April 24, 2019 Carlos Arreola

For 32 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 Tuesday, May 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the DAAC Arts & Cultural Center, 1740 Calle de Mercado in Mesilla. No tickets are required, however, donations are gladly accepted in advance or at the door.  Due to limited seating, a RSVP is necessary to reserve a seat. Refreshments will be provided by local businesses and volunteers.

To start the celebration, special recognition will be given to long-time art patrons, multiple arts awards recipients and gallery owners, Glenn and Sally Cutter, for their 45 years of service to the Las Cruces community

The 2019 awardees, Donna Tate, Cruces Creatives, Jan Archey, Ron Saltzman, Rebecca Courtney, and Erlinda Portillo 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.

The Papen Family Award will be presented to Donna Tate.  Since arriving in Las Cruces in the early 2000’s, Donna has significantly contributed to the cultural life of the area.  Early on, Donna worked to create the First Step Clinic with the Memorial Medical Center Foundation and the SpringBoard! Community Foundation scholarship program for women attending Dona Ana Community College.  Later, Donna and her late husband, Tom Tate, were active supporters of the Las Cruces Symphony and commissioned the development of new works by American composers. For over two decades Donna has sponsored annual concerts and events for the Las Cruces Symphony. In her decades of service to the Las Cruces arts community, Donna exemplifies the leadership, service and financial support that are requisites to be honored with the Papen Family Award.

Receiving the Newcomer Award is Cruces Creatives, Lea Wise-Surguy, Executive Director.  Cruces Creatives is a non-profit organization committed to supporting the arts in Doña Ana County through a makerspace cooperative studio.  The studio offers the space, tools and training to support the creation of textiles, painting, audio visual technology, photography, 3-D printing, woodwork and metal work.  Cruces Creatives burst on the Las Cruces scene just two years ago to fill a unique void in our community.

Teaching artist Jan Archey will be presented the Arts in Education Award. Jan is a potter, an educator and a community leader who is a charter member of the Potters’ Guild of Las Cruces and has participated in the Empty Bowls project since its inception in 1994.  Says Jan, “Empty Bowls is a benefit to help alleviate local food hunger in support of El Caldito, the local soup kitchen. Preparing for each Empty Bowls, I host an Empty Bowls Workday where hundreds of bowls are made and made ready for glaze. Usually each year, I touch at least 250 bowls seeing them through the process of making, firing and glazing.”  Jan’s indomitable spirit, energy and generosity make her a deserving recipient of the Arts in Education Award.

Long-time art patron and community supporter, Ron Saltzman, is being recognized this year with the Community Arts Award.  “Ron’s support of art, artists, and art events is limitless,” said Kathleen Squires, City Art Board member, in her nomination letter for this award.  “You can expect to see Ron at gallery openings, festivals, the theatre, or almost any public gathering.” Continues Kathleen, “It would be difficult to find anyone in the community whose motivation, service and support have made a more marked impact on cultural life in Las Cruces than Ron Saltzman.”

Rebecca Courtney will be the recipient of the Art in Public Places award.  In addition to being a visual artist in here own right, Rebecca Courtney is a champion of public art for the City of Las Cruces.  In 2017, Rebecca became Chair of the City Art Board, and through her leadership has communicated to City Council and City staff the importance of bringing a public art master plan to Las Cruces like other cities have across the nation.  According to Rebecca, “Las Cruces deserves a strong public art master plan that will be effective now and for years to come. Las Cruces artists deserve future opportunities to show their work and build their art careers, and the City of Las Cruces deserves quality art that promotes our community’s history, cultures, and surroundings.”

Community arts organizer Erlinda Portillo is receiving the Public Service to the Arts Award. Erlinda has been a longtime advocate for the arts. In her nomination letter, New Mexico Senator J. Paul Taylor said of Erlinda, “Through her years as a member of the community, she has instituted such art shows as Bellas Artes Sin Fronteras Multicultural Arts Market in which the mission is to preserve and promote all the traditions and art forms of all cultures. Other elements of the Bellas Artes in which she provided leadership were Feliz Navidad, Christmas in Song and Dance, a cultural extravaganza.”  In addition to her work promoting cultural preservation, Erlinda provided leadership in the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference. Continues Sen. Taylor regarding Erlinda, “In my many years in the valley promoting the gifts of culture which the community provides and with my long association with public school education, I have never known anyone so dedicated to the basic cultural elements state wide and in the immediate area.”

The Community Arts Awards celebration will include music by local pianist Bill Kolbin and complimentary food and beverages. Local artist Julie Ford Oliver has donated use of her painting “Market Day” 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 presentation on Tuesday, May 14th  from 6 – 8 p.m. at the DAAC Arts & Cultural Center, 1740 Calle de Mercado in Mesilla.  No tickets are necessary, however seating is limited; RSVP to to guarantee seating.  Donations will be gladly accepted to support DAAC’s many community art programs.  More information may be found at , emailing or by calling (575) 523-6403.   

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