Why become a gallupARTS member? Here’s why!
Reason #1: to help gallupARTS deliver on its mission to “foster creativity, culture, commerce, and quality of life in Gallup and McKinley County through the arts.”
The contributions of gallupARTS members are essential in helping gallupARTS not only reach, but exceed its 2018 goals—and the year isn’t over yet!
By the end of this year, gallupARTS will have created opportunities for 450 emerging and professional artists and 400 student artists, and will have engaged 17,250+ McKinley County residents in the arts through 12 different community-based programs.
In 2018, gallupARTS successfully executed 8 grant projects, totaling $207,400, including:
– A $30,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to design a website showcasing Gallup’s collection of New Deal art;
– A $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America grant to produce Gallup’s first-ever Native American Artist-in-Residence program at ART123 Gallery;
– A $150,000 NEA Our Town grant to lead an arts-focused, community-based process to design the future downtown Coal Avenue Commons.
Additional highlights from 2018 include increased advocacy and action at the State and national levels. In the last year, gallupARTS
– Was selected to participate in the 2018 National Association of Counties Creative Placemaking Challenge;
– Presented downtown revitalization strategies at the 2018 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit – West.
– Was profiled in the August 2018 issue of New Mexico Magazine;
– Presented in the economic impact of the arts to 3 New Mexico Legislative Committees: Senate Finance Committee, Legislative Finance Committee, and Economic & Rural Development Committee;
– Presented on projects leveraging public art at the 2018 New Mexico Association of Museums Annual Conference;
– Had Best in Show Night hosted at ART123 Gallery nominated for a “Best New Experience” Top HAT award by the New Mexico Hospitality Association.
Looking ahead to next year, gallupARTS will be continuing its current signature programs: ART123 Gallery, LOOM Gallery, Young Artists of McKinley County and NorthFest. An added focus of gallupARTS’ will be to enhance its gallery programs through more artist talks, classes and workshops. It will also be seeking to expand on its NorthFest program, providing more arts engagement opportunities in Gallup’s Northside neighborhoods. Additionally, gallupARTS has been encouraged to apply for a $100,000 grant from the NEH to continue developing the Gallup New Deal Art website, and a $30,000 NEA ArtWorks grant to produce another Native American Artist-in-Residence program.
Reason #2: The perks!
All gallupARTS members receive a postcard magnet featuring work by a local artist, get the inside scoop on exciting things happening in Gallup’s arts community, and are invited to special events, such as gallupARTS’ annual Member Appreciation Night.
Local artist Fitz Sargent’s work is part of the fabric of downtown Gallup. In the last five years, he’s played a fundamental role in starting three art galleries here: he helped organize the original ART123 Gallery, of which he is still a member artist, launch the Shallow Gallery (which has sense transitioned into the LOOM Indigenous Art Gallery), and, most recently, form opo Gallery, which just celebrated its 1 year anniversary in September.
In conjunction with opo’s anniversary last month, Fitz opened a solo show at the Gallery called “SILKSCREEN TOWERS”. Lucky for you, it’s on view through this month! As part of the ongoing celebration of Gallup’s newest Gallery and its latest in a series of stunning shows, we asked Fitz to reflect on his career, what keeps him in the game, and what he’s been working on recently.
Q: How long have you been practicing art? How did you get your start?
A: Since I can remember. My mother would send all of us out of the house with a sketch book, some pencils and watercolors. While my sisters focused on horses I was usually doing perspective drawings of buildings. For about 30 years I practiced architecture full time and then I spent 10 years teaching printing, painting, ceramics. glass work, blacksmith and foundry work in a wonderful high school in Maine. Since I have been back in New Mexico (I grew up in Albuquerque) I have been doing a bit of everything…..but most of it 3 dimensional.
Q: What have you been exploring in your art recently?
A: I am drawn to patterns…..repetition…..5 years ago I had a show at ART123 called the Power of Repetition….1000 golf balls…10 dozen eggs….100 old sewing machines…that kind of thing has a big impact on me. I am having a show right now at opo gallery….SILKSCREEN TOWERS. These pieces are definitely about patterns and repetition and also color.
Q: What keeps you motivated as an artist?
A: I love “doing” the work. I try to choose projects that will teach me something new. I make a lot of mistakes some of which turn out to be great and from the rest I learn what not to do. When my hands are dirty and cut and bruised I know I’m working….when they are pink and soft I’m not very inspired. I do appreciate people who buy things….artists need to eat and stay warm too!
Q: What inspires you?
A: Like most of the artists I know, I like my own work when its good. When I think it’s bad I throw it out. That doesn’t mean I expect other people to like it….I get most of my encouragement from myself! As for the work of others I am inspired by serious effort, well honed skills, courage to try new things.
Q: What is your studio like?
A: My studio is full of tools….welders, grinders, saws, brushes, hammers, sanders, drills, paint, fasteners, irons, wax, glue, tape, wire, engine hoists, a machine lathe, band saw, drill press, rollers, benders, shears…..I have every tool that I ever bought or was given except a few things I have loaned that weren’t returned….and even those things find their way home sooner or later. If you use a tool of mine I will tell you, DO NOT PUT IT AWAY…IF YOU DO I MAY NEVER FIND IT AGAIN! My studio may look like chaos to you but I know where everything is and do some thorough cleaning every couple of years.
I always welcome guests and I teach welding and do workshops in batik, silkscreen, casting, you name it, on demand!
Q: Do you have any advice for emerging artists?
A: The day you stop “emerging” is the day you died. Everyone has some amount of talent….almost no one takes advantage of all of it!
One highlight of ART123 Gallery’s upcoming August Show the rugs and purses woven by students of the Bááhááli Chapter’s Summer Youth Weaving Employment Program (SYWP). Nine students, ages 16 to 23, joined the Program this summer for the chance to learn weaving techniques from a master weaver, develop positive work habits, and have a hands-on cultural experience.
For 10 years, the SYWP has been providing high school and college students with a unique summer employment opportunity. No other Chapter in the Eastern Navajo Agency is using Navajo Nation Summer Youth Employment Funds to promote cultural as well as economic sustainability. As artist and SYWP Intern Aaron Yazzie explains, “while students are learning meaningful job skills, they are at the same time preserving a cultural art form.”
Weaver Elouise Washburn is the instructor in charge of passing down tradition. Washburn has been a weaver for 35 years. She learned from her mother and aunties, and is motivated to teach younger generations. “I see kids that are returning and they know what to do,” she says after many summers with SYWP. “I want to instill a legacy of weaving into them so that in the future they will be showing their rugs elsewhere.” Washburn jokes that she is committed to teaching “as long as she can walk.” “By that time,” she says, “there are some younger kids that can take over to keep it going because I’m not going to be here forever. But at least I taught some kids how to weave.”
Bááhááli Chapter Manager Gloria Skeet deCruz recognizes that one of the most important purposes of the SYWP program is to help students “learn about their Navajo identity and culture.” Yazzie agrees. “Many Native youth today are struggling to find their identity because so much of our culture is pervaded by the preponderant and homogenizing influences of ‘American’ culture,” he says. “I believe the SYWP is successfully restoring the cultural identity of youth through Navajo weaving to reconnect and rediscover their rich cultural heritage.”
As for the students, they too value the Program not only for the skills it teaches and the income it provides, but also for the inspiration they gain from it. “[What I appreciate most about SYWP] is learning the ability to weave,” shares one student. “It has taught me to discipline myself while making beautiful creations at my fingertips.” Another chimes in, “I appreciate the fun and joy in the weaving; to make a natural design and find peaceful inspiration in the skill and knowledge.”
“There is an entire history to be learned,” Yazzie says of weaving. “I find it comforting to know culture and tradition is never static but always adapting and growing into new forms with each era,” he explains.
Come see the newest generation of Navajo weavers at The August Show at ART123 Gallery, on view from August 9th – September 2nd. Don’t miss the official show opening during ArtsCrawl on Saturday, August 12th from 7 – 9pm.