Institute of American Arts creative writing faculty win major literary awards
Institute of American Indian Arts faculty member Tommy Orange won the PEN/Hemingway award for a “distinguished” new novel for There There (Knopf/Penguin Random House, 2018). Orange, who is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, set his debut novel in the Bay Area, where he lives. The narrative follows several characters as they prepare to attend a powwow in Oakland. The PEN/Hemingway award comes with $25,000 and a monthlong fellowship at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. For There There, Orange has also received a prize from the National Book Critics Circle for best new book and the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction. (Read Pasatiempo’s review of There There.)
Terese Mailhot, also on faculty in the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at IAIA, won a 2019 Whiting Award for Nonfiction for Heart Berries: A Memoir (Counterpoint, 2018). Mailhot, an enrolled member of the Seabird Island Band, graduated from the low-residency program in 2016, along with Orange. Her memoir explores her experiences with mental illness and family trauma. Whiting awards of $50,000 each are presented annually to emerging writers who show great promise. Mailhot was recently named the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University in Indiana. (Read Pasatiempo’s interview with Mailhot.)
“Native voices are vital to illuminating the Native experience in contemporary society,” IAIA president, Dr. Robert Martin, said in a prepared statement. “These two award-winning writers’ inaugural books are outstanding in capturing and understanding the essence of existence in the 21st century from their unique perspectives.”
New gallery has modern vision
Ylise Kessler, the proprietor of the brand-new Ylise Kessler Gallery (333 Montezuma Ave.), has worked in art advisory since 1989, helping private and corporate clients locate, purchase, and install artwork. She directed the William Siegal Gallery in Santa Fe from 2008 to 2013 and then moved to Peters Projects, where she was the executive director and curator. Kessler sees her new gallery as an exhibition space as well as an art advisory service and a venue or starting point for additional arts programming, including offsite pop-up shows. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition features the work of artists who live or have lived in New Mexico, including Ben Dallas, Ilona Pachler, Karen Miranda Rivadeniera, and Cedra Wood. The untitled show runs through May 31. For information: 505-930-1039, ylisekessler.com.
Local indigenous artist gets grant
The First Peoples Fund awarded digital artist and printmaker Darby Raymond-Overstreet a $5,000 grant and named her an Artist in Business Leadership fellow. The First Peoples Fund is a Native-led nonprofit that supports indigenous artists and expands their capacity to succeed in their chosen mediums. Raymond-Overstreet is a Santa Fe resident and a member of the Navajo Nation. She grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, and earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and studio art from Dartmouth College. She often works in portraiture as well as elegant geometric prints, inspired and influenced by traditional Navajo textiles that date to the late 1800s through the 1950s, as well as their makers.
Cinematic ranch life is theme of student ornament contest
Creatively inclined students in New Mexico are encouraged to enter the 2020 state ornament contest, which takes as its theme “New Mexico Films of the Great American West.” Student designers must figure out how to commemorate such iconic films as The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) or Silverado (1985) — or contemporary Netflix offerings like the Academy Award-nominated The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) — as a tree ornament. Students in kindergarten through college are eligible to enter, just as long as they are enrolled in a school in New Mexico. The winner receives a scholarship, and the official state ornament is based on their design. The deadline for submissions is April 15. For complete guidelines and entry forms, go to nmfilm.com/nmfo-events/#ODC.
Johnny D. Boggs sets record with writing award
Johnny D. Boggs, the prolific writer of Westerns and historical fiction, proved his bona fides in the genre once again by winning an unprecedented eighth Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He now claims the record for the number of Spur Awards held by a single author. Boggs’ Taos Lightning (Center Point, 2018) received the award in the juvenile fiction category. The novel, set in the Southwest in the days predating New Mexico’s statehood, tells the story of fifteen-year-old Evan Kendrick, who takes his father’s place in a cross-country horse race. Boggs is the author of dozens of novels and short stories. He received previous Spur Awards for such books as West Texas Kill (2011), and Hard Winter (2009).
Santa Fe Botanical Garden receives grant for biological surveys, staff position
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden received a one-year grant from the Dancing Star Foundation to conduct in-depth biological surveys in the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve in La Cienega and the Piñon-Juniper Woodland, a 3.25-acre area on Museum Hill that is slated to open in 2019. The surveys include the installation of motion-detection cameras, recording of flora and fauna, and adding data to Citizen Science networks collections that are gathered by volunteers that monitor biodiversity at the botanical garden. The grant funds also allow the botanical garden to create a staff position to oversee the surveys, study biodiversity at both sites, and create educational interpretive signs about the data that gets collected by the Citizen Science volunteers. Dancing Star Foundation is a California-based nonprofit dedicated to biodiversity conservation, global environmental education, and animal protection. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is located at 715 Camino Lejo. For information: 505-471-9103, santafebotanicalgarden.org.
Handmade art the focus of new Canyon Road gallery
A new gallery dedicated to handmade arts, Hecho A Mano, opened March 29 at 830 Canyon Road with Carlos Mérida: Carnival in Mexico. Hecho A Mano is directed by Frank Rose, who co-founded Form & Concept gallery and has now branched out on his own. According to the Hecho A Mano website, the gallery supports artists making work at the intersection of innovation and tradition in an increasingly automated world. Carlos Mérida features nine 1940 lithographs by the late Guatemalan artist who spent most of his life in Mexico and was known for fusing European modernism with Latin American forms and themes. The exhibition runs through April 14. For information: 505-916-1341, hechoamano.org.