The Arts Council annually honors special individuals and organizations who are actively involved in promoting and enhancing the visual, performing and literary arts in our community through leadership, support and advocacy.
The Dona Ana Arts Council is presenting the 28th Annual Community Arts Awards on April 24th at the Rio Grande Theatre. The event begins at six pm with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by the Double Eagle Restaurant and St. Clair Winery. The Awards Program begins promptly at seven pm with presentation of awards and music by Della Bustamante, Carrie Klofach, and David Cunniff. At 8 pm, under the stars on Main Street, dessert and champagne will be offered to guests from Le Rendez-Vous Café and St. Clair Winery. Tickets are $20 each and are available at the Dona Ana Arts Council at the Rio Grande Theatre or by calling 523-6403 for reservations.
This year the Debi True Rounds Newcomer Award is sponsored by Stan Rounds and will be awarded to Diane and Robert Fovargue. These Canadian snowbirds spend their winters here in Las Cruces and divide their time between a home they built in the Niagara wine country and their home in Las Cruces. They volunteer three weeks of the month at El Caldito Soup Kitchen and enjoy travel, good food, wine and art especially local southwest art. For the last two years Robin and Diane have been co-chairs with Glenn and Sally Cutter of the Las Cruces Arts Fair. Their career experience of managing multiple million dollar projects that has involved hundreds of people has helped with the planning and organization of the Arts Fair, a project that involves over a hundred wonderful volunteers. They devote countless hours of their time in Las Cruces for the Arts Fair and next year will chair this fine event created by the Cutters to benefit the Dona Ana Arts Council. How fortunate we are that the chilly Canadian winds have blown Robin and Diane to our desert home.
The Community Arts Award for Public Service goes to Andy Hume, City of Las Cruces, sponsored by The Frame & Art Center. Andy is with the Community Development Department and is working on his master’s degree in Public Administration at NMSU. Andy’s relationship with downtown began as a transportation planner but grew significantly in 2013 when he was assigned the role of Downtown Coordinator. He is the hub through which collaboration and communication takes place on all downtown issues. His focus is forming relationships with people, creating opportunities for teamwork and consensus building and developing trust between the City and the community. He works directly with the Amador Hotel Foundation, Dona Ana Arts Council, Downtown Las Cruces Partnership and the Farmers and Crafts Market. A key accomplishment was his oversight of the transition of the Farmers & Crafts Market from the City to private operations without missing a market day. Andy understands the value of preserving our treasured historic buildings and supporting a strong arts and culture environment. All of the groups who work with Andy have said “Andy Hume is a Can Do guy who makes good things happen”.
The Community Arts Award- Individual is sponsored by New Mexico Cardiac Care and is awarded to Russ Smith. Russ says growing up in a small town in Oregon gave him an appreciation of community and a Huckleberry Finn life style. He and his wife Mercy and son Mac moved to Las Cruces twelve years ago and Russ found a calling to start his own food service business “Happy Dog”. Russ is a vendor at the Farmers Market, serves on the Board of the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership, is on the Marketing Committee for the Farmers Market, the Planning Committee for Salsa Fest, plus he is an artist himself, playing drums in the Mesilla Valley Swing Band. Operating his business has truly given him the platform to earn a living and also have fun while serving the community.
The Community Arts Award for Business is sponsored by Steve Newby Architect & Associates and goes to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Frank Leto Publisher. The Sun-News has been an institution in Las Cruces and Dona Ana County since its founding as the Rio Grande Republic in 1881, predating the founding of New Mexico State University by seven years and the state by 31 years. From its early beginnings, it has grown into a dynamic multi-platform news organization, reaching more than 44,000 print readers every day and 3 million page views a month, touching eight in ten adults living in Las Cruces every week. One area the Sun-News has been a leader in is coverage of the area’s vibrant arts community, from the Las Cruces Symphony, to love of Arts Month, and monthly Art Rambles. Frank Leto serves on the College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Council and the newspaper sponsored the grand opening of the Center for the Arts at NMSU. The Sun-News was also a major sponsor of the LOOK WHOSE DANCING as well as the Las Cruces Arts Fair. The Sun-News has partnered with the Dona Ana Arts Council in recent years, sponsoring all of the Arts Council’s programs. As the arts community has grown and become even more dynamic, the Sun-News continues to provide coverage and support in making the Mesilla Valley a great place to live by keeping its residents informed and by being a prime source for current events and arts and entertainment news.
The Art in Public Places is awarded to Joyce Macrorie and is sponsored by Southwest Senior, Keith Whelpley, Publisher. Joyce is a former member of Las Esperanzas and lives and paints in the Mesquite Historic District that she describes as a historically significant Latino neighborhood that has been a quiet and friendly place to live. In December of 2013, Joyce donated 41 original framed pieces of her art to the Dona Ana County Government Center’s permanent collection. Jess Williams, Director of Public Information/Special Projects with the County says that “Ms. Macrorie’s donation is remarkable for both its quality and its quantity, not to mention its value. Because of her generosity the entire second level of the Center is now exponentially more welcome and warm. The space was transformed overnight from a warren of bare walls to a gallery of color, light and depth, all of which makes the building as a whole more inviting to the public and work force”. Joyce also has work on permanent display at the United States Federal Court House located in downtown Las Cruces.
The Arts in Education Award is sponsored by Ruben and Liz Smith and is awarded to Sherry Doil Carter. Her local journey of providing quality arts education at NMSU, Mayfield High School, Onate High School, and now Alma d’arte Charter High School has been a testament to her compassion in the classroom and her innate love of the arts. Sherry took a four year hiatus from teaching to create and run the very successful Adobe Patio Gallery in Mesilla with Carolyn and Henry Bunch. She was a partner at the wonderful downtown gallery White Raven Studio Gallery on Griggs. During this time she created her own art through a dedicated studio practice fostered by her membership and leadership in the local Border Artists’ Association where she served as president for eleven years. Sherry is noted as a vibrant voice for local artist and supports the arts community through her personal collection. Sherry’s sincere and committed drive to share art with youth in the classroom, as well as with her art in the community has significantly increased the value and legitimacy of the visual arts in southern New Mexico.
The Papen Family Award is the highest award given annually by the Dona Ana Arts Council to an indivual who has given extraordinarily of their time, talent and financial support to the arts in this area. It was named for the late Senator Frank O. Papen and upon his marriage to Mary Kay Papen the name of the award was changed to the Papen Family Award. Traditionally the award has always been sponsored by Glenn and Sally Cutter and this is so today. The award goes to Jerean Camunez Hutchinson & Tom Hutchinson of La Posta de Mesilla. Looking to be closer to family and yearning for “home”, Jerean and her husband Tom moved back to Las Cruces in 1996 and acquired the famed La Posta de Mesilla property and business. The restaurant has been through several restorations during the Hutchinson’s stewardship, while being careful to preserve the historical integrity of this southwest landmark. The restaurant is a gallery in itself with several murals and nichos painted by local artists as well as beautiful artifacts from Mexico. The artistic and historic adobe walls, vigas and latillas grace this 1840’s historic icon. In 2002, Jerean and Tom were recognized by the Dona Ana Historical Society for the successful repair and rehabilitation of a historic commercial property.
Jerean’s community involvement includes serving on the board and being fund raising chair for Jardin de los Ninos, founding member of the Mesilla Jazz Happening, former chair for Mayfield High School Football Booster Club, and past president of the Las Cruces Catholic School Board. Tom co-led the effort to fund and build the Las Cruces Convention Center and has chaired many organizations and associations. He is a Naval Academy graduate and a retired captain. Both he and Jerean have a long list of awards too numerous to mention.
Tom and Jerean own the historic Fountain Theater and have recently restored and refreshed many of the historic elements of the theater as well. The Mesilla Valley Film Society finds its home at the Fountain Theatre with a wonderful annual film series. Giving the Film Society an incredible venue for their operations is one of many reasons Jerean and Tom are such worthy recipients of the 2014 Papen Family Award.
The John Glowacki Lifetime Achievement Award is being sponsored by Mrs. Barbara Glowacki. This award is not given annually but only when an individual’s lifetime achiements need to be recognized for major, significant contributions to the arts. The award is named after the founder of the Dona Ana Arts Council, and the Department Head of the College of Arts at NMSU. This year the award goes to J. Paul Taylor. J. Paul Taylor was born in Chamberino, NM in 1920 the son of a Texas native whose family owned a dairy in El Paso and whose mother who traced her ancestry to Juan Vaca, a soldier with Coronado’s expedition in 1540. J. Paul earned a bachelor’s degree from NM A&M, and after wartime service in the Navy, he earned two additional degrees in education. He spent more than three decades as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent in the Las Cruces Public School system and upon retirement served nine consecutive terms as the Representative for District 33 in the NM legislature. He was known for his support of programs to help the indigent, and as an advocate for arts and culture. Paul has been called “the conscience of the NM Legislature”. Among his many awards are the Dona Ana Arts Council MESILLA VALLEY TREASURE AWARD, a Heritage Preservation Lifetime Achiement Award, the NM Governor’s Award as a Major Contributor to the Arts and the Luminaria Award by the New Mexico Community Foundation.
In the early 1950s, Paul and his wife Mary Helen purchased a dilapidated adobe on the west side of the Mesilla plaza and proceeded to raise seven children within its renovated walls. In 2003, Paul and Mary generously donated their historic home and two adjoining stores to the Museum of New Mexico as a State Monument. The Taylor-Barela- Reynolds-Mesilla State Historic Site, as it is now called, provides an exceptional setting for visitors to understand and appreciate the history, culture, and architecture of Mesilla and the Borderland. The Taylor family collection of Spanish colonial, Mexican, and New Mexican artwork, along with furniture, rugs, pottery and textiles from all over the world, was donated as part of the Historic Site. Paul is one of the most beloved and respected gentleman in the state of New Mexico and is so deserving of this award.