television executive David Sontag have joined the advisory board of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Bombach’s latest documentary feature, On Her Shoulders (2018), told the story of Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights activism. Bombach won the award for Best Directing in the U.S. documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the award for Best Documentary for On Her Shoulders, which was nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards and shortlisted for an Academy Award.

Sontag has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years. He has written for Columbia Pictures, Universal, and Hollywood Pictures, among other studios, and for CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. He began his career as a program executive at NBC in 1955, and he taught writing for stage and screen as the Wesley Wallace Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival kicks off its 11th year on Oct. 16. For more information, go to santafeindependentfilmfestival.com. ◀

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