N. Scott Momaday receives Ken Burns American Heritage Prize

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday received the 2019 Ken Burns American Heritage Prize at a ceremony held May 1 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The prize was presented by American Prairie Reserve, a nonprofit organization that has a three-million-acre wildlife conservation area in northeastern Montana.

It has been more than 50 years since Momaday, a Santa Fe resident, wrote House Made of Dawn (1968), which put him on the literary map. His more recent books include In the Presence of the Sun (1992), The Native Americans: Indian Country (1993), and Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story (1994). Burns, probably the best-known American history documentarian working today, said that Momaday is “especially qualified to receive this national tribute. It is, in part, a recognition of the courage and character of America’s Native Peoples who first knew this ‘remembered land,’ who loved it, cared for it, and lost it.”

In his acceptance address, Momaday talked about the importance of preserving native grasslands and the environment: “The Earth is our home and we must protect this sacred land, love it, and cherish it. It is important that we realize where we are in relation to time, in relation to atmosphere and the Earth and the universe. If we do not do that, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.” For more information, go to kenburnsprize.com.

Museum of New Mexico Foundation moves to new home

The Museum of New Mexico Foundation celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 1411 Paseo de Peralta in May. The one-acre campus is now the headquarters for the business and fundraising arm of the Museum of New Mexico system. The property is anchored by the Shonnard House, built in 1890 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It houses the membership, development, and executive staff. A 4,000-square-foot office building to house finance, information technology, and retail staff will be built in the southwest corner of the property. The property was bequeathed to the foundation by sculptor Eugenie Shonnard, who lived there from 1934 to 1978. Her studio, which was built in 1874, will be used as a conference center. For more information, go to museumfoundation.org.

NEA grants $170,000 to local arts groups

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a total of $170,000 in grants to five local groups in May. The Santa Fe Art Institute received an $85,000 Our Town grant, which will be used for “culture asset mapping” and public events related to future redevelopment of the city-owned midtown campus on which the Art Institute is located. SITE Santa Fe was given a $35,000 Art Works/Museums grant to support public events, onsite technology, and a catalog for its exhibition Bel Canto: Contemporary Artists Explore Opera, which continues through Sept. 1. Wise Fool New Mexico received a $20,000 Presenting and Multidisciplinary Works grant to support youth circus arts training and performances, and Youthworks Inc. got a $20,000 Visual Arts grant for Santa Fe Community Screenprinting, a program for teens and young adults that provides open studio time and an artist-in-residence program. Finally, Santa Fe Pro Musica got a Music grant of $10,000 for chamber orchestra and baroque ensemble programs.

New Mexico Museum of Art director leaves after 10 years

Mary Kershaw, who has served as director of the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe since September 2009, has left the position to helm the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff as its new executive director and CEO. “It has been great fun and a tremendously rewarding experience serving under three governors and three cabinet secretaries,” Kershaw said of her time at the New Mexico Museum of Art. During her tenure, the museum underwent major renovations in advance of its 2017 centennial. She was instrumental in the planning stages of the museum’s annex, Vladem Contemporary, which is slated to open in late 2020 at the corner of Montezuma Avenue and Guadalupe Street. “For decades, there had been a dream to create a contemporary wing for the NM Museum of Art,” she said in a written statement. “Now, we are well on our way to making that dream a reality.” Kershaw formally began her new role at the Museum of Northern Arizona on June 3.

Temple Beth Shalom celebrates musical director and cantorial soloist

Temple Beth Shalom celebrates musical director Aaron Wolf and its cantorial soloist, Meredith Brown, with a free, outdoor brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 30. Wolf and Brown, who retire that day, each worked at the temple for 20 years. The pair led the congregation in heartfelt prayer through song each Friday night, taught in the temple’s religious school, and tutored Bar and Bat Mitzvah students. For more information about the community party, call 505-982-1376 or go to sftbs.org.

New Mexico in Focus wins journalism awards

New Mexico PBS’s primetime news magazine show, New Mexico in Focus, won three awards in the 2019 Top of the Rockies Competition. The State of Change series won first place in the Best Solutions Journalism category for its reporting on the challenges of providing internet access on tribal lands. Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present and Future won second place for general reporting in the Ag and Environment category. A series on housing in Carlsbad, reported in collaboration with the Carlsbad Current-Argus, received a second-place award for general reporting — series or package. Top of the Rockies is a Society of Professional Journalists regional contest for reporters and news organizations in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, go to newmexicopbs.org/productions/newmexicoinfocus.

Olive Rush mural featured on postage stamp

Antelope, a 1939 mural painted by Olive Rush (1873-1966), hangs in the lobby of the Florence Post Office in Colorado. It is included in a new set of 10, 55-cent Forever stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service that celebrates murals from the 1930s and ’40s. The murals, sited in post offices across the United States, were designed to boost the morale of Americans during the Great Depression. Rush was born in Indiana and died in Santa Fe after more than four decades living and making art in the City Different. Rush was a Quaker, and her studio on Canyon Road is now home to the Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. For more information, go to about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases.

Emerging writers celebrated at reading

Santa Fe Community College held its Kate Besser Writing Awards celebration at the Meow Wolf Learning Lab on May 8. More than a dozen writers read from their work and prizes were awarded. Tintawi Kaigziabiher was announced as the winner of the Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship. Olivia Parent received first place in poetry and Gerard Martinez y Valencia received first place in fiction. The personal essay winner was Jamie Farrow, and Kaigziabiher also won first place in the academic essay category. Pat Hastings won first place in creatve nonfiction and Carla Nagler received first place in the instructor-nominated category, for which faculty members nominate students. All other categories are judged based on work submitted by entrants. Winners are published in Accolades, a free publication available in the SFCC Office of Liberal Arts. Category winners and runners-up were awarded Visa gift cards. For more information about creative writing at Santa Fe Community College, go to sfcc.edu/programs/creative-writing.

Subversive zombie movie premieresat labor-oriented film festival

Former Santa Fe University of Art and Design film school chairman Liam Lockhart wrote and directed Final Cutz, a satirical zombie movie made in the waning days of the now-defunct for-profit college. The film premiered at the Workers Unite Film Festival in New York City, held May 10-23. It is a reimagining of Salt of the Earth (1954), a dramatic feature film about a strike at New Mexico’s Empire Zinc mine that was made by a trio of blacklisted filmmakers: Michael Wilson, Herbert J. Biberman, and Paul Jarrico. In a press release, Lockhart described the making of Final Cutz as a collective form of catharsis for students and faculty when “the corporate overlords announced the closure of SFUAD.” The movie champions the rights of women, the disabled, the LGBTQ community, and “society’s oppressed.” For more information about Final Cutz, go to finalcutzthemovie.com.

Local jeweler wins awardfor Fire Blossom ring

Jonathan Duran of Ambience Jewelry (227 E. Palace Ave., 505-983-6540) received a first-place award in the 2019 JCK Best of the Best Jewelers’ Choice Awards for his Fire Blossom gold ring, which is set with a blue-violet tanzanite center stone and a halo of white diamonds. The ring sold for $28,000 and is now in a private collection. JCK, considered the industry authority for high-end jewelry design, hosts an annual design contest, a Las Vegas trade show, and publishes print and online newsletters. For more information, go to jckonline.com.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival declared worth the price of entry

MovieMaker Magazine named the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival as one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in 2018, marking the sixth consecutive year the local fest has earned this distinction. The magazine called SFIFF a “destination fest” that takes place in “a picturesque adobe town nestled beneath the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains.” SFIFF, now in its eleventh year, takes place Oct. 16-20 at venues around Santa Fe. For more information, go to santafeindependentfilmfestival.com.

Poetry press launches in Albuquerque

Skull + Wind Press is a new Albuquerque-based poetry press, founded by Trevor Ketner. Skull + Wind will publish full-length poetry collections and chapbooks. Its first acquisition is Who Speaks for Us, the third book by Leslie Contreras Schwartz, poet laureate of Houston, Texas. The expected publication date is September 2020. For more information, go to skullandwindpress.org.

New Mexico musicians to be honoredfor lifetime achievement

The third annual Platinum Music Awards kick-off Santa Fe Music Week with a ceremony on August 23, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. A number of local musicians will be honored for lifetime achievement in music performance, education, and support. Among the honorees are: violist and music teacher Jim Bonnell; jazz pianist and educator Bert Dalton; Norberta Fresquez, the producer and developer of Mariachi Spectacular and Hispanic Heritage Day shows at the New Mexico State Fair; Grammy-winning flutist Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo; and New Mexico folk musician Cipriano Vigil. The Lee Burk Foundation Award will be presented to Candyman Strings & Things, a Santa Fe-based music store now in its 50th year of operation. Tickets to the Platinum Music Awards Ceremony are $23-$96, tickets.ticketssantafe.org. — Jennifer Levin