April 4, 2018 Julian Nunez

For 31 years, the Doña Ana Arts Council’s (DAAC) Community Arts Awards have recognized individuals and organizations for their contributions to the arts. This year’s celebration takes place Sunday, April 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the DAAC Arts & Cultural Center and Bulletin Plaza just outside the council’s offices at 1740 Calle de Mercado. Tickets are $15 per person and are available at the arts council office, online at or at the door. The theme is “A Garden Party” and attendees are encouraged to wear their finest garden party attire.

The awardees, Dr. Kent Jacobs and Sallie Ritter Jacobs, Sally Quillin, Marisa Sage, Jeff Steinborn, Jess Williams, and ArtForms, represent a broad range of interests and talents, but they have all given of themselves to make the Mesilla Valley a more vibrant and interesting place to live.

Receiving the Newcomer Award is Marisa Sage, director of the NMSU University Art Gallery. Sage is a New York native, where she earned her BA in photography and MA in Digital Arts. She then operated a gallery in Williamsburg, New York, for six years that displayed over 65 exhibitions in that time. Since coming to Las Cruces to take up the reins of the University Art Gallery, she has received acclaim from the arts community for her innovative ideas and leadership. She has also been recognized by NMSU with the Outstanding Staff Award.


Artist Sally Quillin will be presented the Arts in Education Award. Quillin is a mostly self-taught artist who has spent much of her career helping others develop their artistic talents. She has painted for over 40 years, saying, “I come from a family of artists. My great-grandmother was a painter, mother was a portrait artist. My grandfather was a woodcarver.” While she teaches painting classes in a variety of media, her work, focusing mostly on flowers and landscapes, is done in acrylic. She and her husband, photographer Mike Stephens, display their work at the Quillin-Stephens Gallery and exhibit at numerous shows each year, including the Las Cruces Arts Fair.

ArtForms Artists Association of southern New Mexico is being recognized this year with the Community Arts Award. This association of artists organized their twentieth For the Love of Art Month celebration in February, bringing art lovers to exhibits, plays, concerts, poetry readings, and artist studios. ArtForms is dedicated to promoting all forms of art, including visual, literary, and performing. In addition, the organization holds regular meetings to help artists connect with each other and expand their knowledge of both art techniques and the business of art.

New Mexico Senator Jeff Steinborn is receiving the Public Service to the Arts Award. Senator Steinborn has been a longtime advocate for the arts. In 2001, he worked with Senator Jeff Bingaman to support the restoration of the Rio Grande Theater. In 2013, Steinborn formed the Regional Film Development Advisory Committee to identify solutions to grow the film industry in Las Cruces. His continued advocacy for film economic development led to the establishment of the non-profit organization Film Las Cruces, and strategic partnerships to enable the opening of Film Las Cruces Studios. In addition to his work promoting the film industry, Steinborn is the southern New Mexico director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, where he successfully led a national coalition of organizations to establish the Organ Mountains—Desert Peaks National Monument.

Jess Williams is another public servant who has found a way to promote the arts and will be presented with the Art in Public Places award. In his nomination letter, County Commissioner Ben Rawson said of the director of public information and special projects for Doña Ana County, “Back in 1999, Mr. Williams surveyed the blank walls of the Amador Hotel — then known as the Doña Ana County Manager’s Complex — and concluded that the space could be put to much higher use. He worked through the superintendents’ offices of the Las Cruces, Gadsden, and Hatch Public Schools to arrange a rotating student art show that goes up every March and October with new (and consistently stunning) student art.” The tradition has continued at the current Doña Ana County Government Center. In addition, since 2007 he has curated a collection of art donated to the county by local artists, including the beaded pony decorated by artist Julienne Hadfield, which has been on semi-permanent loan and welcoming visitors to the building since 2007.

The Papen Family Award will be presented to Dr. Kent F. Jacobs, a retired dermatologist, and artist Sallie Ritter Jacobs, who not only are long-time advocates of the arts in southern New Mexico, but will donate their home and art collection to the state to serve as an art museum. Dr. Jacobs has served on numerous committees and boards promoting the arts, working to help the southern part of the state receive the recognition it deserves as an art destination. The nomination bio states, “With dedicated purpose they encouraged, entertained, and cajoled artistic experts, pulling off their hidden public relations agenda: to put Las Cruces and southern New Mexico as a top art and cultural destination.” In 2014, they were honored by Governor Susanna Martinez as recipients of the Governor’s Award for Excellence, the highest award in the arts in New Mexico. Now they will also be recognized for their contributions by the region they have long championed.

The Community Arts Awards celebration will include music by local band Oldies but Goodies and plentiful food and beverages, including contributions from Salud! de Mesilla, Dickerson’s Catering, Lorenzo’s, La Posta, Hacienda de Mesilla, and spirited beverages from Spotted Dog Brewery and St. Clair Winery. Artist and former Papen Family Award recipient Carolyn Bunch has donated use of her painting “The Passenger” for the awards celebration.

The Doña Ana Arts Council works in partnership with community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the southern New Mexico community through a diversity of initiatives and services. The Doña Ana Arts Council is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.

All are welcome to attend the Community Arts Awards Gala on Sunday, April 29th from 3-6 pm. Tickets and more information may be found at or by calling (575) 523-6403.

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The Papen Family Award honors an individual who has demonstrated exemplary commitment to the arts through leadership, service and/or financial support. The award, originally called the Mesilla Valley Treasure Award, and later, The Julie Papen Arts Patron Award, was renamed in 1997 to honor the late Senator Frank Papen and the Papen family, whose dedicated leadership, involvement, and support of the arts has so richly benefited our community. Previous winners include Dr. John Glowacki, Opal Lee Priestley, Rep. J. Paul Taylor, Mayor Ruben Smith, Dr. Joseph Denk, J. Henry Gustafson, Mary Hardman Gale, Kenneth G. Melgaard, Carolyn Bunch, Emily Cohen, Dr. J. Bruce Streett, Dr. William Clark, Glenn and Sally Cutter, Heather Pollard, Denise Chavez, Dr. Thomas Gale, Mark Medoff, Irene Oliver Lewis, Judith Finch, Ruth Cantrell, Jack Ward, Keith Wilson, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Rosemary McLoughlin, Jo-an Smith, Dr. Greg Fant, Diana Seward, Dr. Jim Shearer , Nancy Ritchey, Kathleen Squires, Tom & Jerean Hutchinson, Jordan & Marian Wolle, Teresita Gonzalez-Corral and Ann Palormo.

Newcomer Award recognizes leadership and support of the arts by an individual who has lived in Doña Ana County for fewer than five years. Past recipients include: Les Roberts & Fred Rockey, Rita Hartley, Sherry White, Cheryl Thornburg, Susan Tweit, John Hasko, S. Derrickson Moore, Barbara & Steve Eckels, Kathe Stark, Lonnie Klein, Alice Peden, Sylvia Gibson Bowers, Tom Smith, Laurel Weathersbee, Lucilene de Gues & Paco Antonio, Ouida Touchón, Cheryl & Brian Fallstead, Lanova Sheets, Mari Blacker, George & Maggie Griffin, Cynthia Garrett, West End Art Depot and Diane & Robin Fovargue, Cindy & Pat Breedlove and Nan Rubin.

The Arts In Education Award recognizes an individual whose leadership and pioneering spirit promote and shape visual, performing, and literary arts education initiatives. Past Arts in Education Award recipients include Bonnie Hosie, Karin Matray, Karuna Warren, John Schutz, Terry Alvarez, Leslie Kowalski, Constance Hasapopoulos Suter, Raul Dorn, Debra Knapp, Diane Schutz, Laurie Norman, Leslie Zerr, Corina Gabaldon, Oscar Butler, Rene Palomares and Geri Brink & Paul Hallsted, Children’s Reading Foundation of Doña Ana County, Sherry Doil-Carter and Tim Staley.

The Community Arts Award recognizes an individual or business whose motivation, service and example have made a marked impact on the cultural life of our community. Former recipients of this award are Bob Burns, Bob & Yvette Peticolas, Kevin & Michelle Self, Jose Tena, Bob Diven, Dr. Jerry Ann Alt, Ceil & Peter Herman, Jim Billings, John Pleasant, Joseph Sylvan & Barbara Toth, The Border Book Festival/The Cultural Center of Mesilla, Roy van der Aa & Robin Baxa, Larry Chandler, Jaki & David McCollum, Mike Groves, The Potter’s Guild, Doug Roby, ASTC, GFWC Progress Club of Las Cruces and Olin Calk, St. Clair Winery, Flo Hosa Dougherty and Las Cruces Sun-News, Frank Leto, Publisher, Russ Smith and Megan McQueen.

The Art in Public Places Award recognizes an individual who has created or placed art on permanent public view within Doña Ana County that exemplifies the highest standards and commitment to art in public places. Recipients of this award include the City of Las Cruces & the NM Department of Transportation & Highways, Tracy Jamison, Zandra Santanova, Ken Barrick, Jackie Clark, Anthony Pennock, Glenn Schwaiger, Las Esperanzas, The Honorable Judge Robert C. Brack, Kelley S. Hestir and Joyce Macrorie.

Excellence in Public Service to the Arts Award recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual or government organization for their contribution in the arts. This award is open to individuals or federal, state and local government agencies. Recipients include Will Ticknor, Miguel Silva, Ammu Devasthali, Loie Fecteau and Andy Hume and Greg Smith.

For more information, please call or email the Dona Ana Arts Council (575-523-6403 or or visit the website at

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