A chance to shine

UNM-Taos students open annual art show at Stables Gallery

By Tempo staff
Posted 5/2/19

Jewelry, prints, paintings, ceramics, photography, sculpture and multi-media installations from 2018-2019 summer to spring art classes will be on exhibit.

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A chance to shine

UNM-Taos students open annual art show at Stables Gallery


The University of New Mexico–Taos annual Student Art Show opens with a reception Wednesday (May 8), 6-8 p.m., at the Stables Gallery of the Taos Center for the Arts, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

The show will be on view through Saturday (May 11) from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Sunday (May 12) hours are 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The reception will be catered by Koko’s Deli with classical music by musician, Claudio Tolousse. Everyone is invited to this student celebration.

The Stables Gallery will be packed with work by UNM-Taos students and the professional artists who have taken classes at the school over the last 12 months. Students, family, friends and the Taos community , as in the past, will attend the opening reception of the UNM-Taos annual Student Art Show.

New this year, as part of a fund raiser for the art department, images by two students have been made into posters and art prints. Shannon Bushnell’s black and white relief woodcut print, ‘Magpie’ and Matt Heckel’s painting, ‘Still life with Olives’ will be on sale at the show. Art Professor, Gary Cook, who is helping to organizing the exhibition with student, Heather Bergerson, commented on the fund raiser, “as a way to support the art program and the developing careers of our exceptional student artists.”

The success of UNM-Taos art students continues to be far reaching, Lee Akins, ceramics instructor said in a prepared statement. “We have students getting into statewide and out of state shows, a reflection on how interested and committed the students are to the program. Students are well trained in a wide range of techniques and surface decoration. Pieces in the show are the result of soda, pit, raku and kiln firings, as well as, ceramic sculpture and mold making and casting.”

Department Chair, Sarah Stolar, also states, “I hear back, ‘oh, are these college seniors, are they graduate students?’ And I really love getting to say, ‘No, these are 100 and 200 level students.” She continued adding that, “The creative atmosphere of Art Department allows students to feel comfortable while developing a strong personal expressive voice. The only rule in the art department is that you cannot question someone else’s humanity which never happens anyway because the department is so full of love and acceptance.”

From Heather Bergerson’s point of view, “The UNM–Taos Art Department provides an atmosphere of immense creativity. Committed students acquire practical techniques and engage in critical discourse. They develop an understanding of the importance of diversity and richness of the arts in Northern New Mexico and the world.”

There are beginning and advanced students and career artists spread through all the art programs at UNM-Taos. And on Fridays, the school is packed with duel enrollment high school students. Jewelry instructor, Kim Henkel, has this to say about her young artists, “Some of these kids have never even used tools before. So, they’re coming in here, learning how to use machines and torches, building up a lot of confidence. You can tell there’s no fear. It’s really mind-blowing to see what’s coming out of them.” In always full classes she teaches metal fabrication, casting and lapidary skills. Skills used primarily for making small metal sculpture and jewelry. Look for her student’s final project of the year, large cuff bracelets with stone inlays. And, she reminds us, “There will be lot of jewelry for sale at the student show. In fact, most of art at the show will be for sale!”

While the physical and observational skills taught in art classes are mostly universal, subject concerns are often driven by the interest of the instructors and their interaction with students. At UNM-Taos, the resulting artwork is a wide range of both figurative and abstract work, depicting both traditional and contemporary art issues and social concerns. The range and level of the work in the student show is unusual and interesting. According to Cook, “It is rare for a two-year program to have such success. While many of Northern Mexico best known artists have made art in the UNM-Taos program, the success of the art program is still something of a secret.”


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